La actual emisión de CO2 por el volcán Cumbre Vieja en La Palma es de 800 toneladas diarias

Investigadores de Involcan y colaboradores realizando medidas de flujo difuso de dióxido de carbono (CO2) en el volcán Cumbre Vieja, La Palma.

Este estudio cofinanciado por el proyecto Volriskmac refleja una emisión ligeramente superior al valor promedio, pero dentro del rango normal del volcán,

Un equipo científico del Instituto Volcanológico de Canarias (Involcan), Instituto Tecnológico y de Energías Renovables (ITER) y de la Agencia Insular de la Energía de Tenerife (AIET) –entidades dependientes del Cabildo de Tenerife- materializaron en junio una campaña científica sobre geoquímica de emanaciones difusas en el volcán Cumbre Vieja (La Palma) para evaluar la actual tasa de emisión difusa de dióxido de carbono (CO2) y otras especies volátiles a la atmosfera por este edificio volcánico con el fin de contribuir a mejorar su programa de vigilancia volcánica. Los resultados preliminares obtenidos reflejan que la actual emisión difusa de dióxido de carbono (CO2) a la atmósfera por el volcán Cumbre Vieja alcanza las 800 toneladas diarias.

La planificación y ejecución de esta campaña científica ha sido posible gracias al proyecto “Fortalecimiento de las capacidades de I+D+i para la monitorización de la actividad volcánica en la Macaronesia Volriskmac (MAC/3.5b/124)”, que cofinancia el Programa de Cooperación Territorial INTERREG V A España-Portugal MAC 2014-2020, y el apoyo logístico del Ayuntamiento de Fuencaliente de La Palma.

En esta campaña geoquímica 2017 de Cumbre Vieja han participado dos estudiantes universitarios procedentes de las universidades de Queen (Ontario, Canada) y Bufallo (Nueva York, EE.UU. de América), a través del programa de prácticas que promueve la empresa británica GeoTenerife en colaboración con el Involcan.

Para la materialización de esta campaña se han realizado centenares medidas in situ de flujo difuso de dióxido de carbono (CO2) y sulfuro de hidrógeno (H2S), así como recogidas más 1.500 muestras de gases en la atmósfera del suelo para su posterior análisis químico e isotópico. Estas medidas y toma de muestras de gases se han realizado en aproximadamente 600 puntos de observación distribuidos a lo largo y ancho de los 220 kilómetros cuadrados de superficie del volcán Cumbre Vieja, siguiendo criterios volcano-estructurales y de accesibilidad.

Los resultados preliminares obtenidos en esta campaña geoquímica 2017 reflejan que la actual emisión difusa de dióxido de carbono (CO2) a la atmósfera por el volcán Cumbre Vieja alcanza las 800 toneladas diarias. Esta tasa de emisión es ligeramente superior al valor promedio observado hasta la fecha, aproximadamente 530 toneladas diarias,  por el equipo Involcan/ITER, que lleva 20 años monitorizando este importante parámetro geoquímico para la vigilancia volcánica de Cumbre Vieja, pero la actual tasa de emisión difusa de dióxido de carbono (CO2) se encuentra dentro del rango de valores que pueden considerarse normales para el volcán Cumbre Vieja; entre las 170 y las 1.200 toneladas diarias. Recientemente, y más concretamente durante las campañas geoquímicas 2011 y 2013, la tasa de emisión de difusa de dióxido de carbono (CO2) superaban el rango de valores normales con tasa de emisión superiores a las 1.500 toneladas diarias.

Estas emanaciones difusas de dióxido de carbono (CO2) son silenciosas y dispersas, no son perceptibles a las personas dado que son muy débiles, se diluyen rápidamente en el aire, y no son visibles al ojo humano; por lo tanto, no representan un peligro para las personas. Por el contrario, la monitorización de este parámetro geoquímico es de una gran utilidad para el fortalecimiento del sistema de alerta temprana ante posibles erupciones volcánicas y crisis sismo-volcánicas como se ha podido comprobar en otros sistemas volcánicos insulares como El Hierro, Tenerife y Fogo (Cabo Verde). Además el interés y la importancia de estos trabajos sobre emisión difusa de dióxido de carbono (CO2) a través de toda la superficie del sistema volcánico para la vigilancia volcánica, se debe a que la información generada por este tipo de campañas científicas no se puede obtener a través de redes instrumentales permanentes.

 

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