Rapid metal pollutant deposition from the volcanic plume of Kīlauea, Hawai’i
Abstract: Long-lived basaltic volcanic eruptions are a globally important source of environmentally reactive, volatile metal pollutant elements such as selenium, cadmium and lead. The 2018 eruption of Kīlauea, Hawai’i produced exceptionally high discharge of metal pollutants, and was an unprecedented opportunity to track them from vent to deposition. Here we show, through geochemical sampling of the plume that volatile metal pollutants were depleted in the plume up to 100 times faster than refractory species, such as magnesium and iron. We propose that this rapid wet deposition of complexes containing reactive and potentially toxic volatile metal pollutants may disproportionately impact localised areas close to the vent. We infer that the relationship between volatility and solubility is an important control on the atmospheric behaviour of elements. We suggest that assessment of hazards from volcanic emissions should account for heterogeneous plume depletion of metal pollutants.
RCUK | Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (CASE studentship)