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Volcanic hydrothermal systems and hydrothermal alteration

Hydrothermal systems exert crucial influence on volcanic hazards. For example, hydrothermal alteration can reduce the strength of edifice- and dome-forming rocks, increasing the likelihood of volcano spreading and flank collapse, and high pore pressures that develop within hydrothermal systems can promote phreatic/phreatomagmatic explosions and further increase volcano instability. On the other hand, hydrothermal systems also offer the opportunity to exploit minerals of economic interest, and their heat can be harnessed to produce energy. A detailed understanding of hydrothermal systems and their resulting alteration, using multidisciplinary studies, is required to better anticipate the hazards posed, to exploit the economic opportunities they provide, and to execute engineering design. We invite diverse contributions dedicated to the characterisation, imaging, monitoring, and hazard/economic assessment of volcanic hydrothermal systems. Contributions can be based on fieldwork, laboratory work, modelling, or a combination of these approaches. Because understanding hydrothermal systems requires multidisciplinary, collaborative teamwork, we welcome contributions based on any subdiscipline (e.g., geology, geophysics, geochemistry, engineering) and using any technique or method (e.g., geological mapping, magnetic, gravity, and spectroscopic methods, laboratory experiments, gas monitoring, numerical modelling). It goes without saying that we hope to have a diverse session in terms of both speakers and audience.

Convener: Claire HarnettECSECS | Co-conveners: Michael Heap, Thomas R. Walter, Marlene Villeneuve, Marina Rosas-CarbajalECSECS
| Mon, 23 May, 13:20–14:50 (CEST)
Room -2.16

Mon, 23 May, 13:20–14:50

Chairpersons: Claire Harnett, Sam Poppe

Shreya Kanakiya et al.

Hydrothermal sealing is one of the mechanisms thought to aid pressure build-up within a volcano. Whakaari (White Island), New Zealand’s most active volcano, has a long history of phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions, and is ideally suited for an investigation into seal development from conduit-filling lithologies, where little prior experimental evidence exists. Here we provide an insight into Whakaari’s conduit by studying variably altered rocks ejected as ballistics. We find that hydrothermal alteration, particularly acid sulphate alteration, affects conduit-filling lithologies, lavas and tuffs, differently. In inherently low porosity lithologies like lavas, alteration increases fluid pathways by net dissolution of primary minerals and reduces rock stiffness. Counterintuitively, in tuffs that are inherently porous and permeable, alteration decreases fluid pathways by net precipitation of secondary minerals and increases rock stiffness. Such alteration-related pore filling of tuffs together with pore compaction under subsurface pressures can develop zones of low porosity and permeability within the volcano's conduit. When fluid injection rates are high, these zones could aid pressure build-up and predispose the volcano to eruptions. We discuss these results with observed seismicity at Whakaari and provide implications for ground deformation.

How to cite: Kanakiya, S., Adam, L., Rowe, M., Lindsay, J., and Esteban, L.: An insight into Whakaari’s conduit: How altered tuffs and subsurface pressures can control volcano dynamics, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-203, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-203, 2022.

Gabriel Castromán et al.

The characterization of volcanic hydrothermal systems (VHS) is fundamental for the early detection of precursors to phreatic or magmatic eruptions and for understanding hazards related to slope instabilities. Since these phenomena can be related to pore-fluid dynamics within the volcanic edifice, monitoring the spatial distribution of the different fluid phases (water, air, vapor) is of great importance. Ambient noise seismic interferometry has been employed for this task, correlating temporal changes in seismic velocities with variations in the water table depth in volcanic areas. However, this technique usually considers that above this depth, the pore space within the rock is totally occupied by a gaseous phase. This, in turn, implies that the body wave velocities and the density of the unsaturated zone are constant values, which is expected to impact on the determination of the water table depth. In this work, we assess the influence of partial saturation in the unsaturated zone of a VHS on ambient seismic noise, by employing a comprehensive rock physics model based on a saturation profile given by the Van Genuchten model. We focus on the sensitivity of Rayleigh waves, which are usually considered to be the most important contribution to the ambient seismic noise.


