Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 metres (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower now than it was in 1981.It is the largest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 metres (10,922 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m (69 ft) lower now than it was in 1981.  Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.   Footage from the eruptions was recorded by Lucasfilmand integrated into the landscape of the planet Mustafar the 2005 film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Mount Etna
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Mount Etna is known to release a large amount of Mercury into the environment. Flourine is a danger in the ash of volcanoes in Iceland and New Zealand.

Various scientists measure the amount of mercury released. One estimates that Mt Etna release 2 tonnes per day when erupting. Another estimates 20 tonnes per year.

Info on volcanoes and respiratory problems


Mercury in soil near Etna

Info on volcanoes and damage to buildings, roads, communications

Volcano gases are mixing from the Iceland volcano with four groundwater springs near the volcano.
Hekla cold springs (Iceland): groundwater mixing with magmatic gases.

Mercury in water in of Kagoshima Bay from the underwater Mt. Sakurajima Volcano, Japan. The water above the volcano in the inner bay contains a large amount of Mecury compared to the water at the bay entrance which is farther from the underwater volcano. Soil samples taken from around the bay show that the soil also contains a large amount of mercury from the volcano.











Etna erupting used in
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
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Research Articles

Hekla cold springs (Iceland): groundwater mixing with magmatic gases.
[Isotopes Environ Health Stud. 2010 Jun;46(2):180-9]
Holm NG, Gislason SR, Sturkell E, Torssander P.
Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

We have analysed the chemical and stable isotope compositions of four spring waters situated just northwest of the Hekla volcano, where cold water emerges from the base of the lava flows. The stable isotope ratios of water (H, O), dissolved inorganic carbon (C) and sulphate (S) were used to determine whether magmatic gases are mixing with the groundwater. The waters can be characterised as Na-HCO(3) type. The results show that deep-seated gases mix with groundwater, substantially affecting the concentration of solutes and the isotopic composition of dissolved carbon and sulphate.

Estimations of mercury fluxes emitted by Mount Etna Volcano
[Bulletin of Volcanology Volume 45, Number 3, 191-196]
H. Dedeurwaerder, G. Decadt and W. Baeyens

A sampling and measuring device which enables the assessment of atmospheric  particulate and gaseous mercury concentrations has been tested on Mount Etna  Volcano. Particulate matter is collected on a Whatman GF/C of 1.0 m pore- size, gaseous mercury species on a Au-column. The analysis is carried out in  two steps: (1) the mercury species collected on the filter or the Au-column  are transferred to a fixed analytical Au-column; (2) mercury liberated from  this column during the second step is detected with a Mercury Vapour  Monitor. Average concentrations of gaseous and particulate mercury in  ambient sampling sites on Mount Etna are 3.8 ng m-3 and 0.49 ng m-3  respectively. Average concentrations of gaseous and particulate mercury in  the plume of Bocca Nuova on Mount Etna are 15 ng m-3 and 24 ng m-3  respectively. An estimation of the total mercury discharge from Mount Etna  amounts to 2.5 10-2 tons day-1.

FULL TEXT
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Mercury in the environment of the Mt. Etna volcanic area 
[Environmental Technology, Volume 9, Issue 3 March 1988 , pages 239 - 244]
C. Barghigiania; R. Bargaglib; D. Gioffra
Institute of Biophysics, CNR, Pisa, Italy
Department of Environmental Biology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy

Mercury in the vegetation, soil and atmosphere of Mt.Etna's volcanic area  was studied. Mercury contents of pine and spruce needles, brooms, lichens  and soil were generally low. Atmospheric gaseous mercury measured at various  stations was also low. The role of Mt. Etna as a source of the metal in the  Mediterranean basin is also considered. 

Atmospheric mercury levels in the mount ETNA volcanic area after an eruptive  phase 
[Environmental Technology, Volume 11, Issue 1 January 1990 , pages 51 - 56]
R. Ferraraa; B. E. Masertia
Istituto di Biofisica, C. N. R., Pisa, Italy

The mercury levels in the air, aerosol, ash, lava and soil of Mount Etna,  determined at the end of the intense eruptive phase of 13 September 1989,  are reported.

The concentration values of the metal proved to be comparable to the ones  measured during a stationary phase of the volcano.

The contribution of the volcanic activity of Etna to the presence of mercury  in the air in the Mediterranean basin was estimated at 20 tonnes per year. 


