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Are Volcanic Gases Serial Killers?

Abstract : Volatiles released by volcanic eruptions are often cited as a possible cause of major environmental changes. On a decadal time scale, at least, the connection between volcanic eruptions and climate was firmly established after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines, whose climate aftermaths have been extensively documented and modeled (1). The remaining debate concerns the effect of magmatic volatiles on long-term climate trends (2). On page 1654 of this issue, Self et al. (3) fill in the picture of what gases have been released by volcanoes, and how much, during the so-called flood events. Such events are the most important volcanic eruptions that occurred on Earth. They are produced by mantle upwelling and its partial melting, resulting in massive basalt (a magma poor in silica) outpouring with volumes often exceeding 1 million km3.
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Bruno Scaillet. Are Volcanic Gases Serial Killers?. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2008, 319 (5870), pp.1628 - 1629. ⟨10.1126/science.1155525⟩. ⟨insu-00267876⟩

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