We consider an altered andesite layer overlying a half-space consisting of a relatively unaltered andesite representing the volcanic basement, which is representative of the VHS of La Soufrière de Guadeloupe volcano (Eastern Caribbean, France). We base our rock physics model on Gassmann’s equations to compute body wave velocities as a function of fluid saturation. We compute Rayleigh wave phase velocities for different positions of the water table and analyze their relative difference with respect to a reference scenario that corresponds to the mean value of the water table depth in this region. Our results suggest that the existence of a partial water saturation distribution could affect the Rayleigh wave velocities, and that this effect depends on the range of frequencies considered and the degree of hydrothermal alteration of the medium. For highly altered andesite, characterized by a higher porosity and a lower rock-mass stiffness, the relative variation in velocity obtained with a partial saturation distribution can be up to twice or down to half of the variation for the scenario corresponding to a constant saturation, depending on the frequency range considered. The depth sensitivity kernels of the Rayleigh wave phase velocities exhibit significant variations within regions with variable water content for frequencies between 4 and 6 Hz, which indicates that these seismic waves are able to distinguish the presence of a partial saturation distribution. These results indicate that relative velocity differences derived from ambient noise interferometry provide the possibility of inferring spatial distributions of water content and, therefore, density variations within VHS. This technique therefore emerges as a useful tool to inform on volcanic hazards related to hydrothermal activity, such as erratic explosions and partial flank collapses.

How to cite: Castromán, G., Rosas-Carbajal, M., Barbosa, N., Burtin, A., Heap, M., and Zyserman, F.: Rayleigh wave sensitivity to partial water saturation in highly altered volcanic hydrothermal systems, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-385, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-385, 2022.

Emma Katherine Kluge and Virginia Toy

Phreatic events are the most unpredictable forms of volcanic activity. These explosive eruptions result from hydrofracturing of the host rock when the pressure of subsurface fluids exceeds the failure threshold. Fluid pressures may be sufficiently increased by an adjacent magmatic heat source, by topographically driven hydrostatic head, or by fluid influx provided by large adjacent bodies of water, such as lakes and oceans. A combination of the latter two factors implies that the increase of mean sea level (MSL) in the Anthropocene may induce major perturbations of coastal volcanic hydrothermal systems. Here, we propose a case study to test the theory that increased MSL will affect fluid and heat flux of coastal volcanic hydrothermal systems. The case study will be conducted at three sites to improve the relevance of our findings. All are located in coastal regions with substantial tidal ranges, which will be used as a proxy to determine impacts of sea level variation on these systems. We selected the volcanic systems of Fagradalsfjall in Iceland, Ceboruco in Mexico, and Taranaki in New Zealand. For each site, we want to:

  • Measure temperature profiles and derive zonal pressures in boreholes to map and investigate patterns of heat and fluid flux with relation to the tidal cycle.
  • Interrogate magnetotelluric (MT) survey data for information about thermal structure, and distribution and chemistry of fluids and clay mineralogy
  • Collect rocks samples to:
  • Measure the complex conductivity of lithologies from the MT survey area to better interpret the correlation between MT data and physical rock properties
  • Determine the fracture criteria of the host rocks related to pore pressure
  • Create an integrated hydromechanical model for each volcanic system.

We hope to provide some insight on how the increasing MSL in the present day will impact hydrothermal systems leading to explosive eruptions.

How to cite: Kluge, E. K. and Toy, V.: Can climate crisis evoke explosive eruptions?, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-455, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-455, 2022.

Victoria Kürzinger et al.

The Kemp Caldera is a submarine arc caldera volcano and belongs to the southernmost part of the South Sandwich island arc, located in the Scotia Sea. In 2009, the caldera was discovered by the R/V James Clark Ross research cruise JR224 during a geophysical survey. At this time, first hydrothermal activities were observed within the caldera. Around a resurgent cone in the center of the caldera, extinct chim­neys and whi­te smo­ker vent fiel­ds are found. A special feature of the Kemp Caldera hydrothermal system is the occurrence of elemental sulfur (S0) at uncommonly high pH values. Sulfur samples of the white smoker vent fields “Great Wall” and “Toxic Castle” at the eastern flank of the resurgent cone were recovered with a remotely operated vehicle during the R/V Polarstern PS119 expedition in 2019. These two sites are no more than 80 m apart, but the occurrence of S0 is different: at Great Wall, the sulfur is crystalline, while at Toxic Castle the sulfur is liquid and forms amorphous, pearl-like structures. Both sites are characterized by fluids with pH25 °C values > 5 and show a temperature range from 63 to > 200 °C. Most interesting, however, are the δ34S values of elemental sulfur, ranging from +5.2 to +5.8 ‰.

