Geochemical monitoring of volcanic lakes. A generalized box model for active crater lakes

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Dmitri Rouwet
Franco Tassi


In the past, variations in the chemical contents (SO42−, Cl−, cations) of crater lake water have not systematically demonstrated any relationships with eruptive activity. Intensive parameters (i.e., concentrations, temperature, pH, salinity) should be converted into extensive parameters (i.e., fluxes, changes with time of mass and solutes), taking into account all the internal and external chemical–physical factors that affect the crater lake system. This study presents a generalized box model approach that can be useful for geochemical monitoring of active crater lakes, as highly dynamic natural systems. The mass budget of a lake is based on observations of physical variations over a certain period of time: lake volume (level, surface area), lake water temperature, meteorological precipitation, air humidity, wind velocity, input of spring water, and overflow of the lake. This first approach leads to quantification of the input and output fluxes that contribute to the actual crater lake volume. Estimating the input flux of the "volcanic" fluid (Qf- kg/s) –– an unmeasurable subsurface parameter –– and tracing its variations with time is the major focus during crater lake monitoring. Through expanding the mass budget into an isotope and chemical budget of the lake, the box model helps to qualitatively characterize the fluids involved. The (calculated) Cl− content and dD ratio of the rising "volcanic" fluid defines its origin. With reference to continuous monitoring of crater lakes, the present study provides tips that allow better calculation of Qf in the future. At present, this study offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date literature review on active crater lakes.

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Rouwet, D. and Tassi, F. (2011) “Geochemical monitoring of volcanic lakes. A generalized box model for active crater lakes”, Annals of Geophysics, 54(2). doi: 10.4401/ag-5035.

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