Sara George is currently a student at Hunter College, CUNY in New York City. Majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in Earth Sciences, she is exceedingly concerned about the conservation of our ecosystems. Marine ecosystem conservation is the focal point of Sara’s interests, and she is looking to join the United States Coast Guard and become an Environmental Health Officer.
Sara volunteered at Alley Pond Environmental Center, in middle school. She has experience with animal care and ecological conservation. She has also participated in work study conducted in the Bahamas on the psychology of wild dolphins in 2013; this work study provided for a hands on learning experience of the communication within pods of Atlantic Bottlenose and Spotted dolphins. In addition, Sara has witnessed the astounding impacts global climate change has had on sea level. During the summer of 2014 she participated in a rescue archeological dig in Rousay, Scotland; the archeological site was under threat due to the rapid sea level. Sara interned with Dvirka and Bartilucci Engineers and Architects in, where she worked at a pump station in Brooklyn during the summer of 2013.
International pollution issues aren’t always anthropogenically caused; the earth in its natural, untouched state also contributes to global pollution. Volcanic activity, is an example of a non-anthropogenic source of international pollutions. Volcanic eruptions release large quantities of greenhouse gases and other aerosols into the atmosphere, these gases form massive clouds which accumulate in the atmosphere; this process is referred to as outgassing or offgassing In addition to magma particulates, known as ash or pyroclastic flow, volcanic eruptions release water vapor(H₂0), carbon dioxide(CO₂), sulphur dioxide(SO₂), hydrogen sulfide(H₂S), carbon monoxide(CO), hydrogen chloride(HCl), and hydrogen fluoride(HF) into the atmosphere. This combination of outgassed particulates as the ability to inflict vast detrimental impacts on the rest of the globe. Earth’s biosphere can be depreciated as a result of volcanic pollution; animals and plant life, during an outgassing event, are susceptible to toxic and harmful volcanic pollutants. Gases derived from volcanoes have severe detrimental impacts on vegetation; direct exposure to volcanic gases over a long term period is lethal to most plant life (McGee, 1997). The respiratory system, in particular, of humans and other species of animals in kind can be extremely damaged when exposed to sulphur dioxide(SO₂) and hydrogen fluoride(HF). In addition, the introduction of sulphur dioxide to water vapor in the atmosphere causes acid rain on a global scale. Through atmospheric circulation, these outgassed clouds become dispersed and diffuse significantly. In 1883 the eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia outgassed aerosol particulates that dispersed all the way to New York; 13 days after this volcanic eruption, New Haven, NY experienced conflagrations. The volcanic dust cloud which was formed by Krakatau’s eruption also acted as a solar radiation barrier, surface temperature decreased and took about 5 years to return to normal. Volcanically sourced pollution also has the potential to release as much carbon dioxide(CO₂) and sulphur dioxide(SO₂) during a single eruption than 250 years of anthropogenically produced pollution. This paper will look at the non-anthropogenic release of volcanic pollutants both on a local and international level; there will also be an emphasis on sulphur dioxide and its introduction and interaction with the earth’s atmosphere.
Key words: volcanic pollution, volcanism, non-anthropogenic pollution, sulphur dioxide, international pollution, volcano, outgassed pollutants