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Influence of rainfalls on heat and steam fluxes of fumarolic zones: Six months records along the Ty fault (Soufrière of Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles)

Abstract : Fumarolic zones are permeable areas where both steam and heat are expelled to the atmosphere. Surface fluxes and flows, which are representative of the intensity of the hydrothermal circulation in depth, can be monitored by thermometers, thermal infrared cameras, spectrometers, or condensers. However, the superficial activity of fumarolic zones can be modified by the meteorological conditions, in particular the rainfalls, which might result in erroneous estimations. From this perspective, we developed a set of physical equations to quantify the effects of rainfalls on the thermal behavior of fumarolic zones. Results were faced to continuous measurements achieved at the Ty fault fumarolic zone (La Soufrière volcano, Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles) during six months in 2010, using six vertical series of thermometers measuring the heat transfer in the ground and one condenser measuring the rising steam flux. Results demonstrate that in the absence of rainfalls, heat and steam flux reach an equilibrium that is representa tive of the geothermal flux in depth. Conversely, after the rainfalls, the cooling of the ground provokes a deepening of the condensation level. The related soil temperature drop can be estimated by computing the heat required to warm the infiltrated water up to boiling temperature while the recovery rate is directly linked to the geothermal flux. Our observations allow defining in which conditions flux are at steady state, but also to build a first order numer ical model allowing estimating both the physical parameters of the ground (thermal conductivity, precipitation efficiency coefficient and surface flux constant) and the long term thermal behavior of the hydrothermal system. In particular, our results predict that the hydrothermal activity must vanish on the zones where the geothermal flux drops under a certain threshold (60 W/m 2 at La Soufrière). The existence of this limit may have strong implications for the precipitation rate of minerals and the possible reactivation of the fumarolic zones during volcanic crises.
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Submitted on : Saturday, November 5, 2016 - 2:35:56 PM
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Damien Gaudin, Anthony Finizola, Eric Delcher, François Di Beauducel, Pascal Allemand, et al.. Influence of rainfalls on heat and steam fluxes of fumarolic zones: Six months records along the Ty fault (Soufrière of Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Elsevier, 2015, 302, pp.273-285. ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.06.015⟩. ⟨hal-01391252⟩



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