Gaseous Constituents in the Plume from Eruptions of Mount St. Helens

Science  20 Feb 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4484, pp. 821-823
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4484.821


Measurements in the stratosphere of gaseous constituents in the plume of Mount St. Helens were obtained during five flights of the NASA U-2 aircraft between 19 May and 17 June 1980. Mixing ratios from gas chromatographic measurements on samples acquired about 24 hours after the initial eruption show considerable enhancement over nonvolcanic concentrations for sulfur dioxide (more than 1000 times), methyl chloride (about 10 times), and carbon disulfide (more than 3 times). The mixing ratio of carbonyl sulfide was comparable to nonvolcanic mixing ratios although 3 days later it was enhanced two to three times. Ion chromatography measurements on water-soluble constituents are also reported. Very large concentrations of chloride, nitrate, and sulfate ions were measured, implying large mixing ratios for the water-soluble gaseous constituents from which the anions are derived. Measurements of radon-222 present in the plume are also reported.