Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 255–265 | Cite as

Major-ion bulk deposition around an active volcano (Mt. Etna, Italy)

  • A. Aiuppa
  • S. Bellomo
  • L. Brusca
  • W. D'Alessandro
  • R. Di Paola
  • M. Longo
Research Article


Bulk atmospheric deposition of major cations (Na, K, Ca, Mg) and anions (Cl, F, SO4) were measured at 15 sites around an active volcano, Mount Etna, from 2001 to 2003. Their composition indicates several natural sources, among which deposition of plume-derived volcanogenic gas compounds is prevalent for F, Cl and S. Plume-derived acidic compounds are also responsible for the prevailing acidic composition of the samples collected on the summit of the volcano (pH in the 2.45–5.57 range). Cation species have complex origin, including deposition of plume volcanogenic ash and aerosols and soil-dust wind re-suspension of either volcanic or carbonate sedimentary rocks.

Variation of the deposition rates during the March 2001–March 2003 period, coupled with previous measurements from 1997 to 2000 (Appl Geochem 16:985–1000, 2001), were compared with the variation of SO2 flux, volcanic activity and rainfall. The deposition rate was mainly controlled by rainfall. Commonly, about 0.1–0.9% of HF, HCl and SO2 emitted by the summit crater's plume were deposited around the volcano. We estimate that ∼2 Gg of volcanogenic sulphur were deposited over the Etnean area during the 2002–2003 flank eruption, at an average rate of ∼24 Mg day−1 which is two orders of magnitude higher than that typical of quiescent degassing phases.


Volcanic degassing Etna volcano Impact of volcanic eruptions S deposition rates Halogen deposition rates Bulk deposition chemistry Environmental volcanology 



This research was carried out with the financial support of the National Group for Volcanology (G.N.V.), Italy. The authors wish to thank Pietro Bonfanti, Fabio Di Gangi, Salvatore Giammanco, Roberto Maugeri and Giovannella Pecoraino for help in the field. They also wish to thank all those who allowed them to set rainwater sampling stations in place and who tolerated their monthly visits: Prof. Catalano and Mr. Martinetti, respectively director and technician of the Astrophysics Observatory, University of Catania (CAT and SLN), Dr. Crisafulli (ARO), Dr. Torrisi (POZ), Prof. Gottini (NIC), Hotel Primavera dell'Etna, Zafferana (ZAF), Mrs. Russotti (VER) and Mr. Saitta of the Maletto Municipality (MAL). This paper benefited by constructive suggestions from Dr. S. Ingebritsen and two anonymous reviewers. Insightful comments by the associate editor Dr. Hiroshi Shinohara significantly contributed in improving the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Aiuppa
    • 1
  • S. Bellomo
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Brusca
    • 2
  • W. D'Alessandro
    • 2
  • R. Di Paola
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Longo
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento CFTA, Università di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaSezione di PalermoPalermoItaly

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