Diffuse emission of CO2 from the Fossa crater, Vulcano Island (Italy)
Numerous measurements of CO2 degassing from the soil, carried out with the accumulation chamber method, indicate that in the period April–July 1995 the upper part of the Fossa cone released a total output of 200 t d–1 of CO2, which corresponds to approximately 1000 t d–1 of steam. These large amounts of fluids are of the same order of magnitude as those released by the high temperature fumarolic field located inside the crater. The spatial distribution of soil gas fluxes shows that the main structures releasing CO2 are the inner slopes of the crater and a NW–SE line, located NE of the crater rim, which correspond to the main direction of Vulcano Island active faults. The comparison of the φCO2 maps with the soil temperature distribution, derived from both direct measurements and airborne infrared images, indicates the occurrence of extensive condensation of fumarolic steam within the upper part of the Fossa cone, whose total amount is comparable to the rainfall budget. Part of the condensate which originates from this process contributes to the recharge of the phreatic aquifer of Porto Plain, modifying the chemical and isotopic composition of the groundwater.