Disproportionation of magmatic SO2 commonly explains the formation of S0 in arc/back-arc systems. Elemental sulfur precipitates from highly acidic hydrothermal fluids with pH-values ≤ 1 and show negative δ34S values due to isotope fractionation. However, this formation mechanism cannot explain the moderate pH of the fluids and the lack of significantly negative δ34S values for sulfur that would indicate SO2 disproportionation. We suggest that the formation of sulfur in the Kemp Caldera is a result of SO2 and H2S synproportionation. From a thermodynamic point of view, this formation mechanism is possible, but it has not yet been demonstrated that it actually takes place in hydrothermal systems. Our study focuses on the formation of elemental sulfur in the Kemp Caldera hydrothermal system and shows that the diversity of hydrothermal arc/back-arc systems may be greater than previously assumed.

How to cite: Kürzinger, V., Bach, W., Diehl, A., Pereira, S. I., Strauss, H., and Bohrmann, G.: Elemental sulfur formation in the Kemp Caldera hydrothermal system, Scotia Sea, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1054, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-1054, 2022.

Gabor Kereszturi et al.

Volcanoes are subject to intense fluid circulation, altering primary rock properties. The rock alteration can be due to “cold” water-driven weathering or “hot” hydrothermal fluids. Such alteration is facilitated by the efficient circulation of fluids through fractures and the connected pore-network. Fluid-driven alteration can manifest as mineral dissolution and precipitation, ultimately changing the properties of the host rock, such as strength and elasticity. Alteration-induced geomechanical changes are complex due to the large range of protolith porosity (e.g. 0.01-0.8) and permeability (e.g. 10-10 to ≤10-18 m2). For example, fresh pyroclastic rocks can initially have low strength, which can be ‘reinforced’ by mineral precipitation. In contrast, dense lava rocks can decrease their strength due to pore space enlargement and development of secondary clays, oxides, sulfides and sulfates.

This study analysed lab-tested samples from Ruapehu, Merapi, Whakaari, Chaos Crags, Ohakuri, Styrian Basin and La Soufrière de Guadeloupe volcanoes to provide new insights into the controls on geomechanical properties due to weathering and hydrothermal alteration. The volcaniclastic and lava rocks range from basaltic to rhyolitic in composition and encompass surface weathering and intermediate and advanced argillic alteration styles. The physical, geomechanical, Visible-Near Infrared (VNIR; 350-1000 nm), and Shortwave Infrared (SWIR; 1000-2500 nm) properties of the rocks were measured on core samples. Porosity, P-wave velocity, and uniaxial compressive strength ranged from 0.02-0.67, 88-5800 m/s, and 0.1-312 MPa, respectively. Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) was employed to successfully predict physical and mechanical properties using VNIR-SWIR spectroscopy data. The PLSR-based prediction models highlighted a handful of spectral bands around 400-600 nm, 1400 nm and 2200-2300 nm, indicating that hydrated secondary minerals were responsible for the observed geomechanical changes. The proposed method using VNIR-SWIR spectroscopy can lead to a new way of mapping physical and geomechanical properties at outcrop-scale using field spectrometers, and at volcano-scale using airborne and satellite remote sensing.

How to cite: Kereszturi, G., Heap, M., Schaefer, L., Darmawan, H., Deegan, F., Kennedy, B., Komorowski, J.-C., Rosas-Carbajal, M., Ryan, A., Troll, V., Villeneuve, M., and Walter, T.: Towards a global spectral-geomechanical database of volcanic rocks using VNIR-SWIR spectroscopy, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2087, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2087, 2022.

Ilya Bolshakov

In the course of field work on Bolshoy Semyachik in 2020, 14 samples of varying degrees of alteration were taken on two thermal fields (Verhnee thermal field on Burlyashchiy volcano and thermal field of the northern crater of Central Semyachik). Samples included rocks of all stages of alteration from unaltered andesite and basaltic andesite, to completely transformed opalites. Samples were taken from outcrops in various parts of the fields and beyond. Seven samples were taken from each thermal field, and a series of cylinders were prepared from each sample partly in laboratory and partly in field conditions, which were used to measure properties. Unaltered samples from the Verhnee thermal field of Burlyashchy volcano are represented by basaltic andesites, and from Central Semyachik, by andesites. In order to determine the correlation, the properties of 123 cylinders were studied in laboratory conditions, and each of the 14 outcrops was examined with a Schmidt hammer.

