- © The Mineralogical Society Of America
The major magmatic volatile components—H2O, CO2, S, Cl, and F— play an important role in the formation, evolution, and eruption of magma. Knowledge of magmatic concentrations and fluxes of these volatiles is thus important for understanding explosive eruptive behavior of volcanoes, recycling of volatiles in subduction zones, formation of magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits, fluxes of volcanic gases to Earth’s atmosphere, and potential climatic impacts of large volcanic eruptions. Over the past 30 years, new analytical techniques for measuring volatiles in melt inclusions and glasses from volcanic rocks and new developments in remote sensing technology used for quantifying volcanic emissions have led to major advances in our understanding of volatiles in magmatic systems and their fluxes from Earth’s mantle to the crust and hydrosphere.
Sulfur plays a particularly important role in many of the processes noted above because it affects partitioning of metals into sulfide phases or vapor in magmas during crustal storage, and when released to the atmosphere, it forms sulfuric acid aerosol droplets that catalyze ozone destruction, influences other aspects of atmospheric chemistry, and blocks incoming solar radiation. In addition, S may play a role in causing oxidation of the mantle wedge above subduction zones (Kelley and Cottrell 2009). In silicate melts, the solubility behavior, activity-composition relations, and vapor-melt partitioning of S are complex due to multiple valence states and species (S2−, S6+ in melt; H2S, S2, SO2, SO3 in vapor) and the occurrence of non-volatile S-rich phases (immiscible Fe-S-O liquid, pyrrhotite, monosulfide and intermediate solid solutions, anhydrite).
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is the easiest of the main magmatic volatiles to measure in volcanic plumes using ground- and satellite-based remote sensing techniques because of its relatively high concentration in volcanic plumes relative to background values. More …