Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Volcanic gases could deplete ozone layer

June 13, 2012
SELFOSS, ICELAND-Giant volcanic eruptions in Nicaragua over the past 70,000 years could have injected enough gases into the atmosphere to temporarily thin the ozone layer, according to new research. And, if it happened today, a similar explosive eruption could do the same, releasing more than twice the amount of ozone-depleting halogen gases currently in stratosphere due to manmade emissions.

Bromine and chlorine are gases that "love to react - especially with ozone," said Kirstin Krüger, a meteorologist with GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany. "If they reach the upper levels of the atmosphere, they have a high potential of depleting the ozone layer."

New research by Krüger and her colleagues, which she presented today at a scientific conference in Selfoss, Iceland, combined a mixture of field work, geochemistry and existing atmospheric models to look at the previous Nicaraguan eruptions. And the scientists found that the eruptions were explosive enough to reach the stratosphere, and spewed out enough bromine and chlorine in those eruptions, to have an effect on the protective ozone layer. Krüger's talk was at the American Geophysical Union's Chapman Conference on Volcanism and the Atmosphere.

Steffen Kutterolf, a chemical volcanologist with GEOMAR and one of Krüger's colleagues, tackled the question of how much gas was released during the eruptions. He analyzed gases that were trapped by minerals crystallizing in the magma chambers, and applied a novel method that involves using the high-energy radiation from the German Electron Synchrotron in Hamburg to detect trace elements, including bromine. From that, Kutterolf estimated the amount of gas within magma before the eruptions, as well as the gas content in the lava rocks post-eruption. The difference, combined with existing field data about the size of the eruption, allowed the scientists to calculate how much bromine and chlorine are released.

Previous studies have estimated that in large, explosive eruptions - the type that sends mushroom clouds of ash kilometers high - up to 25 percent of the halogens ejected can make it to the stratosphere. For this study, the research team used a more conservative estimate of 10 percent reaching the stratosphere, to calculate the potential ozone layer depletion.

Taking an average from 14 Nicaraguan eruptions, the scientists found bromine and chlorine concentrations in the stratosphere jumped to levels that are equivalent to 200 percent to 300 percent of the 2011 concentrations of those gases. The Upper Apoyo eruption 24,500 years ago, for example, released 120 megatons of chlorine and 600 kilotons of bromine into the stratosphere.

Volcanic sulfate aerosols alone can lead to an ozone increase - if chlorine levels are at low, pre-industrial levels, Krüger said. But bromine and chlorine are halogens, gases whose atoms have seven electrons in the outer ring. To reach a stable, eight-electron configuration, these atoms will rip electrons off of passing molecules, like ozone. So when an eruption also pumps bromine and chlorine levels into the stratosphere, the ozone-depleting properties of the gases together with aerosols is expected to thin the protective layer.

"As we have bromine and chlorine together, we believe that this can lead to substantial depletion," she said. "And this is from one single eruption."

Because the effects are in the stratosphere, where the volcanic gases can be carried across the globe, eruptions of tropical volcanoes could lead to ozone depletion over a large area, Krüger said, potentially even impacting the ozone over polar regions. However, that's a question for future research to address. Some volcanic gases can last in the stratosphere up to six years, she added, although the most significant impacts from eruptions like Mount Pinatubo were within the first two years.

The next step in the research, Krüger said, is to investigate how much damage to the ozone layer the volcanic gases caused in the past - and what the damage could be from future volcanic eruptions in the active Central American region.

American Geophysical Union


Related Volcanic Gases Current Events and Volcanic Gases News Articles


Paper: Ancient food webs show modern structure after mass extinction
Researchers from the Santa Fe Institute and the Smithsonian Institution have pieced together a highly detailed picture of feeding relationships among 700 mammal, bird, reptile, fish, insect, and plant species from a 48 million year old lake and forest ecosystem.

Variation of halogens in martian soil calls for an atmosphere-surface cycle
In the November issue of Icarus, researchers from LSU's Department of Geology & Geophysics and Stony Brook's Department of Geosciences assess the details of halogen variability and an unusual process that may influence it.

Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming, says CU-Boulder study
A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight -- dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.

Ups and downs of biodiversity after mass extinction
The climate after the largest mass extinction so far 252 million years ago was cool, later very warm and then cool again.