In this study Schmidt hammer RGK SK-60 was used (type N). For each sample, 20 measurements were made on each outcrop, which made it possible to calculate the standard values of the elastic rebound in accordance with the methods set in ISRM. At the same time all the prepared cylinders were tested in the laboratory using standard methods to define different physical and mechanical properties.

In the most obvious way, the rebound height turns out to be related to the porosity of the opalized rocks and the dependence turns out to be linear. And porosity determines the indicators of a variety of other physical and mechanical properties. Due to that fact there is also a close relationship between the rebound height and such properties as density, water absorption, velocities of elastic waves, compressive and tensile strength etc.

As a result of the studies carried out, it was found that the height of the elastic rebound, obtained with the Schmidt hammer, is closely related to the physical and mechanical properties of effusive hydrothermally altered rocks. Moreover, the connection turns out to be closer in the rocks of the greatest degree of change, due to the fact that in the process of opalization, due to acid leaching and partial deposition of secondary minerals, the original composition and structure of the rocks completely changes and becomes more similar.

Based on the obtained regularities, it can be concluded that in conditions of strong variability of the geological structure, which occurs in thermal fields characterized by the discharge of acidic thermal waters, the use of the Schmidt hammer as an indirect method for determining the indicators of physical and mechanical properties is very expedient. The revealed interrelationships of the elastic rebound height (RN) with physical and mechanical properties  make it possible to reliably assess the properties of rocks of varying degrees of alteration even in the field.

How to cite: Bolshakov, I.: Determination of properties of hydrothermally altered rocks using a Schmidt hammer (Bolshoy Semyachik, Kamchatka peninsula), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2275, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2275, 2022.

muriel gerbault et al.

Geothermal fields near volcanic complexes and active crustal-scale fault zones require an understanding of the mechanical interactions that control variations in pore fluid pressure at a crustal scale. Crustal faults can trigger and modify fluid flow depending mostly on their geometry and mechanical properties. In turn, fluid flow reduces normal stresses causing either shearing or dilation through the rock mass, concomitant with hydraulic fracturing or seismic fault reactivation. The Southern Andes Volcanic Zone (SAVZ) documents widespread geofluid migration through the crust within a bulk regional transpressive regime. We address here the key role of dilatational domains potentially hosting geothermal fluids, in close relation to shear zones, by using elasto-plastic and poro-elasto-plastic models.

First we define models considering Drucker-Prager elasto-plasticity, that account for either: 1) an inflating magmatic cavity or 2) a dextral slipping fault zone ca. 4 km apart, to assess the rheological conditions leading to brittle failure of the bedrock around the fault zone and the cavity, respectively. This setup is applied to the San-Pedro Tatara volcanic complex in the SAVZ. Parametric tests of Young’s moduli and frictional strength provide not only the conditions for macro-scale shear failure, but also shows the development of diffuse domains of dilatational strain in the intervening bedrock. Both void opening and/or volumetric cracking may lead to an increase in porosity and/or permeability, allowing over-pressurized geofluids to migrate within these domains. Our results (Ruz Ginouves et al., JVGR, 2021) show that generally, shallow magma chambers (~< 4 km) and fault zones must be close enough to trigger bedrock failure of the other counterpart (< 4 km), unless the magma chamber is deeper than 10 km, the magma overpressure is high or the regional strength is very low. We argue that alternating strike-slip faulting and magmatic overpressure promote a variety of stress fields that may explain observations of transient fluid pathways on seemingly independent timescales along the Andean margin.

To gain further insights into these processes, we develop a numerical scheme to quantify stress and fluid flow with a coupled poro-mechanical approach implemented using Python’s Opensource FEM library FeniCS. Benchmarks are first presented to validate our poro-elasto-plastic approach. Then a synthetic setup shows how fluids get channelized around a fault zone several days after an imposed fault slip motion. Preliminary results are discussed in comparison to a high enthalpy geothermal system associated with another volcanic complex in the SAVZ.

How to cite: gerbault, M., Saez, F., Ruz Ginouves, J., Cembrano, J., Iturrieta, P., Hurtado, D., Hassani, R., and Browning, J.: Dilatation and shearing in tectono-volcanic systems from poro-elasto-plastic models set in the Southern Andes Volcanic Zone context, inferences on geofluid flow, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2289, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2289, 2022.

