Istituto di Biofisica     
Ferrara R., Mazzolai B., Lanzillotta E., Nucaro E., Pirrone N. Volcanoes as emission sources of atmospheric mercury in the Mediterranean basin. In: Science of the Total Environment, vol. 259 (1-3) pp. 115 - 121. Elsevier, 2000.
Emissions from volcanoes, fumaroles and solfataras as well as contributions from widespread geological anomalies could represent an important source of mercury released to the atmosphere in the Mediterranean basin. Volcanoes located in this area (Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano) are the most active in Europe; therefore, it is extremely important to know their mercury contributions to the regional atmospheric budget. Two main methods are used for the evaluation of volcanic mercury flux: a direct determination of the flux (by measuring in the plume) and an indirect one derived from the determination of the Hg/SO2 (or Hg/S) ratio value, as SO2 emissions are constantly monitored by volcanologists. An attempt to estimate mercury flux from the Vulcano volcano and to establish the Hg/S ratio value has been made along three field campaigns carried out in October 1998, in February and May 1999 sampling several fumaroles. Traditional sampling methods were used to collect both total Hg and S. The average Hg/S ratio value resulted to be 1.210−7. From the Hg/S value we derived the Hg/SO2 value, and by assuming that all the volcanoes located in this area have the same Hg/SO2 ratio, mercury emissions from Vulcano and Stromboli were estimated to be in the range 1.3-5.5 kg/year and 7.3-76.6 kg/year respectively, while for Etna mercury flux ranged from 61.8 to 536.5 kg/year. Data reported in literature appear to be overestimated (Fitzgerald WF. Mercury emission from volcanos. In: 4th International conference on mercury as a global pollutant, August 4-8 1996, Hamburg, Germany), volcanic mercury emission does not constitute the main natural source of the metal.
DOI: 10.1016/S0048-9697(00)00558-1
Subject Mercury

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