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Introduction
Volcanic Gases: Average Compositions and Minor or Trace Gases
Gas Compositions and Tectonic Setting
Gases: Man versus the Volcanoes
Volcanic Gases and the Origin of the Atmosphere
Global Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions
Some Important Eruptions
Deadly Gases
Dead Dinosaurs and Gas
Measuring Volcanic Gases
Quiz on Volcanic Gases
References on Volcanic Gases
Other Sources of Volcanic Gas Information

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Some Important Eruptions

Mt. Pinatubo eruption plume, July 1991, from Clark Air Base control tower.
Photo by J.N. Marso, U.S. Geological Survey.

The effects of several historic eruptions have been observed and the impacts of larger, prehistoric eruptions can be estimated.

Estimates of the fraction of sunlight transmitted through stratigraphic aerosols after major eruptions. Roza refers to a flood basalt eruption in the northwestern United States. Graph from Rampino and others (1988).

The following eruptions have been studied for the impact on global climate:

Toba, 75,000 years ago
Laki, Iceland, 1783
Tambora, Indonesia, 1815
Krakatau, 1886
El Chichon, Mexico, 1982
Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines, 1991

Impact of some major historic eruptions.

Eruption

VEI

Magma Volume (km3)

Column height (km)

H2SO4 aerosols (kg)

Northern Hemisphere temperature decrease

Laki, 1783

4

14-15

 

<1 x10 11

about 1.0

Tambora, 1815

7

>50

>40

2x10 11

0.4-0.7

Krakatau, 1883

6

>10

>40

5x10 10

0.3

Santa Maria, 1902

6

about 9

>30

<2x10 10

0.4

Katmai, 1912

6

15

>27

<2x10 10

0.2

St.Helens, 1980

5

0.35

22

3x10 8

0-0.1

Agung, 1963

4

0.3-0.6

18

1-2x10 10

0.3

El Chichon, 1982

4

0.3-0.35

26

1-2x10 10

0.4-0.6

Data from Rampino and Self, 1984.

Click here for the VEI (Volcano Explosivity Index) Table
Table from Francis (1993).