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Authors: Caracausi, A.*
Ditta, M.*
Italiano, F.*
Longo, M.*
Nuccio, P. M.*
Paonita, A.*
Rizzo, A.*
Title: Changes in fluid geochemistry and physico-chemical conditions of geothermal systems caused by magmatic input: The recent abrupt outgassing off the island of Panarea (Aeolian Islands, Italy)
Title of journal: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Series/Report no.: 12/69(2005)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2005
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2005.02.011
Keywords: Submarine degassing
geothermal system
gas-water interaction
gas geothermometry
Abstract: Hydrothermal systems and related vents can exhibit dramatic changes in their physico-chemical conditions over time as a response to varying activity in the feeding magmatic systems. Massive steam condensation and gas scrubbing processes of thermal fluids during their ascent and cooling cause further compositional changes that mask information regarding the conditions evolving at depth in the hydrothermal system. Here we propose a new stability diagram based on the CO2-CH4-CO-H2 concentrations in vapor, which aims at calculating the temperatures and pressures in hydrothermal reservoirs. To filter gas scrubbing effects, we have also developed a model for selective dissolution of CO2-H2S-N2-CH4-He-Ne mixtures in fresh and/or air-saturated seawater. This methodology has been applied to the recent (November 2002) crisis that affected the geothermal field off the island of Panarea (Italy), where the fluid composition and fluxes have been monitored for the past two decades. The chemical and isotopic compositions of the gases suggest that the volatile elements originate from an active magma, which feeds a boiling saline solution having temperatures of up to 350 C and containing 12 mol CO2 in vapor. The thermal fluids undergo cooling and re-equilibration processes on account of gas-water-rock interactions during their ascent along fracture networks. Furthermore, steam condensation and removal of acidic species, partial dissolution in cold air-saturated seawater and stripping of atmospheric components, affect the composition of the geothermal gases at shallow levels. The observed geochemical variations are consistent with a new input of magmatic fluids that perturbed the geothermal system and caused the unrest event. The present-state evolution shows that this dramatic input of fluids is probably over, and that the system is now tending towards steady-state conditions on a time scale of months.
Appears in Collections:04.08.04. Thermodynamics
04.01.02. Geological and geophysical evidences of deep processes
05.02.01. Geochemical data
04.08.01. Gases
04.08.06. Volcano monitoring
Papers Published / Papers in press

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