Volcanoes as emission sources of atmospheric mercury in the Mediterranean  basin
[The Science of The Total Environment Volume 259, Issues 1-3, 2 October 2000, Pages 115-121]
R. Ferrara, , a, B. Mazzolaia, E. Lanzillottaa, E. Nucarob and N. Pirroneb

a CNR-Institute of Biophysics, Area della Ricerca, Via V. Alfieri 1, 56010  Ghezzano, Pisa, Italy

b CNR-Institute for Atmospheric Pollution, c/o: University of Calabria,  87036 Rende, Italy

Received 27 September 1999; accepted 25 March 2000. Available online 6  September 2000.

Emissions from volcanoes, fumaroles and solfataras as well as contributions  from widespread geological anomalies could represent an important source of  mercury released to the atmosphere in the Mediterranean basin. Volcanoes  located in this area (Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano) are the most active in  Europe; therefore, it is extremely important to know their mercury  contributions to the regional atmospheric budget. Two main methods are used  for the evaluation of volcanic mercury flux: a direct determination of the  flux (by measuring in the plume) and an indirect one derived from the  determination of the Hg/SO2 (or Hg/S) ratio value, as SO2 emissions are  constantly monitored by volcanologists. An attempt to estimate mercury flux  from the Vulcano volcano and to establish the Hg/S ratio value has been made  along three field campaigns carried out in October 1998, in February and May  1999 sampling several fumaroles. Traditional sampling methods were used to  collect both total Hg and S. The average Hg/S ratio value resulted to be  1.210-7. From the Hg/S value we derived the Hg/SO2 value, and by assuming  that all the volcanoes located in this area have the same Hg/SO2 ratio,  mercury emissions from Vulcano and Stromboli were estimated to be in the  range 1.35.5 kg/year and 7.376.6 kg/year respectively, while for Etna  mercury flux ranged from 61.8 to 536.5 kg/year. Data reported in literature  appear to be overestimated (Fitzgerald WF. Mercury emission from volcanos.  In: 4th International conference on mercury as a global pollutant, August  48 1996, Hamburg, Germany), volcanic mercury emission does not constitute  the main natural source of the metal.


Mercury distribution in seawater of Kagoshima Bay near the active Volcano, Mt. Sakurajima in Japan.
[Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010 Apr;84(4):477-81. Epub 2010 Feb 25]
Ando T, Yamamoto M, Tomiyasu T, Tsuji M, Akiba S.
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan.

Kagoshima bay has a highly active volcano in its center. In the filtered seawater and suspended matter collected from 200-m deep fumaroles at the bottom of the inner bay, the geometric mean concentrations of total mercury were 7.6 and 65.0 ng/L, respectively. The surface seawater collected at the inner bay had a higher concentration of mercury when compared to that in the bay entrance (average: 1.0 vs. 0.5 ng/L). In July, however, no such difference was observed. The fumaroles seem to contribute to relatively high concentrations of mercury in the inner bay except in summer, when thermal cline is formed.


Vertical variations in the concentration of mercury in soils around Sakurajima Volcano, Southern Kyushu, Japan. [Sci Total Environ. 2003 Mar 20;304(1-3):221-30]
Tomiyasu T, Okada M, Imura R, Sakamoto H.
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan.

In an effort to estimate the influence of mercury emitted from Sakurajima Volcano, Southern Kyushu, Japan, on the accumulation of mercury in soil, the vertical distribution of total mercury in soils was investigated together with organic matter content and grain size. The soils were sampled at a thickness of 1 cm from the surface to depth of 1 m at five locations on Sakurajima and two control locations, i.e. Takatoge approximately 11 km southeast and Suzuyama 22 km southwest of the volcano. The concentration in soils increased with the distance from the volcano and was 6.5+/-1.9 ngg(-1) (n=335), 29.0+/-15.6 ngg(-1) (n=100) and 229+/-105 ngg(-1) (n=103) for Sakurajima, Takatoge and Suzuyama, respectively. The concentration of mercury correlated with the amount of organic matter, but not with grain size distribution. The sedimentation rate for Sakurajima, Takatoge and Suzuyama was estimated from geological data to be approximately 1.3, 0.083 and 0.0048 cmyear(-1), respectively. The relatively fast sedimentation of Sakurajima soil was caused by the frequent precipitation of volcanic ash. The annual deposition of mercury estimated for Sakurajima, Takatoge and Suzuyama from the mercury concentration, sedimentation rate and soil density was 9 x 10(4), 3 x 10(4) and 2 x 10(4) ngm(-2)year(-1), respectively. Although the soil of Sakurajima had the lowest concentration among the three sites, it received the largest amount of mercury.

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Mount Etna Volcano
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