Long time-series of chemical and isotopic compositions of Vesuvius fumaroles: evidence for deep and shallow processes

Stefano Caliro, Giovanni Chiodini, Rosario Avino, Carmine Minopoli, Berardino Bocchino


Long time-series of chemical and isotopic compositions of Vesuvius fumaroles were acquired in the framework of the volcanic surveillance in the 1998-2010 period. These allow the identification of processes that occur at shallow levels in the hydrothermal system, and variations that are induced by deep changes in volcanic activity. Partial condensation processes of fumarolic water under near-discharge conditions can explain the annual 18O and deuterium variabilities that are observed at Vesuvius fumaroles. Significant variations in the chemical compositions of fumaroles occurred over the 1999-2002 period, which accompanied the seismic crisis of autumn 1999, when Vesuvius was affected by the most energetic earthquakes of its last quiescence period. A continuous increase in the relative concentrations of CO2 and He and a general decrease in the CH4 concentrations are interpreted as the consequence of an increment in the relative amount of magmatic fluids in the hydrothermal system. Gas equilibria support this hypothesis, showing a PCO2 peak that culminated in 2002, increasing from values of ~40 bar in 1998 to ~55-60 bar in 2001-2002. We propose that the seismic crisis of 1999 marked the arrival of the magmatic fluids into the hydrothermal system, which caused the observed geochemical variations that started in 1999 and culminated in 2002.


Vesuvius, Hydrothermal system, Geochemical monitoring, Stable isotopes.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-5034
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X