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Volcanic Outgassing of Volatile Trace Metals

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Mason, E 
Hogg, O 


jats:p Volcanoes play a key role in the cycling of volatile metals (e.g., chalcophile elements such as Tl, Pb, and Cu and metalloids such as As, Te, and Se) on our planet. Volatile metals and metalloids are outgassed by active volcanoes, forming particulate volcanic plumes that deliver them in reactive form to the environment, where they may be nutrients (e.g., Cu and Zn) or pollutants (e.g., Hg, As, Pb). Volcanic outgassing rates of these elements compare to those associated with building ore deposits in the crust and to anthropogenic emission rates. There are distinct compositional differences between volcanic plumes in different tectonic settings, related to the enrichment of arc magmas in metals transported in slab fluids, metal speciation, and partitioning between silicate melt, vapor, and magmatic sulfide. Volcanic gases have compositions similar to those of quartz-hosted fluid inclusions found in mineralized granites, albeit with a lower density and salinity. Volatile volcanic metals are transported as soluble aerosols in volcanic plumes and may persist for hundreds of kilometers in the troposphere. Volcanic metal chloride aerosols in tropospheric volcanic plumes at high latitudes are recorded in ice cores. ▪ Volcanoes emit significant fluxes of volatile trace metals such as Cu, Tl, and Pb, as gases and particulates, to the surface environment. ▪ There is a distinct metal compositional fingerprint in volcanic and hydrothermal plumes at subduction and hotspot volcanoes and mid-ocean ridges, controlled by magma and fluid chemistry. ▪ Volcanic gases are the less saline equivalent of the fluids forming economic porphyry deposits of chalcophile metals (e.g., Cu) in the crust. ▪ The metals in tropospheric volcanic plumes may be rained out near the vent, but in dry environments they may persist for thousands of kilometers and be deposited in ice cores. </jats:p>



volatiles, metals, chalcophile elements, aerosol, ice core, magma, degassing

Journal Title

Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences

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Annual Reviews


Publisher's own licence
NERC (via University of Leeds) (RGEVEA100399)