High emission rate of sulfuric acid from Bezymianny volcano, Kamchatka
Journal article, 2015
High concentrations of primary sulfuric acid (H2SO4) in fumarolic gases and high emission rate of sulfuric acid aerosol in the plume were measured at Bezymianny volcano, an active dome-growing andesitic volcano in central Kamchatka. Using direct sampling, filter pack sampling, and differential optical absorption spectroscopy measurements, we estimated an average emission of H2SO4 at 243 ± 75 t/d in addition to an average SO2 emission of 212 ± 65 t/d. The fumarolic gases of Bezymianny correspond to arc gases released by several magma bodies at different stages of degassing and contain 25-92% of entrained air. H2SO4 accounts for 6-87 mol% of the total sulfur content, 42.8 mol% on average, and SO2 is the rest. The high H2SO4 in Bezymianny fumaroles can be explained by catalytic oxidation of SO2 inside the volcanic dome. Because sulfate aerosol is impossible to measure remotely, the total sulfur content in a plume containing significant H2SO4 may be seriously underestimated.