Carbon dioxide degassing from Tuscany and Northern Latium (Italy)

Abstract

The CO2 degassing process from a large area on the Tyrrhenian side of central Italy, probably related to the input into the upper crust of mantle fluids, was investigated in detail through the geochemical study of gas emissions and groundwater. Mass-balance calculations and carbon isotopes show that over 50% of the inorganic carbon in regional groundwater is derived from a deep source highlighting gas−liquid separation processes at depth. The deep carbonate−evaporite regional aquifer acts as the main CO2 reservoir and when total pressure of the reservoir fluid exceeds hydrostatic pressure, a free gas phase separates from the parent liquid and escapes toward the surface generating gas emissions which characterise the study area. The distribution of the CO2 flux anomalies and the location of high PCO2 springs and gas emissions suggest that the storage and the expulsion of the CO2 toward the atmosphere are controlled by the geological and structural setting of the shallow crust. The average CO2 flux and the total amount of CO2 discharged by the study area were computed using surface heat flow, enthalpy and CO2 molality of the liquid phase circulating in the deep carbonate−evaporite aquifer. The results show that the CO2 flux varies from 1×104 mol y−1 km−2 to 5×107 mol y−1 km−2, with an average value of 4.8×106 mol y−1 km−2, about five times higher than the value of 1×106 mol y−1 derived by Kerrick et al. [Kerrick, D.M., McKibben, M.A., Seward, T.M., Caldeira, K., 1995. Convective hydrothermal CO2 emission from high heat flow regions. Chem. Geol. 121, 285–293] as baseline for terrestrial CO2 emissions. The total CO2 discharged from the study area is 0.9×1011 mol y−1, confirming that Earth degassing from Tyrrhenian central Italy is a globally relevant carbon sourc

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Last time updated on 15/06/2016

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