Measuring and modelling of volcanic pollutants from White Island and Ruapehu volcanoes: assessment of related hazard in the North Island
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
White Island and Ruapehu are currently the most active volcanoes in New Zealand. During non-eruptive periods, intense quiescent degassing through fumaroles can occur. The current project studies the quiescent degassing plumes, including aerosol sampling on White Island and dispersion modelling of SO₂ and PM₁₀ from White Island and Ruapehu volcanoes. Aerosol sampling from fumaroles at the crater floor on White Island volcano was carried out on 9 February and 6 April 2005. The exposed filters were analysed for various anions and cations and the particle mass concentration and molar concentration determined. Major elemental constituents were sodium and chlorine (Na⁺: 413 µg m⁻³, Cl⁻: 1520 µg m⁻³), which show best correlation at both sampling sessions. Other ions detected, with little correlation, are Ca²⁺, PO₄³⁻ and to a certain extent Mg²⁺. Other constituents found, which cannot correlate explicitly to other ions, are K⁺, NH₄⁺, NO₃⁻, and SO₄²⁻. SEM study of one exposed filter was performed and mainly NaCl particles could be distinguished due to their well-defined cubic shape. The Air Pollution Model (TAPM) was used for dispersion modelling of SO₂ (models 1-4) and PM₁₀ (models 5 and 6) from White Island and Ruapehu volcanoes. Annual modelling was performed using different parameters of emission rate, exit temperature and exit velocity. The resulting plume dispersions show relatively low concentrations at ground level ≤10 m), particularly for the models of PM₁₀ dispersion. TAPM calculated the highest SO₂ ground level concentrations with model 4, where the NES values of 350 and 570 µg m⁻³ were exceeded several times. The data was then used for detailed hazard assessment of urban population in the North Island. The meteorological data from annual modelling was used for model evaluation and compared with observation data from different weather stations by statistical calculations. Overall, TAPM performed well with most good and very good results. To evaluate SO₂ dispersion modelling, airborne plume measurements were carried out on 22 November 2006 by plume traverses at 3, 10 and 20 km. Although there is some variation, the calculated correlation coefficients indicate good model results for two plume traverses at 3 and 20 km and one plume traverse at 10 km. The meteorological data was also used for model evaluation, and the results indicate good model performance. TAPM is therefore suggested for future studies when more observation data are available to verify the calculated model data.