This project aims to identify and better understand the effects of active volcanoes on the local environment and ecosystems by measuring volcanic activity and sulphur deposition.
In 2009 geophysical measurements showed that activity was increasing. Mapping changes in the gravity signatures near the crater show an increase in gravity on the south side, which may indicate a build up of magma.
Preliminary results of an assessment of the absorption of pollutants by plants show that heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead and zinc are present in the plant material analysed. Forthcoming sampling and analysis of more plants/data will continue to aid understanding of the concentrations of heavy metals absorbed in plants in regions of active volcanism and their impact on the environment and human health. The distribution of the Tillandsia recurvata plant, in particular, correlates well with the air quality study results.
Rymer, H., Locke, C.A., Borgia, A., Martinez, M., Brenes, J., van der laat, R. & Williams-Jones, G. 2009. Long-term fluctuations in volcanic activity: implications for future environmental impact. Terra Nova 21, 304–309.