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Authors: Carapezza, M. L.* 
Badalamenti, B.* 
Cavarra, L.* 
Scalzo, A.* 
Title: Gas hazard assessment in a densely inhabited area of Colli Albani Volcano (Cava dei Selci, Roma)
Issue Date: 2003
Series/Report no.: 123(2003)
DOI: 10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00029-5
Keywords: Colli Albani
CO2 flux
gas hazard
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.07. Volcanic effects 
04. Solid Earth::04.01. Earth Interior::04.01.02. Geological and geophysical evidences of deep processes 
04. Solid Earth::04.03. Geodesy::04.03.06. Measurements and monitoring 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.01. Gases 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.02. Experimental volcanism 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
05. General::05.02. Data dissemination::05.02.01. Geochemical data 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
Abstract: The northwestern flank of the Colli Albani, a Quaternary volcanic complex near Rome, is characterised by high CO2 values and Rn activities in the groundwater and by the presence of zones with strong emission of gas from the soil. The most significant of these zones is Cava dei Selci where many houses are located very near to the gas emission site. The emitted gas consists mainly of CO2 (up to 98 vol) with an appreciable content of H2S (0.8). The He and C isotopic composition indicates, as for all fluids associated with the Quaternary Roman and Tuscany volcanic provinces, the presence of an upper mantle component contaminated by crustal fluids associated with subducted sediments and carbonates. An advective CO2 flux of 37 tons/day has been estimated from the gas bubbles rising to the surface in a small drainage ditch and through a stagnant water pool, present in the rainy season in a topographically low central part of the area. A CO2 soil flux survey with an accumulation chamber, carried out in February-March 2000 over a 12 000 m2 surface with 242 measurement points, gave a total (mostly conductive) flux of 61 tons/day. CO2 soil flux values vary by four orders of magnitude over a 160-m distance and by one order of magnitude over several metres. A fixed network of 114 points over 6350 m2 has been installed in order to investigate temporal flux variations. Six surveys carried out from May 2000 to June 2001 have shown large variations of the total CO2 soil flux (8/25 tons/day). The strong emission of CO2 and H2S, which are gases denser than air, produces dangerous accumulations in low areas which have caused a series of lethal accidents to animals and one to a man. The gas hazard near the houses has been assessed by continuously monitoring the CO2 and H2S concentration in the air at 75 cm from the ground by means of two automatic stations. Certain environmental parameters (wind direction and speed; atm P, T, humidity and rainfall) were also continuously recorded. At both stations, H2S and CO2 exceeded by several times the recommended concentration thresholds. The highest CO2 and H2S values were recorded always with wind speeds less than 1.5 m/s, mostly in the night hours. Our results indicate that there is a severe gas hazard for people living near the gas emission site of Cava dei Selci, and appropriate precautionary and prevention measures have been recommended both to residents and local authorities.
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