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Exceptional eruptive CO2 emissions from intra-plate alkaline magmatism in the Canary volcanic archipelago

  • Authors: Burton M.; Aiuppa A.; Allard P.; Asensio-Ramos M.; Cofrades A.P.; La Spina A.; Nicholson E.J.; Zanon V.; Barrancos J.; Bitetto M.; Hartley M.; Romero J.E.; Waters E.; Stewart A.; Hernandez P.A.; Lages J.P.; Padron E.; Wood K.; Esse B.; Hayer C.; Cyrzan K.; Rose-Koga E.F.; Schiavi F.; D'Auria L.; Perez N.M.
  • Publication year: 2023
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Alkaline mafic magmas forming intra-plate oceanic islands are believed to be strongly enriched in CO2 due to low-degree partial melting of enriched mantle sources. However, until now, such CO2 enhancement has not been verified by measuring CO2 degassing during a subaerial eruption. Here, we provide evidence of highly CO2-rich gas emissions during the 86-day 2021 Tajogaite eruption of Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma Island, in the Canary archipelago. Our results reveal sustained high plume CO2/SO2 ratios, which, when combined with SO2 fluxes, melt inclusion volatile contents and magma production rates at explosive and effusive vents, imply a magmatic CO2 content of 4.5 ± 1.5 wt%. The amount of CO2 released during the 2021 eruptive activity was 28 ± 14 Mt CO2. Extrapolating to the volume of alkaline mafic magmas forming La Palma alone (estimated as 4000 km3 erupted over 11 Ma), we infer a maximum CO2 emission into the ocean and atmosphere of 1016 moles of CO2, equivalent to 20% of the eruptive CO2 emissions from a large igneous province eruption, suggesting that the formation of the Canary volcanic archipelago produced a CO2 emission of similar magnitude as a large igneous province.