The crater lake of Ilamatepec (Santa Ana) volcano, El Salvador: insights into lake gas composition and implications for monitoring

Angelo Battaglia, Alessandro Aiuppa, Nathalie Hasselle, Francisco Montalvo, Dmitri Rouwet, Marcello Bitetto, Eduardo Gutiérrez, Jacqueline Rivera, Ana Mirian Villalobos, Raffaello Cioni, Tobias P. Fischer, Demetrio Escobar, J. Maarten De Moor

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Abstract

We here present the first chemical characterization of the volcanic gas plume issuing from the Santa Ana crater lake, a hyper-acidic crater lake (pH of − 0.2 to 2.5) in north-western El Salvador. Our results, obtained during regular surveys in 2017 and 2018 using a Multi-GAS instrument, demonstrate a hydrous gas composition (H2O/SO2 ratios from 32 to 205) and SO2 as the main sulfur species (H2S/SO2 = 0.03–0.1). We also find that gas composition evolved during our investigated period, with the CO2/SO2 ratio decreasing by one order of magnitude from March 2017 (37.2 ± 9.7) to November 2018 (< 3). This compositional evolution toward more magmatic (SO2-rich) compositions is interpreted in the context of the long-term evolution of the volcano following its 2005 and 2007 eruptions. We find that, in spite of reduced (background-level) seismicity, the magmatic gas supply into the lake was one order of magnitude higher in March 2017 (total volatile flux: 20,200–30,200 t/day) than in the following periods (total volatile flux: 900–10,167 t/day). We propose that the elevated magmatic/hydrothermal transport in March 2017, combined with a 15% reduction in precipitation, caused the volume of the lake to decrease, ultimately reducing its sulfur absorbing and scrubbing capacity, and hence causing the gas plume CO2/SO2 ratio to decrease. The recently observed increases in temperature, acidity, and salinity of the lake are consistent with this hypothesis. We conclude that the installation of a continuous, fully-automated Multi-GAS is highly desirable to monitor any future change in lake plume chemistry, and hence the level of degassing activity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Volume81
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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    Battaglia, A., Aiuppa, A., Hasselle, N., Montalvo, F., Rouwet, D., Bitetto, M., Gutiérrez, E., Rivera, J., Villalobos, A. M., Cioni, R., Fischer, T. P., Escobar, D., & De Moor, J. M. (2019). The crater lake of Ilamatepec (Santa Ana) volcano, El Salvador: insights into lake gas composition and implications for monitoring. Bulletin of Volcanology, 81.