Chagnon Glynn et al.


The hydrothermal system of the andesitic volcano La Soufrière in the Basse-Terre island of Guadeloupe, is an ever evolving and highly dynamic system that is characterized by a variety of surface manifestations such as thermal springs, fumaroles and the Tarissan acid boiling pond (TAS) (Villemant et al.,2014). These produce halogen-rich surface emissions that makes it difficult to interpret subtle perturbations in the magmatic reservoirs using traditional geochemical and geophysical monitoring techniques (Moretti et al., 2020). A challenging situation for monitoring a volcano that has in recent history experienced six phreatic eruptions, the latest being the 1976-1977 eruptive crisis followed by a renewal of unrest in 1992 with the latest accelerated unrest episode occurring in 2018 (Komorowski et al., 2005, Moretti et al.,2020). Concurrently, TAS exhibited reduced Cl/Br ratios from ~1000 to ~300 from 18 January 2018 to 23 November 2020, suggesting marine water as a possible salinity source into the hydrothermal system. Hence, there is a critical need to fully conceptualize and appreciate the sources, full evolution and dynamic response of the hydrothermal system at La Soufrière. The research begins with investigating the potential input of ocean water into the hydrothermal system to aid in developing an exploitable geochemical database for prospective geochemical modelling analysis, leading to possible inferences on the influence of salinity on; 1) the gas-water-rock interactions in the shallow hydrothermal reservoir 2) scrubbing effects and 3) forcing conditions responsible for the measured surface gas emissions. We investigate this by numerically modelling flow transport of NaCl brines (wt.% 5, 25 and 35) using TOUGH2 software. Brines were modelled to represent volcanic- or marine- sourced brines at high temperature and pressure conditions (300°C - 350°C and 195Pa respectively). Steady state solutions of varying mass injections of orders of 1.0E-4 kg/s/m2 and 1.0E-5 kg/s/m2 resulted with the brines concentrating at heights of ~1100m a.s.l. at the summit and exiting the system, depending on the adopted permeability values. Thus implying that strong permeability contrasts due to sealing effects promoted by argillic alterations influences the trapping of brines in the upper edifice. 

How to cite: Glynn, C., Moretti, R., and Rosas-Carbajal, M.: Brine Vs Marine Water as Sources of Halogen-rich Hydrothermal Fluids at La Soufrière de Guadeloupe, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2557, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2557, 2022.

Daniel Müller et al.

Vulcano is an active volcanic island located in the south-central sector of the Aeolian Archipelago (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy). The most recent active edifice is the La Fossa crater located in the center of the island, neighboring the main settlement Vulcano Porto. Its eruptive history is characterized by frequent transitions from phreatomagmatic to minor magmatic activity. The last eruption occurred in 1888–90 with strong phreatic (“Vulcanian”) eruption pulses. During the last decades, it has undergone several periods of volcanic unrest, accompanied by increasing degassing, rising fumarole temperatures, changing gas compositions, or increasing groundwater- and soil temperatures. Major unrest periods were reported in the 1920s, 1940s, and 1990s. Here we report on the ongoing crisis that initiated in September 2021. Rapidly increasing degassing levels and fumarole temperatures, accompanied by seismic activity and surface deformation were detected and monitored by the monitoring network (INGV bulletin reports). The fast evolution and dynamics of the crisis caused authorities to raise the alert level to orange and led to temporary evacuations in Vulcano Porto. We monitored this crisis from the beginning by monthly drone-based optical and thermal infrared overflights. The drone data was processed by using the Structure-from-Motion approach, allowing to generate spatially dense optical and thermal infrared maps. This way we captured the response of the hydrothermal system at the surface in great detail, were able to monitor the spatio-temporal evolution of the high-temperature fumarole field but also associated mean and low-temperature anomalies of diffuse degassing areas. We compared observations to a previous study considering in detail the structure and thermal expression of the La Fossa fumarole field, and the hydrothermal alteration associated (Müller et al., 2021, JVGR). Major aspects of changes observed at the surface during the crisis that could be constrained are (i) an increase of fumarole temperatures, (ii) the development of new fumarole vents, (iii) the evolution of a thermal aureole surrounding the major fumarole field at a distance, and (iv) the formation of a net-shaped thermal anomaly network. Changes are presented on a spatial and temporal scale and highlight the dynamics of degassing systems at the surface with implications for volcanic monitoring and hydrothermal alteration research and suggest that unrest is detectable at fumaroles but also at diffuse degassing zones elsewhere affecting a larger region of the La Fossa cone. 

