, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 181-188

Rates of sulfur dioxide and particle emissions from White Island volcano, New Zealand, and an estimate of the total flux of major gaseous species


Airborne correlation spectrometry (COSPEC) was used to measure the rate of SO2 emission at White Island on three dates, i.e., November 1983, 1230 ± 300 t/d; November 1984, 320 ± 120 t/d; and January 1985, 350 ± 150 t/d (t = metric tons). The lower emission rates are likely to reflect the long-term emission rates, whereas the November 1983 rate probably reflects conditions prior to the eruption of December 1983. The particle flux in the White Island plume, as determined with a quartz crystal microbalance/cascade in November 1983, was 1.3 t/d, unusually low for volcanic plumes. The observed plume particles, as shown from scanning electron microscopy, include halite, native sulfur, and silicates and are broadly similar to other volcanic plumes.

Gas analyses from high-temperature volcanic fumaroles collected from June 1982 through November 1984 werde used together with the COSPEC data to estimate the flux of other gas species from White Island. The rates estimated are indicative of the long-term volcanic emission, i.e., 8000–9000 t/d H2O, 900–1000 t/d CO2, 70–80 t/d HCl, 1.5–2 t/d HF, and about 0.2 t/d NH3. The long-term thermal power output at White Island is estimated at about 400 MW.