EARTH: Danger in paradise -- the hidden hazards of volcano geotourism
Beautiful views and exotic thrills draw millions of tourists to volcanic sites each year. Previously frequented by smaller numbers of experienced hikers and trained tour guides, today's volcanic sites are plagued by throngs of novice hikers, who are often ill-prepared and uneducated about the risks of volcano geotourism.

Avalanche of reactions at the origin of life
Volcanic-hydrothermal flow channels offer a chemically unique environment, which at first glance appears hostile to life. It is defined by cracks in the crust of the earth, through which water flows, laden with volcanic gases are contacting a diversity of minerals.

Could Siberian volcanism have caused the Earth's largest extinction event?
Around 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian geologic period, there was a mass extinction so severe that it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth's history.

Siberian hot springs reveal ancient ecology
Exotic bacteria that do not rely on oxygen may have played an important role in determining the composition of Earth's early atmosphere, according to a theory that UChicago researcher Albert Colman is testing in the scalding hot springs of a volcanic crater in Siberia.

Technology in the extreme
Radio transmitters that can withstand temperatures of up to 900 oC could soon be dropped into the depths of the earth to provide early warning of a volcanic eruption.

Can We Spot Volcanoes on Alien Worlds? Astronomers Say Yes.
Volcanoes display the awesome power of Nature like few other events. Earlier this year, ash from an Icelandic volcano disrupted air travel throughout much of northern Europe. Yet this recent eruption pales next to the fury of Jupiter's moon Io, the most volcanic body in our solar system.
More Volcanic Gases Current Events and Volcanic Gases News Articles

Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park: A Guide To The Park's Greatest Hiking Adventures (Regional Hiking Series)

Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park: A Guide To The Park's Greatest Hiking Adventures (Regional Hiking Series)
by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre (Author)


From a challenging climb up Lassen Peak to easy rambles around crystal clear lakes, this indispensable guide covers the best of the Northern California national park with 59 hike descriptions.

Information on campsites, backcountry permits, safety, trail finder table, and a list of the author's favorites, as well as the natural and human history of the park, make this an essential guide for visitiors to this national treasure.


The Noble Gases as Geochemical Tracers (Advances in Isotope Geochemistry)

The Noble Gases as Geochemical Tracers (Advances in Isotope Geochemistry)
by Pete Burnard (Editor)


The twelve chapters of this volume aim to provide a complete manual for using noble gases in terrestrial geochemistry, covering applications which range from high temperature processes deep in the Earth’s interior to tracing climatic variations using noble gases trapped in ice cores, groundwaters and modern sediments. Other chapters cover noble gases in crustal (aqueous, CO2 and hydrocarbon) fluids and laboratory techniques for determining noble gas solubilities and diffusivities under geologically relevant conditions. Each chapter deals with the fundamentals of the analysis and interpretation of the data, detailing sampling and sampling strategies, techniques for analysis, sources of error and their estimation, including data treatment and data interpretation using recent case studies.

Earth: Portrait of a Planet (Fourth Edition)

Earth: Portrait of a Planet (Fourth Edition)
by Stephen Marshak (Author)


Innovative and up-to-date—the number one Introduction to Geology textbook. The Fourth Edition of Earth: Portrait of a Planet provides the perfect balance between an authoritative, yet accessible text and a stunning narrative art program. This makes it the book of choice for instructors and students, who all have their own diverse styles of both teaching and learning. The Fourth Edition of this best-selling text constitutes a major revision, packed with recent updates and new features such as beautiful and innovative narrative figures, stimulating inquiry-based pedagogy, a tightened core narrative, hundreds of new photographs, and coverage of hot topics, like the March 2011 earthquake/tsunami that devastated Japan, the rare element crisis, the shifting price of oil, and the recent...

Eruptions that Shook the World

Eruptions that Shook the World
by Clive Oppenheimer (Author)


What does it take for a volcanic eruption to really shake the world? Did volcanic eruptions extinguish the dinosaurs, or help humans to evolve, only to decimate their populations with a super-eruption 73,000 years ago? Did they contribute to the ebb and flow of ancient empires, the French Revolution and the rise of fascism in Europe in the 19th century? These are some of the claims made for volcanic cataclysm. Volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer explores rich geological, historical, archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records (such as ice cores and tree rings) to tell the stories behind some of the greatest volcanic events of the past quarter of a billion years. He shows how a forensic approach to volcanology reveals the richness and complexity behind cause and effect, and argues that...

