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Authors: Giammanco, Salvatore* 
Sims, Kenneth* 
Editors: Sims, Kenneth 
Maher, Kate 
Schrag, Daniel P 
Title: Monitoring volcanic activity through combined measurements of CO2 efflux and (222Rn) and (220Rn) in soil gas: an application to Mt. Etna (Italy)
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Issue Date: 2022
ISBN: 9781119594970
Keywords: Soil gases
carbon dioxide
volcano monitoring
Subject Classification04.08. Volcanology 
Abstract: We present measurements of soil CO2 effluxes combined with soil (222Rn) and (220Rn) from two high-degassing areas on the lower flanks of Mt. Etna volcano (ZE-SV on the E flank and PAT on the SW flank). Measurements were conducted periodically from June 2006 to January 2009 in the ZE-SV area and January 2007 to January 2009 in the PAT area. The results showed significant variations in discharge activity and style. Log values of (220Rn)/(222Rn) and CO2 efflux generally follow a negative correlation, herein parameterized as the Soil Gas Disequilibrium Index (SGDI). Deviations of the SGDI from this negative correlation provide insight into variance of localized and shallow system conditions, namely rock fracturing, residual magma degassing, and near surface interactions between magmatic gases and groundwater. Statistical analysis highlighted signal anomalies, both negative and positive, that were modeled according to the physical properties and the modes of transport for each of the SGDI gas components. The revealed anomalies show correspondence with episodes of magma ascent and eruption, thereby demonstrating the potential of using the SGDI as another instrument for forecasting volcanic activity. An important strength of the SGDI, compared to other magma gas proxies like CO2 or SO2, is that the very short and very different half-lives of 222Rn (t1/2 = 3.85 days) and 220Rn (t1/2 = 55 seconds) provide unique information on the timescales of soil gas transport. Coupling the SGDI with other pre-eruptive proxies enhances the volcanological community’s response capabilities, which is critical for effective hazard mitigation.
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