Geography Oceanography, and Weather


What major gases do volcanoes emit?

Volcanic gases contained within the magma (molten rock) are released as they reach the Earth’s surface, escaping at the major volcanic opening or from fissures and vents along the side of the volcano. The most prevalent gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Carbon dioxide is a dangerous gas; it is invisible and odorless, and can kill within minutes.

One example in which volcanic gases proved dangerous involved the Dieng Volcano Complex (or Dieng Plateau) in Java, Indonesia. It consists of two volcanoes and over 20 craters and cones, and is noted for its poisonous gas emissions at some craters. In 1979, at least 149 people were killed by poisonous gases as they fled eruptions at two of the craters: the Sinila and Sigludung.


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