Fumarole - Encyclopedia




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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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