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Authors: Aiuppa, A.* 
Bonfanti, P.* 
D'Alessandro, W.* 
Title: Rainwater Chemistry at Mt. Etna (Italy): natural and anthropogenic sources of major ions
Issue Date: 2003
Series/Report no.: 46 (2003)
Keywords: Etna
rainwater chemistry
major ions
volcanic activity
meteoric fluxes
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.03. Chemistry of waters 
Abstract: Major ion content of 37 wet-only rainwater samples collected on the southern flank of Mount Etna volcano was investigated. Measured pH values range from 3.80 to 7.22 and display a positive correlation with Ca2+ and an inverse correlation with NO−3 , suggesting that anthropogenic NOx are the most effective acidifying agents while Ca, likely as solid CaCO3, is the prevailing proton acceptor. Na/Cl ratios indicate a dominant marine origin for both species, while K, mg and Ca contents point to additional sources (soil dust, fertilisers etc.). Nitrate and sulphate concentrations display a nearly constant ratio indicating a common anthropogenic origin, and only a few samples are characterised by sulphate excess. The analysis of time series reveals a good correlation between the excess sulphate in rainwater and SO2 fluxes from the summit craters plume. Non sea salt chloride contents show also a significant correlation with volcanic activity indicating a magmatic sulphur and chloride contribution to rainwater. Meteoric flux estimations point to a prevailing magmatic origin for sulphur in the collected rainwaters while sea spray is the main source of chlorine.
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