Rapid chemical evolution of tropospheric volcanic emissions from Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, based on observations of ozone and halogen-containing gases

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
By: , and 



We report results from an observational and modeling study of reactive chemistry in the tropospheric plume emitted by Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. Our measurements include the first observations of Br and I degassing from an Alaskan volcano, the first study of O3 evolution in a volcanic plume, as well as the first detection of BrO in the plume of a passively degassing Alaskan volcano. This study also represents the first detailed spatially-resolved comparison of measured and modeled O3 depletion in a volcanic plume. The composition of the plume was measured on June 20, 2010 using base-treated filter packs (for F, Cl, Br, I, and S) at the crater rim and by an instrumented fixed-wing aircraft on June 21 and August 19, 2010. The aircraft was used to track the chemical evolution of the plume up to ~ 30 km downwind (2 h plume travel time) from the volcano and was equipped to make in situ observations of O3, water vapor, CO2, SO2, and H2S during both flights plus remote spectroscopic observations of SO2 and BrO on the August 19th flight. The airborne data from June 21 reveal rapid chemical O3 destruction in the plume as well as the strong influence chemical heterogeneity in background air had on plume composition. Spectroscopic retrievals from airborne traverses made under the plume on August 19 show that BrO was present ~ 6 km downwind (20 min plume travel time) and in situ measurements revealed several ppbv of O3 loss near the center of the plume at a similar location downwind. Simulations with the PlumeChem model reproduce the timing and magnitude of the observed O3 deficits and suggest that autocatalytic release of reactive bromine and in-plume formation of BrO were primarily responsible for the observed O3 destruction in the plume. The measurements are therefore in general agreement with recent model studies of reactive halogen formation in volcanic plumes, but also show that field studies must pay close attention to variations in the composition of ambient air entrained into volcanic plumes in order to unambiguously attribute observed O3 anomalies to specific chemical or dynamic processes. Our results suggest that volcanic eruptions in Alaska are sources of reactive halogen species to the subarctic troposphere.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Rapid chemical evolution of tropospheric volcanic emissions from Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, based on observations of ozone and halogen-containing gases
Series title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.04.023
Volume 259
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 317
Last page 333
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Redoubt Volcano
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