Carbon dioxide is the propellant gas in volcanic eruptions and is also found in mantle xenoliths. It is speculated that CO2 occurs as a free gas phase in the mantle because there is no reason to expect CO2 to be so universally associated with volcanic rocks unless the CO2 comes from the same source as the volcanic rocks and their xenoliths. If correct, the presence of a free gas in the mantle would lead to physical instability, with excess gas pressure providing the cause of both buoyancy of volcanic melts and seismicity in volcanic regions. Convection in the mantle and episodic volcanic eruptions are likely necessary consequences. This suggestion has considerable implications for those responsible for providing warnings of impending disasters resulting from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in volcanic regions. ?? 1988.