Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 74, Issue 9, pp 1937–1944 | Cite as

Explosion craters associated with shallow submarine gas venting off Panarea island, Italy

  • Thomas Monecke
  • Sven Petersen
  • Mark D. Hannington
  • Marco Anzidei
  • Alessandra Esposito
  • Guido Giordano
  • Dieter Garbe-Schönberg
  • Nico Augustin
  • Bernd Melchert
  • Mike Hocking
Short Scientific Communication

Abstract

Explosions of hot water, steam, and gas are common periodic events of subaerial geothermal systems. These highly destructive events may cause loss of life and substantial damage to infrastructure, especially in densely populated areas and where geothermal systems are actively exploited for energy. We report on the occurrence of a large number of explosion craters associated with the offshore venting of gas and thermal waters at the volcanic island of Panarea, Italy, demonstrating that violent explosions similar to those observed on land also are common in the shallow submarine environment. With diameters ranging from 5 to over 100 m, the observed circular seafloor depressions record a history of major gas explosions caused by frequent perturbation of the submarine geothermal system over the past 10,000 years. Estimates of the total gas flux indicate that the Panarea geothermal system released over 70 Mt of CO2 over this period of time, suggesting that CO2 venting at submerged arc volcanoes contributes significantly to the global atmospheric budget of this greenhouse gas. The findings at Panarea highlight that shallow submarine gas explosions represent a previously unrecognized volcanic hazard around populated volcanic islands that needs to be taken into account in the development of risk management strategies.

Keywords

Gas explosions Geothermal systems Submarine gas venting Volcanic CO2 flux Volcanic hazards Panarea island 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Captain Michael Schneider, his officers, and the crew onboard RV Poseidon cruise P340 for their expert help. We are indebted to I. Suck and H. Schulz for piloting the remotely operated vehicle. We thank L. Morgan, J. White, and an anonymous reviewer for valuable comments that helped us to improve and earlier version of the manuscript. The multibeam bathymetric survey was funded by the Italian Civil Protection Agency. Operation of the ROV was financially supported by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.

