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Geophysical Research Letters

Sudden deep gas eruption nearby Rome's airport of Fiumicino

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Abstract

[1] On 24 August 2013 a sudden gas eruption from the ground occurred in the Tiber river delta, nearby Rome's international airport of Fiumicino. We assessed that this gas, analogous to other minor vents in the area, is dominantly composed of deep, partially mantle-derived CO2, as in the geothermal gas of the surrounding Roman Comagmatic Province. Increased amounts of thermogenic CH4 are likely sourced from Meso-Cenozoic petroleum systems, overlying the deep magmatic fluids. We hypothesize that the intersection of NE-SW and N-S fault systems, which at regional scale controls the location of the Roman volcanic edifices, favors gas uprising through the impermeable Pliocene and deltaic Holocene covers. Pressurized gas may temporarily be stored below these covers or within shallower sandy, permeable layers. The eruption, regardless the triggering cause—natural or man-made, reveals the potential hazard of gas-charged sediments in the delta, even at distances far from the volcanic edifices.

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