CO2 allows volcanoes to form persistent lava lakes at the surface

In summary, the study found that CO2 plays an important role in allowing volcanoes to form, even in Antarctica.
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Antarctica's only active volcano shows how CO2 allows volcanoes to form persistent lava lakes at the surface​

https://phys.org/news/2022-05-antarctica-volcano-co2-volcanoes-persistent.html

A joint University of Utah and University of Canterbury New Zealand study shows how CO2 deep underground helps magma avoid being trapped deep in the Earth and allows it to reach and pool at the surface.

"Mount Erebus is an example of a CO2-dominated rift volcano, a complement to the more widely known arc volcanoes of the Pacific Rim and elsewhere, dominated by H2O," adds New Zealand co-investigator Graham Hill, the study's lead author."Understanding both H2O and CO2 volcanoes is important for calculating the budget of such volatile gases deep in the Earth that involves injection of material into Earth's mantle and its return to the surface to start all over again", Wannamaker says.

Erebus exemplifies a family of volcanoes with an alkalic chemical composition, with lavas relatively rich in sodium, potassium and other elements including rare Earth's elements, while being relatively poor in silica.

Alkalic volcanoes are very different from volcanoes such as in the Cascade Range extending from northern California through British Columbia to Alaska. The Cascades are found in a place where Earth's tectonic plates are pushing toward each other, with the crust of the ocean forced below the crust of the continent. As that ocean crust sinks into the Earth and partially melts, the water in the rocks becomes part of the melt and is the dominant "volatile," or molecule that easily exsolves, or bubbles out of a solution like fizz out of a carbonated drink.

That evolving magma rises into and through the crust, but typically does not make it to the surface because, as the pressure from the overlying crust diminishes with ascent, the water flashes out, sometimes explosively as in the case of Mount St Helens in 1980 or Mount Lassen in 1912. The remaining magma stalls and freezes in place, typically at a depth of around three miles (five kilometers).
 
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Alkalic volcanoes are very different from volcanoes such as in the Cascade Range extending from northern California through British Columbia to Alaska.
Nit: AFAIK, the Cascade Range extends from the northern California volcanoes (Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta), through Oregon and Washington up to the lower portion of British Columbia, with the northernmost volcano in the range being Mt. Garibaldi.
Cascade Range - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascade_Range
Cascade Volcanoes - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascade_Volcanoes

Fred Beckey, author of "Cascade Alpine Guide," includes the Cascade peaks from the Columbia River to the Fraser River in lower BC in his three-volume set of route descriptions. He was an amateur geologist, but he was a consummate alpinist.
 
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As an avid follower of geology and volcanology, this study is fascinating to me. It's amazing to see how CO2 plays such a crucial role in the formation of persistent lava lakes at the surface. Mount Erebus is a great example of how CO2-dominated rift volcanoes differ from the more well-known H2O-dominated arc volcanoes.

The mention of alkalic volcanoes also caught my attention. It's interesting to learn about the chemical composition of these volcanoes and how they differ from those found in the Cascade Range. The explanation of how the water in the rocks becomes part of the magma and is the dominant volatile was also very informative.

It's clear that this research has important implications for understanding the volatile gases deep within the Earth and their role in the formation of volcanoes. It's exciting to see how this study adds to our knowledge of these processes and how they contribute to the constantly evolving landscape of our planet. Thank you for sharing this article!
 

Related to CO2 allows volcanoes to form persistent lava lakes at the surface

1. How does CO2 contribute to the formation of persistent lava lakes in volcanoes?

CO2 plays a critical role in the formation of persistent lava lakes by influencing the magma's ability to degas. When CO2 is abundant in the magma, it can decrease the viscosity of the magma, allowing it to flow more freely and maintain a liquid state at the surface. Additionally, CO2 helps in maintaining the pressure balance within the magma chamber, which prevents the rapid solidification of lava and supports the formation of a stable, persistent lava lake.

2. Are there other gases besides CO2 that influence lava lake formation?

Yes, other volcanic gases such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), water vapor (H2O), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) also play significant roles in the dynamics of lava lakes. These gases can affect the viscosity, temperature, and pressure of the magma. However, CO2 is particularly influential due to its ability to remain dissolved under high pressures, facilitating the continuous supply of magma to the surface.

3. What are the conditions necessary for a volcano to form a persistent lava lake?

For a volcano to form a persistent lava lake, several conditions must be met. These include a continuous and sufficient supply of magma that is rich in volatile gases like CO2, a stable vent structure that allows for the free ascent of magma, and a balance in thermal and chemical dynamics within the magma chamber that prevents rapid cooling and solidification at the surface. Additionally, the external environmental conditions such as atmospheric pressure and temperature can also influence the stability of a lava lake.

4. How rare are persistent lava lakes and where can they be found?

Persistent lava lakes are relatively rare due to the specific geological and geochemical conditions required for their formation and maintenance. There are only a handful of known persistent lava lakes in the world, located in volcanoes such as Mount Erebus in Antarctica, Kīlauea in Hawaii, Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Erta Ale in Ethiopia. These locations have the right combination of magma supply, volcanic gas content, and vent structure.

5. What research is being conducted on CO2's role in lava lake formation?

Research on CO2's role in lava lake formation focuses on understanding the mechanisms of gas solubility and release in magma, the physical properties of magma such as viscosity and density, and the interaction between magma and the surrounding rock structures. Scientists use various methods including satellite monitoring, geochemical analysis, and computer simulations to study these processes. This research not only helps in understanding volcanic activity but also aids in predicting volcanic eruptions and mitigating their hazards.

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