We report on 4 years of airborne measurements of CO2, SO2, and H2S emission rates during a quiescent period at White Island volcano, New Zealand, beginning in 2003. During this time a significant crater lake emerged, allowing scrubbig processes to be investigated. CO2 emissions varied from a baseline of 250 to >2000 t d-1 and demonstrated clear annual cycling that was consistent with numbers of earthquake detections and annual changes in sea level. The annual variability was found to be most likely related to increases in the strain on the volcano during sea level highs, temporarily causing fractures to reduce in size in the upper conduit. SO2 emissions varied from 0 to >400 t d-1 and were clearly affected by scrubbing processes within the first year of take development. Scrubbing caused increases of SO42- and Cl- in lake waters, and the ratio of carbon to total sulphur suggested that elemental sulphur deposition was also significant in the lake during the first year. Careful measurements of the lake level and chemistry allowed estimates of the rate of H2O(g) and HCl(g) input into the lake and suggested that the molar abundances of major gas species (H2O, CO2, SO2, and HCl) during this quiescent phase were similar to fumarolic ratios observed between earlier eruptive periods. The volume of magma estimated from CO2 emissions (0.0 15-0.04 km3) was validated by Cl- increases in the lake, suggesting that the gas and magma are transported from deep to shallow depths as a closed system and likely become open in the upper conduit region. The absence of surface deformation further leads to a necessity of magma convection to supply and remove magma from the degassing depths. Two models of convection configurations are discussed. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Variability of passive gas emissions, seismicity, and deformation during crater lake growth at White Island Volcano, New Zealand, 2002-2006