Hazards of Volcanic Gases

Williams-Jones, Glyn and Rymer, Hazel (2015). Hazards of Volcanic Gases. In: Sigurdsson, Haraldur; Houghton, Bruce; McNutt, Stephen R.; Rymer, Hazel and Stix, John eds. The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (2nd Edition). Elsevier, pp. 985–992.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-385938-9.00057-2


Volcanic gases, although a minor hazard compared with other volcanic phenomena, can have significant short- and long-term impacts on people and the environment. Gases are generally found close to the volcanic source although they may sometimes be detected >1000 km away. The level of hazard to people will depend on the toxicity, concentration and duration of emissions as well as the physical parameters of the gas species (e.g., density, solubility). Their effects on infrastructure and environment are rarely totally destructive except in the case of long-term exposure. While attempts have been made to physically reduce gas hazards (e.g., artificial degassing), gas monitoring and education of at risk populations are the most effective means of reducing the hazard from volcanic gases.

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