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Fumaroles escape through Fourpeaked Glacier covering Fourpeaked Volcano in Alaska on September 24, 2006

A fumarole (Latin fumus, smoke) is an opening in Earth's (or any other astronomical body's) crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen sulfide. The name solfatara, from the Italian solfo, sulfur (via the Sicilian dialect), is given to fumaroles that emit sulfurous gases.

Fumaroles may occur along tiny cracks or long fissures, in chaotic clusters or fields, and on the surfaces of lava flows and thick deposits of pyroclastic flows. A fumarole field is an area of thermal springs and gas vents where magma or hot igneous rocks at shallow depth are releasing gases or interacting with groundwater. From the perspective of groundwater, fumaroles could be described as a hot spring that boils off all its water before the water reaches the surface.

A fumarole at Halema`uma`u crater

A good example of fumarole activity on Earth is the famous Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which was formed during the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in Alaska. Initially, there were thousands of fumaroles in the cooling ash from the eruption, but over time most of them have become extinct. Fumaroles may persist for decades or centuries if they are above a persistent heat source, or disappear within weeks to months if they occur atop a fresh volcanic deposit that quickly cools. There are also an estimated four thousand fumaroles within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.

Another example is an array of fumaroles in the Valley of Desolation in Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica.

Contents

A Highly Probable Fumarole on Mars

The formation called Home Plate at Gusev Crater, Mars that was examined by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) named Spirit is highly suspected to be the eroded remains of an ancient and extinct fumarole.[1]

Other Images

See also

References

  1. ^ The Hydrothermal System at Home Plate in Gusev Crater, Mars, R.V.Morris, S.W.Squyres, -et al., Lunar & Planetary Science XXXIX(2008)

Other Notes

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FUMAROLE, a vent from which volcanic vapours issue, named indirectly from the Lat. fumariolum, a smoke-hole.

The vapours from fumaroles were studied first by R. W. Bunsen, on his visit to Iceland, and afterwards by H. Sainte-Claire Deville and other chemists and geologists in France, who examined the vapours from Santorin, Etna, &c. The hottest vapours issue from dry fumaroles, at temperatures of at least Soo C., and consist chiefly of anhydrous chlorides, notably sodium chloride. The acid fumaroles yield vapours of lower temperature (300° to 400°) containing much water vapour, with hydrogen chloride and sulphur dioxide. The alkaline fumaroles are still cooler, though above ioo°, and evolve ammonium chloride with other vapours. Cold fumaroles, below loo°, discharge principally aqueous vapour, with carbon dioxide, and perhaps hydrogen sulphide. The fumaroles of Mont Pele in Martinique during the eruption of 1902 were examined by A. Lacroix, and the vapours analysed by H. Moissan, who found that they consisted chiefly of water vapour, with hydrogen chloride, sulphur, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and argon. These vapours issued at a temperature of about 400°. Armand Gautier has pointed out that these gases are practically of the same composition as those which he obtained on heating granite and certain other rocks. (See Volcano).


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Simple English

File:Sulpherous
Sulfureous fumaroles, Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand

[[File:|thumb|Fumarole in Greece]] A fumarole (Latin fumus, smoke) is an opening in the crust of the Earth, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, where steam and gases come out, for instance carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen sulfide.

The name solfatara (from the Italian solfo, sulfur), is given to fumaroles with sulfurous gases.

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