Volcanic Gas Emissions Along the Colombian Arc Segment of the Northern Volcanic Zone (CAS-NVZ): Implications for volcano monitoring and volatile budget of the Andean Volcanic Belt
Journal article, 2019

Studying spatial and temporal trends in volcanic gas compositions and fluxes is crucial both to volcano monitoring and to constrain the origin and recycling efficiency of volatiles at active convergent margins. New volcanic gas compositions and volatile fluxes are here reported for Nevado del Ruiz, Galeras, and Purace, three of the most persistently degassing volcanoes located in the Colombian Arc Segment of the Northern Volcanic Zone. At Nevado del Ruiz, from 2014 to 2017, plume emissions showed an average molar CO2/S-T ratio of 3.9 +/- 1.6 (S-T is total sulfur, S). Contemporary, fumarolic chemistry at Galeras progressively shifted toward low-temperature, S-depleted fumarolic gas discharges with an average CO2/S-T ratio in excess of 10 (6.0-46.0, 2014-2017). This shift in volcanic gas compositions was accompanied by a concurrent decrease in SO2 emissions, confirmed on 21 March 2017 by high-resolution ultraviolet camera-based SO2 fluxes of similar to 2.5 kg/s (similar to 213 t/day). For comparison, SO2 emissions remained high at Nevado del Ruiz (weighted average of 8 kg/s) between 2014 and 2017, while Purace maintained rather low emission levels (<1 kg/s of SO2, CO2/SO2 approximate to 14). We here estimate carbon dioxide fluxes for Nevado del Ruiz, Galeras, and Purace of similar to 23, 30, and 1 kg/s, respectively. These, combined with recent CO2 flux estimates for Nevado del Huila of similar to 10 kg/s (similar to 860 t/day), imply that this arc segment contributes about 50% to the total subaerial CO2 budget of the Andean Volcanic Belt. Furthermore, our work highlights the northward increase in carbon-rich sediment input into the mantle wedge via slab fluids and melts that is reflected in magmatic CO2/S-T values far higher than those reported for Southern Volcanic Zone and Central Volcanic Zone volcanoes. We estimate that about 20% (similar to 1.3 Mt C/year) of the C being subducted (similar to 6.19 Mt C/year) gets resurfaced through subaerial volcanic gas emissions in Colombia (Nevado del Ruiz similar to 0.7 Mt C/year). As global volcanic volatile fluxes continue to be quantified and refined, the contribution from this arc segment should not be underestimated.

volatile fluxes

arc volcanism

Colombian Arc Segment

Nevado del Ruiz




J. Lages

University of Palermo

Z. Chacon

Colombian Geological Survey

V Burbano

Colombian Geological Survey

L. Meza

Colombian Geological Survey

Santiago Arellano

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing

M. Liuzzo

National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology

G. Giudice

National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology

A. Aiuppa

University of Palermo

M. Bitetto

University of Palermo

C. Lopez

Colombian Geological Survey

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

1525-2027 (ISSN)

Vol. 20 11 5057-5081

Subject Categories



Physical Geography

Geosciences, Multidisciplinary



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