The June 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines breached a significant, pre-eruptive magmatic-hydrothermal system consisting of a hot (>300 °C) core at two-phase conditions and surrounding, cooler (<260 °C) liquid outflows to the N and S. The eruption created a large, closed crater that accumulated hydrothermal upwellings, near-surface aquifer and meteoric inflows. A shallow lake formed by early September 1991, and showed a long-term increase in level of ~1 m/month until an artificial drainage was created in September 2001. Comparison of the temporal trends in lake chemistry to pre- and post-eruptive springs distinguishes processes important in lake evolution. The lake was initially near-neutral pH and dominated by meteoric influx and Cl–SO4 and Cl–HCO3 hydrothermal waters, with peaks in SO4 and Ca concentrations resulting from leaching of anhydrite and aerosol-laden tephra. Magmatic discharge, acidity (pH~2) and rock dissolution peaked in late 1992, during and immediately after eruption of a lava dome on the crater floor. Since cessation of dome growth, trends in lake pH (increase from 3 to 5.5), temperature (decline from 40 to 26 °C), and chemical and isotopic composition indicate that magmatic degassing and rock dissolution have declined significantly relative to the input of meteoric water and immature hydrothermal brine. Higher concentrations of Cl, Na, K, Li and B, and lower concentrations of Mg, Ca, Fe, SO4 and F up to 1999 highlight the importance of a dilute hydrothermal contribution, as do stable-isotope and tritium compositions of the various fluids. However, samples taken since that time indicate further dilution and steeper trends of increasing pH and declining temperature. Present gas and brine compositions from crater fumaroles and hot springs indicate boiling of an immature Cl–SO4 geothermal fluid of near-neutral pH at approximately 200 °C, rather than direct discharge from magma. It appears that remnants of the pre-eruptive hydrothermal system invaded the magma conduit shortly after the end of dome emplacement, blocking the direct degassing path. This, along with the large catchment area (~5 km2) and the high precipitation rate of the area, led to a rapid transition from a small and hot acid lake to a large lake with near-ambient temperature and pH. This behavior contrasts with that of peak-activity lakes that have more sustained volcanic gas influx (e.g., Kawah Ijen, Indonesia; Poas and Rincón de la Vieja, Costa Rica).
Bulletin of Volcanology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 9, 2003
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