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Authors: Todesco, M. 
Title: Modeling of CO2 circulation in the Colli Albani area
Issue Date: 25-Jan-2010
Keywords: Colli Albani
rock properties
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.06. Volcano monitoring 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
Abstract: The Colli Albani is a quiescent volcano located nearby the city of Roma, characterised by the presence of an active geothermal system, periodic seismic swarms and intense diffuse degassing. Several accidents, some of which lethal, have occurred in recent years associated to episodes of more intense releases and outbursts of volcanic gases, dominantly CO2 and H2S. Gas emissions are presently the most hazardous phenomenon for the highly populated Colli Albani area, along with the potential occurrence of seismic activity. This chapter presents the numerical modeling of heat and fluid circulation applied to study the mechanisms which control the diffuse degassing at Colli Albani volcano. Multi-phase and multi-component simulations were carried out using the TOUGH2 geothermal simulator in a realistic geological context, which includes all available information on the stratigraphy and structure of the Colli Albani substrate, along with data on the total gas flux, the local geothermal gradient, the local hydrogeology, and the thermal characteristics of the rocks. The geothermal reservoir at Colli Albani is hosted by the 2-3000 m thick Mesozoic-Cenozoic carbonatic succession capped by Pliocene clays which act as aquiclude and are few hundreds to over 1000m thick, in turned covered by continental sedimentary and volcanic deposits, which host the shallow hydrogeological system. Numerical simulations evaluate the effects associated with the thickness of the carbonatic basement and its cap rock; the role of CO2 supply rate at depth; and the influence of permeable channelways through the cap rocks. Numerical simulations show that thickness of the geothermal reservoir hosted by the carbonatic basement and of its impervious cover control the vigor of the convection, the extent and depth (and hence temperature) of the lateral recharge area, and the distribution of the carbon dioxide within the system. This result suggests that the temperature distribution and diffuse degassing at surface do not simply reflect the characteristics of the heat and fluid source at depth, but also the specific structure and hydrological properties of the site where they are measured.
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