Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 89–102 | Cite as

Rainwater Chemistry at Mt. Etna (Italy): Natural and Anthropogenic Sources of Major Ions

  • A. Aiuppa
  • P. Bonfanti
  • W. D'Alessandro


Major ion content of 37 wet-only rainwater samples collected on the southern flank of Mount Etna volcano was investigated. Measured pH values range from 3.80 to 7.22 and display a positive correlation with Ca2+ and an inverse correlation with NO3, suggesting that anthropogenic NOx are the most effective acidifying agents while Ca, likely as solid CaCO3, is the prevailing proton acceptor. Na/Cl ratios indicate a dominant marine origin for both species, while K, mg and Ca contents point to additional sources (soil dust, fertilisers etc.). Nitrate and sulphate concentrations display a nearly constant ratio indicating a common anthropogenic origin, and only a few samples are characterised by sulphate excess. The analysis of time series reveals a good correlation between the excess sulphate in rainwater and SO2 fluxes from the summit craters plume. Non sea salt chloride contents show also a significant correlation with volcanic activity indicating a magmatic sulphur and chloride contribution to rainwater. Meteoric flux estimations point to a prevailing magmatic origin for sulphur in the collected rainwaters while sea spray is the main source of chlorine.

Etna rainwater chemistry major ions volcanic activity meteoric fluxes 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Aiuppa
    • 1
  • P. Bonfanti
    • 2
  • W. D'Alessandro
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento CFTAUniversità di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Sezione di PalermoIstituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaPalermoItaly

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