Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 159–171 | Cite as

Chemical composition of precipitation at Mt. Vesuvius and Vulcano Island, Italy: volcanological and environmental implications

Original Article


Natural precipitation and water samples from passive devices were collected at Mt. Vesuvius and Vulcano Island, Italy, during the period 2004–2006, in order to investigate its possible interactions with fumarolic gases. Evidence of chemical reactions between fumarolic fluids and rain samples before and after its deposition into the sampling devices was found at Vulcano Island. Very low pH values (down to 2.5) and significant amounts of chlorine and sulfate (up to 22 mEq/l) were measured at sampling points located close to the fumarolic field. In contrast, anthropogenic contributions and/or dissolution of aerosols (both maritime and continental) influence the chemistry of rainwaters at Mt. Vesuvius, which show inter-annual variations that are highly consistent with those recorded at the coastal site at Vulcano Island. Chemistry of waters directly exposed to fumarolic fluids may then give useful information about its temporal evolution, holding the signal of the “maximum” chemical event occurred in the meanwhile. In addition, the observation of the health status of vegetation colonizing the immediate surroundings of the fumarolic fields, due to its strong dependence on the interactions with these fluids, may work as a possible biomarker of volcanic activity.


Chemistry Fumarole Precipitation Vesuvius Vulcano Island 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaSezione di PalermoPalermoItaly

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