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Authors: Liotta, M.* 
D'Alessandro, W.* 
Bellomo, S.* 
Brusca, L.* 
Title: Volcanic plume fingerprint in the groundwater of a persistently degassing basaltic volcano: Mt. Etna
Issue Date: 2016
Series/Report no.: /433 (2016)
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.03.032
Keywords: Mt. Etna
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.02. Hydrological processes: interaction, transport, dynamics 
Abstract: Abstract The chemical composition of the groundwater at Mt. Etna was investigated in order to determine the extent to which the persistent plume affects the chemical composition of circulating waters. Samples from 31 springs and wells were collected during June and July 2014 and analyzed for their chemical compositions. The content of dissolved elements derives from the bulk deposition (wet and dry deposition) at the recharge areas as well as from the weathering of volcanic rocks during the infiltration and transport of groundwater. In its early phase, the chemical weathering of volcanic rocks and ashes is promoted by the acid rain that characterizes the area and subsequently by the huge amount of deep magmatic carbon dioxide (CO2) coming up through the volcanic edifice and dissolving in the water. The high content of chlorine is mainly derived from interactions between the plume and rainwater, while the total alkalinity can be completely ascribed to the dissociation of carbonic acid (H2CO3) after the hydration of CO2. The relative contributions of plume-derived elements/weathering and CO2-driven weathering has been computed for each element. In addition, the comparison between the chemical compositions of the bulk deposition and of groundwater provides a new understanding about the mobility of volatile elements. The proposed approach has revealed that the persistent plume strongly affects the chemical composition of groundwater at Mt. Etna and probably also at other volcanoes characterized by huge open-conduit degassing activity.
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