References

  1. Anzidei M, Esposito A, Bortoluzzi G, De Giosa F (2005) The high resolution bathymetric map of the exhalative area of Panarea (Aeolian islands, Italy). Ann Geophys 48:17–39Google Scholar
  2. Beccaluva L, Gabbianelli G, Lucchini F, Rossi PL, Savelli C (1985) Petrology and K/Ar ages of volcanics dredged from the Eolian seamounts: implications for geodynamic evolution of the southern Tyrrhenian basin. Earth Planet Sci Lett 74:187–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bigazzi G, Laurenzi MA, Soligo M, Tuccimei P (2008) Multi-method approach to dating glass: the case of Basiluzzo islet (Aeolian archipelago, Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 177:244–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Browne PRL, Lawless JV (2001) Characteristics of hydrothermal eruptions, with examples from New Zealand and elsewhere. Earth-Sci Rev 52:299–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calanchi N, Capaccioni B, Martini M, Tassi F, Valentini L (1995) Submarine gas-emission from Panarea island (Aeolian archipelago): distribution of inorganic and organic compounds and inferences about source conditions. Acta Vulcanol 7:43–48Google Scholar
  6. Calanchi N, Tranne CA, Lucchini F, Rossi PL, Villa IM (1999) Explanatory notes to the geological map (1:10,000) of Panarea and Basiluzzo islands (Aeolian arc, Italy). Acta Vulcanol 11:223–243Google Scholar
  7. Caliro S, Caracausi A, Chiodini G, Ditta M, Italiano F, Longo M, Minopoli C, Nuccio PM, Paonita A, Rizzo A (2004) Evidence of a recent input of magmatic gases into the quiescent volcanic edifice of Panarea, Aeolian islands, Italy. Geophys Res Lett 31:L07619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Capaccioni B, Tassi F, Vaselli O, Tedesco D, Poreda R (2007) Submarine gas burst at Panarea island (southern Italy) on 3 November 2002: a magmatic versus hydrothermal episode. J Geophys Res 112:B05201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caracausi A, Ditta M, Italiano F, Longo M, Nuccio PM, Paonita A, Rizzo A (2005) Changes in fluid geochemistry and physico-chemical conditions of geothermal systems caused by magmatic input: the recent abrupt outgassing off the island of Panarea (Aeolian islands, Italy). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 69:3045–3059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cas R, Giordano G, Balsamo F, Esposito A, Lo Mastro S (2011) Hydrothermal breccia textures and processes: Lisca Bianca islet, Panarea volcano, Aeolian islands, Italy. Econ Geol 106:437–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chiodini G, Caliro S, Caramanna G, Granieri D, Minopoli C, Moretti R, Perotta L, Ventura G (2006) Geochemistry of the submarine gaseous emissions of Panarea (Aeolian islands, southern Italy): magmatic vs. hydrothermal origin and implications for volcanic surveillance. Pure Appl Geophys 163:759–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dolfti D, de Rita D, Cimarelli C, Mollo S, Soligo M, Fabbri M (2007) Dome growth rates, eruption frequency and assessment of volcanic hazard: insights from new U/Th dating of the Panarea and Basiluzzo dome lavas and pyroclastics, Aeolian islands, Italy. Quatern Int 162–163:182–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Esposito A, Giordano G, Anzidei M (2006) The 2002–2003 submarine gas eruption at Panarea volcano (Aeolian islands, Italy): volcanology of the seafloor and implications for the hazard scenario. Marine Geol 227:119–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Esposito A, Anzidei M, Atzori S, Devoti R, Giordano G, Pietrantonio G (2010) Modeling ground deformations of Panarea volcano hydrothermal/geothermal system (Aeolian islands, Italy) from GPS data. Bull Volcanol 72:609–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fabris M, Baldi P, Anzidei M, Pesci A, Bortoluzzi G, Aliani S (2010) High resolution topographic model of Panarea island by fusion of photogrammetric, lidar and bathymetric digital terrain models. Photogramm Rec 25:382–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Favalli M, Karátson D, Mazzuoli R, Pareschi MT, Ventura G (2005) Volcanic geomorphology and tectonics of the Aeolian archipelago (southern Italy) based on integrated DEM data. Bull Volcanol 68:157–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gabbianelli G, Gillot PY, Lanzafame G, Romagnoli C, Rossi PL (1990) Tectonic and volcanic evolution of Panarea (Aeolian islands, Italy). Marine Geol 92:313–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerlach TM, Westrich HR, Symonds RB (1996) Preeruption vapor in magma of the climactic Mount Pinatubo eruption: Source of the giant stratospheric sulfur dioxide cloud. In: Newhall CG, Punongbayan RS (eds) Fire and mud: eruptions and lahars of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines. University of Washington Press, Seattle, pp 415–433Google Scholar
  19. Hedenquist JW, Henley RW (1985) Hydrothermal eruptions in the Waiotapu geothermal system, New Zealand: their origin, associated breccias, and relation to precious metal mineralization. Econ Geol 80:1640–1668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Italiano F, Nuccio PM (1991) Geochemical investigations of submarine volcanic exhalations to the east of Panarea, Aeolian islands, Italy. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 46:125–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lambeck K, Antonioli F, Anzidei M, Ferranti L, Leoni G, Scicchitano G, Silenzi S (2011) Sea level change along the Italian coast during the Holocene and projections for the future. Quatern Int 232:250–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Le Guern F, Tazieff H, Pierret RF (1982) An example of health hazard: people killed by gas during a phreatic eruption: Dieng Plateau (Java, Indonesia), February 20th 1979. Bull Volcanol 45:153–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marini L, Principe C, Chiodini G, Cioni R, Fytikas M, Marinelli G (1993) Hydrothermal eruptions of Nisyros (Dodecanese, Greece). Past events and present hazard. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 56:71–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mercalli G (1883) Vulcani e fenomeni vulcanici in Italia. A. Forni, Milano:374 pGoogle Scholar
  25. Morgan LA, Shanks WC III, Lovalvo DA, Johnson SY, Stephenson WJ, Pierce KL, Harlan SS, Finn CA, Lee G, Webring M, Schulze B, Dühn J, Sweeney R, Balistrieri L (2007) Exploration and discovery in Yellowstone Lake: results from high-resolution sonar imaging, seismic reflection profiling, and submersible studies. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 122:221–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Muffler LJP, White DE, Truesdell AH (1971) Hydrothermal explosion craters in Yellowstone National Park. Geol Soc Am Bull 82:723–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nairn IA, Wiradiradja S (1980) Late Quaternary hydrothermal explosion breccias of Kawerau geothermal field, New Zealand. Bull Volcanol 43:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Neri M, Acocella V, Behncke B, Maiolino V, Ursino A, Velardita R (2005) Contrasting triggering mechanisms of the 2001 and 2002–2003 eruptions of Mount Etna (Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 144:235–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Petersen S, Monecke T (2008) RV Poseidon cruise report P340. Messina-Messina July 6–17, 2006. Reports of the Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel, Germany 21:73 pGoogle Scholar
  30. Ripepe M, Marchetti E, Ulivieri G, Harris A, Dehn J, Burton M, Caltabiano T, Salerno G (2005) Effusive to explosive transition during the 2003 eruption of Stromboli volcano. Geology 33:341–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Savelli C, Marani M, Gamberi F (1999) Geochemistry of metalliferous, hydrothermal deposits in the Aeolian arc (Tyrrhenian Sea). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 88:305–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smyth WH (1824) Memoir descriptive of the resources, inhabitants, and hydrography, of Sicily and its islands interspersed with antiquarian and other notices. J. Murray, London:291 pGoogle Scholar
  33. Tassi F, Capaccioni B, Caramanna G, Cinti D, Montegrossi G, Pizzino L, Quattrocchi F, Vaselli O (2009) Low-pH waters discharging from submarine vents at Panarea island (Aeolian islands, southern Italy) after the 2002 gas blast: origin of hydrothermal fluids and implications for volcanic surveillance. Appl Geochem 24:246–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yuhara K (1997) Review of hydrothermal eruptions. J Jap Geotherm Energy Assoc 34:18–34Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Monecke
    • 1
  • Sven Petersen
    • 2
  • Mark D. Hannington
    • 3
  • Marco Anzidei
    • 4
  • Alessandra Esposito
    • 4
  • Guido Giordano
    • 5
  • Dieter Garbe-Schönberg
    • 6
  • Nico Augustin
    • 2
  • Bernd Melchert
    • 2
  • Mike Hocking
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Geological EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  2. 2.GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Istituto Nationale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV)RomeItaly
  5. 5.Dipartimento Scienze GeologicheUniversita Roma TRERomeItaly
  6. 6.Institute of GeosciencesUniversity of KielKielGermany

Personalised recommendations