How to cite: Müller, D., Pisciotta, A., and Walter, T. R.: Structural and geothermal changes mapped by drone-based photogrammetry and thermal infrared during the 2021 volcanic crisis of Vulcano Island, Sicily , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4966, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-4966, 2022.

Alexiane Favier et al.

In Lesser Antilles arc several volcanic islands present high potential for the high enthalpy geothermal production. Saint-Kitts Island is one of them, where numerous surface evidences of active hydrothermal system such as fumaroles, boiling water are present. All of these activities are structurally controlled. Field analysis highlights four main families of faults or fractures with NE-SW, NW-SE, N-S, and E-W trends respectively.

The interaction of fluids (rain and sea waters) with host rock leads to meteoric and hydrothermal alterations of rocks according to depth of infiltration, usually consisting in their argillization. The characterization of these alterations allows a better understanding of the hydrothermal system of St Kitts and to estimate the geothermal potential of the resource in this island.

In the Frigate Bay area, in the southern part of the island, the rocks present an intensive structural and petrological transformations related to hydrothermal fluid flows. From study of mineralogical transformations with microscopic, SEM, EPMA, Raman and XRD analysis, we identify clays minerals (kaolinite, smectite), sulphates (jarosite, alunite, gypsum), quartz, opal, calcite and chlorite. These paragenesis are consistent with fluids above 100°C and allow to constrain the spatio-temporal activity of the hydrothermal system and the geothermal reservoir. Petrophysical properties, on a selected set of representative petro-structural facies, show large ranges of variation, porosity from 2 to 40%, permeability from 10-3 to 3 D; grain density between 2.84 and 2.31 g.cm-3, thermal conductivity is relatively low, 0.5 to 2 W.m-1.K-1. Samples alteration results in increasing of porosity and decrease in density. In turn the porosity increasing causes a decrease in the thermal conductivity.

These investigations allows us to interpret this site as part of a hydrothermal paleosystem and consider as an analogue of the deep northern part of the island under a current hydrothermal activity.

How to cite: Favier, A., Chibati, N., Diraison, M., Corsini, M., Géraud, Y., Lardeaux, J.-M., and Navelot, V.: Structural, mineralogical and petrophysical characterization of the hydrothermal system in Saint-Kitts Island (Lesser Antilles), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11655, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-11655, 2022.

Lisa Ricci et al.

The Massif Central, located in central-southern France, is characterized by the presence of deep CO2-rich hydrothermal systems generally hosted by the rocks of the crystalline basement. The surficial manifestation consists in bubbling pools, mofettes and a huge number of CO2 rich springs, both thermal and fresh. Since the ’70, the area has been extensively investigated in order to evaluate its geothermal potential, becoming a “natural laboratory” for the development of increasingly responsive geothermometers. Here, using both new data and data from previous studies, we estimate the T/pCO2 conditions of the reservoir and the heat content (QH, MW) and the CO2 mass flow rate (QCO2, Kg s-1). of each spring. Results show that circulating waters are characterized by partial equilibrium with respect to silicates oversaturation with respect to calcite and pCO2 up to 2 bar. Temperatures of the hydrothermal reservoirs, estimated with Na/K, Na/Li, Mg-Na-K and silica geothermometers range from 120 °C to 200 °C, in agreement with previous studies. The CO2/heat content ranges from 0.001 and 0.006 kg MJ-1, of the same order of magnitude than Taupo and Salton Trough geothermal systems (0.003 kg MJ-1), slightly higher than Iceland geothermal systems (e.g. Reykjanes, <0.001 kg MJ-1) but much lower than geothermal systems of Southern Europe, e.g. Kizildere (Turkey), Nisyros (Greece), Latera and Torre Alfina (Italy), characterized by CO2/heat ratio one order of magnitude higher.

How to cite: Ricci, L., Frondini, F., Morgavi, D., Boudoire, G., Laumonier, M., Cardellini, C., Ionescu, A., Ariano, A., and Chiodini, G.: CO2 and heat content of the French Massif Central thermal and mineral waters., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12739, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-12739, 2022.

Further discussion