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Authors: Monecke, T.* 
Petersen, S.* 
Hannington, M.* 
Anzidei, M.* 
Esposito, A.* 
Giordano, G.* 
Garbe-Schönberg, D* 
Augustin, N* 
Melchert, B.* 
Hocking, M.* 
Title: Explosion craters associated with shallow submarine gas venting off Panarea island, Italy
Issue Date: Nov-2012
Series/Report no.: /74 (2012)
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-012-0651-8
Keywords: Gas explosions .
Geothermal systems
Submarine gas venting
Volcanic CO2 flux
Volcanic hazards
Panarea island
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.08. Volcanic risk 
Abstract: Explosions of hot water, steam, and gas are common periodic events of subaerial geothermal systems. These highly destructive events may cause loss of life and substantial damage to infrastructure, especially in densely populated areas and where geothermal systems are actively exploited for energy. We report on the occurrence of a large number of explosion craters associated with the offshore venting of gas and thermal waters at the volcanic island of Panarea, Italy, demonstrating that violent explosions similar to those observed on land also are common in the shallow submarine environment. With diameters ranging from 5 to over 100 m, the observed circular seafloor depressions record a history of major gas explosions caused by frequent perturbation of the submarine geothermal system over the past 10,000 years. Estimates of the total gas flux indicate that the Panarea geothermal system released over 70 Mt of CO2 over this period of time, suggesting that CO2 venting at submerged arc volcanoes contributes significantly to the global atmospheric budget of this greenhouse gas. The findings at Panarea highlight that shallow submarine gas explosions represent a previously unrecognized volcanic hazard around populated volcanic islands that needs to be taken into account in the development of risk management strategies.
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