The atmospheric impact of volcanic activities in the Mediterranean Sea investigated during a measurements cruise campaign

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The atmospheric impact of volcanic activities in the Mediterranean Sea investigated during a measurements cruise campaign

Jessica Castagna, Mariantonia Bencardino, Marcella Capua, Francesco D’Amore, Giulio Esposito, Valentino Mannarino, Sacha Moretti, Attilio Naccarato, Jheny Orbe, Antonella Tassone, Francesca Sprovieri, Nicola Pirrone

The Mediterranean Sea is a geologically young area with structures tectonically active, where the emissions from numerous volcanic activities are influencing the ecosystem. Moreover, the volcanic ashes and the gases emissions are troubling also for the human health, causing injuries and even deaths when the eruption are meaningful. The goal of the measurements cruise campaign “Minerva 2017”was to investigate in a unique expedition the natural influence of several active volcanoes located widespread over the Mediterranean basin. The route of the campaign, which was performed aboard the Research Vessel “Minerva Uno” during summer 2017 (18th of August - 7th of September), included some marine sampling stations near to volcanoes, as well as, the Mount Etna (Sicily, South Italy), Stromboli and Vulcano belonging to the volcanic archipelago of the Aeolian Islands (Italy), and near to the Solfataras of the Phlegraean Fields (near to Naples, Italy). The volcanic ashes were part of the Particulate Matter (PM), indeed during violent eruptions occurred very large concentrations of it.  To investigate the impact of volcanoes on the particulate, during the campaign, the PM was sampled as Total Particulate Matter (TPM) and into two different size fractions, PM2.5 and PM10, collecting them on quartz filters through the Echo PM - Instruments (Tecora). The mean values recorded for PM2.5, PM10, and TPM, were 11.4 ± 3.1 μg m-3, 17.5 ± 5.1 μg m-3, 21.6 ± 5.7 μg m-3, respectively. Moreover, the measurements of radioactivity were performed by the SM200 AB (OPSIS) which, by the beta mass technique, provided the information about the beta-emitter radon daughters. The radon, a natural gas released by the crustal surface and magmas, has been considered as a geochemical tracer indicating that the sources of the monitored air masses were coming from the volcano and/or from the land. This cruise campaign has been also useful to perform preliminary studies on the possibility to include radon measurements in our research program and evaluate its concentration of activity, of as a function of various marine, geological and environmental parameters in both our samples of air and marine water. Furthermore, to better establish the volcanic source, the behavior of chemical gases (O3, NOx, and SO2) and meteorological parameters had been jointly discussed, highlighting the SO2 which, among the others, represents a marker for volcanoes. In this way, the volcanic influence was identified for 4 sites: Phlegraean Fields, Stromboli, Panarea, and Vulcano.

Keywords: Volcanoes, Particulate Matter, Radioactivity, SO2

Proscience vol. 5

Pp 13-18