Extended SO2 outgassing from the 2014–2015 Holuhraun lava flow field, Iceland
Journal article, 2017
The 2014–2015 Holuhraun eruption was the largest fissure eruption in Iceland in the last 200 years. This flood basalt eruption produced ~ 1.6 km3 of lava, forming a lava flow field covering an area of ~ 84 km2. Over the 6-month course of the eruption, ~ 11 Mt of SO2 were released from the eruptive vents as well as from the cooling lava flow field. This work examines the post-eruption SO2 flux emitted by the Holuhraun lava flow field, providing the first study of the extent and relative importance of the outgassing of a lava flow field after emplacement. We use data from a scanning differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) instrument installed at the eruption site to monitor the flux of SO2. In this study, we propose a new method to estimate the SO2 emissions from the lava flow field, based on the characteristic shape of the scanned column density distribution of a homogenous source close to the ground. Post-eruption outgassing of the lava flow field continued for at least 3 months after the end of the eruption, with SO2 flux between < 1 and 9 kg/s. The lava flow field post-eruption emissions were not a significant contributor to the total SO2 released during the eruption; however, the lava flow field was still an important polluter and caused high concentrations of SO2 at ground level after lava effusion ceased.