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The research

Masaya degassing, 2008

Image: ©R van Manen, 2008, used with permission

What is a persistently degassing volcano?

A volcano that continuously emits gases released from the magma, but generally erupts little magma and/or ash.

Persistent volcanic degassing is an unspectacular but major hazard to communities at these active volcanoes. Continued long-term exposure to the primary volcanic gases (e.g. CO2, SO2, HCL and HF) can result in a range of chronic ailments, reduced agricultural output, and acidification of rain and groundwater that contaminates water supplies, while indirect effects are thought to impede development and poverty reduction efforts.

This research seeks to understand and mitigate the physical impact of the persistently degassing volcanoes Masaya (Nicaragua) and Turrialba (Costa Rica) on the local environment and population. In addition, it seeks to grow the knowledge and communications base between the scientific and the local community. Specific goals of this project include (1) the use of results of geochemical and geophysical surveys to develop operational procedures for issuing alerts of enhanced gas flux and for (2) designing hazard-mitigation strategies. 

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Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Tel: +44(0) 1908 653739
Fax: +44(0) 1908 655151