On depressurization of volcanic magma reservoirs by passive degassing
Date of Issue2014
Earth Observatory of Singapore
Many active volcanoes around the world alternate episodes of unrest and mildly explosive eruptions with quiescent periods dominated by abundant but passive gas emissions. These are the so-called persistently degassing volcanoes, and well-known examples are Mayon (Philippines) and Etna (Italy). Here, we develop a new lumped-parameter model to investigate by how much the gas released during quiescence can decrease the pressure within persistently degassing volcanoes. Our model is driven by the gas fluxes measured with monitoring systems and takes into account the size of the conduit and reservoir, the viscoelastic response of the crust, the magma density change, the bubble exsolution and expansion at depth, and the hydraulic connectivity between reservoirs and deeper magma sources. A key new finding is that, for a vast majority of scenarios, passive degassing reduces the pressure of shallow magma reservoirs by several MPa in only a few months or years, that is, within the intereruptive timescales of persistently degassing volcanoes. Degassing-induced depressurization could be responsible for the subsidence observed at some volcanoes during quiescence (e.g., at Satsuma-Iwojima and Asama, in Japan; Masaya, in Nicaragua; and Llaima, in Chile), and could play a crucial role in the onset and development of the physical processes which may in turn culminate in new unrest episodes and eruptions. For example, degassing-induced depressurization could promote magma replenishment, induce massive and sudden gas exsolution at depth, and trigger the collapse of the crater floor and reservoir roof.
Journal of geophysical research : solid earth
© 2014 American Geophysical Union. This paper was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Geophysical Union. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014JB011368]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.