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Authors: Quareni, F.*
Moretti, R.*
Piochi, M.*
Chiodini, G.*
Issue Date: 2006
Keywords: Thermodynamics
CO2 degassing
volcanic conduit
1944 eruption
Abstract: The last eruptive event at Mt. Vesuvius occurred in 1944 AD, ending a cycle of continuous eruptive activity started with the sub-plinian event of 1631 AD. The aim of this research is i) to model the thermal evolution of the volcanic system from 1631 AD up to the present and ii) to investigate the possible process leading the volcano to the current state of quiescence. A finiteelement software is employed to solve the time-dependent energy equation and obtain the thermal field in the volcanic edifice and the surrounding medium. Volcanological, petrological and geophysical constraints are used to define the crustal structure beneath the volcanic edifice, the magma supply system active since 1631 AD, and the physico-chemical conditions of magma. Thermodynamic properties of magma and wall rocks have been evaluated from well-established thermo-chemical compilations and data from the literature. It is shown that heat transfer due to magma degassing is required in addition to the heat conduction in order to obtain transient depthtemperature fields consistent with geochemical observations, high crustal magnetization, and rigid behavior of the shallow crust as indicated by geophysical data. Surface data of carbon dioxide soil flux coming out from the Mt. Vesuvius crater are taken to constrain such an additional heat flux. The agreement between modeled and measured temperatures at the crater since 1944 AD proves the consistency of the model. It is concluded that the present state of quiescence of Mt. Vesuvius is mostly a consequence of the absence of magma supply from the deep reservoir into the shallower system. This allows the cooling of residual magma left within the volcanic conduit and the transition from continuous eruptive activity to the condition of conduit obstruction. In this scenario, the hydrothermal system may have developed subsequent to the cooling of the magma within the conduit. Our findings are a direct consequence of the high concentration of CO2 in the most mafic Vesuvian magmas: the low solubility of CO2, with respect to H2O, enables a high mass flux of carbon dioxide through the volcanic edifice. The results of this study are relevant for hazard assessment at Vesuvius and indicate directions for further investigation, such as the role of the hydrothermal system on the thermal energy budget of the volcanic system and its relationships with fluids released by crustal structures likely to host the magmatic reservoir. In general, the role of the high concentration of carbon dioxide in magmas should be more questioned and investigated when studying the behavior of volcanic systems, particularly in South Italy volcanoes.
Appears in Collections:01.01.06. Thermodynamics

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