National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2002

Geochemistry of atmospheric aerosols generated from lava-seawater interactions

Sansone, F.J., C.R. Benitez-Nelson, J.A. Resing, E.H. DeCarlo, S.M. Vink, J.A. Heath, and B.J. Huebert

Geophys. Res. Lett., 29(9), doi: 10.1029/2001GL013882 (2002)

Trace elements were measured in the aerosol plume produced by lava-seawater interactions along the shoreline of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Plume concentrations were normalized relative to Hawaiian basalt composition and showed a linear log-log covariation with their emanation coefficient (an indicator of element volatility). Normalized aerosol concentrations also consistently covaried with corresponding normalized concentrations in dilute fumarolic gas from Kilauea volcano and fumarolic gas condensates from Kudryavy and Merapi volcanoes, despite different mechanisms of element volatilization. Conservatively estimated regional ocean deposition rates of Cu, CCd, Ni, Pb, Mn, Zn, Fe and P were >50 times background rates. Thus, upper ocean volcanism may be an important source of both toxic and nutrient elements to the surrounding ocean. It appears unlikely, however, that shallow ocean volcanism can exert a significant impact on the global ecosystem, even during massive lava emplacements.

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