The Forecasting of Volcanic Eruptions

The Forecasting of Volcanic Eruptions
by R Trombley PhD (Author)


Forecasting the time, place, and character of a volcanic eruption is one of the major goals of volcanology. It is also one of the most difficult goals to achieve. Until recently, people living in a volcano's shadow had little help anticipating an eruption. A major volcanic event might strike with no warning at all. In the past 300 years, volcanic eruptions, most of them unexpected, have killed more than 250,000 people. In 2000, experts estimated that 500 million people were living in areas at risk from catastrophic volcanic eruptions. This book describes the strides that have made in eruption forecasting in recent years and explores why accurately predicting volcanic events remains difficult.Based on the methodologies in this book, Eruption Pro 10.6, to our knowledge, it is the only...

Modeling Volcanic Processes: The Physics and Mathematics of Volcanism

Modeling Volcanic Processes: The Physics and Mathematics of Volcanism
by Sarah A. Fagents (Editor), Tracy K. P. Gregg (Editor), Rosaly M. C. Lopes (Editor)


Understanding the physical behavior of volcanoes is key to mitigating the hazards active volcanoes pose to the ever-increasing populations living nearby. The processes involved in volcanic eruptions are driven by a series of interlinked physical phenomena, and to fully understand these, volcanologists must employ various physics subdisciplines. This book provides the first advanced-level, one-stop resource examining the physics of volcanic behavior and reviewing the state-of-the-art in modeling volcanic processes. Each chapter begins by explaining simple modeling formulations and progresses to present cutting-edge research illustrated by case studies. Individual chapters cover subsurface magmatic processes through to eruption in various environments and conclude with the application of...

Foundations of College Chemistry

Foundations of College Chemistry
by Morris Hein (Author), Susan Arena (Author)


Learning the fundamentals of chemistry can be a difficult task to undertake for health professionals. For over 35 years, this text has helped them master the chemistry skills they need to succeed. It provides them with clear and logical explanations of chemical concepts and problem solving. They’ll learn how to apply concepts with the help of worked out examples. In addition, Chemistry in Action features and conceptual questions checks brings together the understanding of chemistry and relates chemistry to things health professionals experience on a regular basis.

Understanding Our Universe

Understanding Our Universe
by Stacy Palen (Author), Laura Kay (Author), Bradford Smith (Author), George Blumenthal (Author)


Innovative pedagogy and unique application exercises teach students to apply what they've learned, as they learn it.Understanding Our Universe was constructed with the latest astronomy education research in mind: students learn by doing. The learning system allows students to immediately apply what they learn, gain a deeper understanding of the science, build confidence, and make meaningful connections to their everyday lives.

General Chemistry

General Chemistry
by Darrell Ebbing (Author), Steven D. Gammon (Author)


The tenth edition of this market-leading text has been substantially revised to meet the rapidly changing instructional demands of GENERAL CHEMISTRY professors. Known for its carefully developed, thoroughly integrated, step-by-step approach to problem solving, GENERAL CHEMISTRY helps students master quantitative skills and build a lasting conceptual understanding of key chemical concepts. The tenth edition retains this hallmark approach and builds upon the conceptual focus through key new features and revisions.

Volcanic emanations: chemical analyses of volcanic gases, volcanic sublimates [etc.]

Volcanic emanations: chemical analyses of volcanic gases, volcanic sublimates [etc.]
by Donald Edward White (Author)


This book was digitized and reprinted from the collections of the University of California Libraries. Together, the more than one hundred UC Libraries comprise the largest university research library in the world, with over thirty-five million volumes in their holdings. This book and hundreds of thousands of others can be found online in the HathiTrust Digital Library. HP's patented BookPrep technology was used to clean artifacts resulting from use and digitization, improving your reading experience. Despite the cleaning process, occasional flaws may still be present that are part of the original book, reflecting the journey of these collections over a lifetime of use.

© 2015 BrightSurf.com