16 Nov 2020

16 Nov 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Bromine Speciation in Volcanic Plumes: New in-situ Derivatization LC-MS Method for the Determination of Gaseous Hydrogen Bromide by Gas Diffusion Denuder Sampling

Alexandra Gutmann1, Nicole Bobrowski2,3, Marcello Liotta4, and Thorsten Hoffmann1 Alexandra Gutmann et al.
  • 1Department Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Institute for Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 3Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 4Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Palermo, Italy

Abstract. The chemical characterization of volcanic gas emissions gives insights into the interior of volcanoes. Monitoring of BrO/SO2-ratios has recently been correlated with changes in the activity of a volcano. BrO and SO2 can both be measured autonomously and simultaneously with the same instruments from a safe distance, making their ratio potentially a strong monitoring tool. However, BrO is not a primary emitted volcanic volatile and there exist still uncertainties about the formation of BrO in volcanic plumes, mostly due to the lack of analytical approaches for the accurate speciation of certain key compounds.

This study describes a new method for the determination of the BrO precursor, the gaseous hydrogen bromide (HBr), by quantitative collection in denuder samplers. Gas diffusion denuders use the difference in diffusion coefficients to separate gaseous from particle-phase compounds. Gaseous HBr molecules are immobilized with an organic coating at the inner walls of the denuder tubes when pumped through the denuders.

Five different coatings using 1,2-epoxycyclooctane, trans-oxirane-2,3-dicarboxylic acid, 2,3-epoxy-3-phenylpropanoic acid, 9,10-epoxystearic acid, 5,6-epoxy-5,6-dihydro-[1,10]-phenanthroline (EP) were tested as denuder coatings. EP proved to be a suitable coating reagent, which at the same time, transfers the analyte into an appropriate derivate to be analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (in situ derivatization). Coating amount, breakthrough, matrix effects and the storage behavior have been characterized. No considerable cross-sensitivity with hydrogen chloride or other bromine species such as molecular bromine was observed.

The comparison of HBr determination using EP-coated denuders and Raschig Tubes as alkaline traps in the laboratory showed a deviation of 2 ± 11 % for gaseous HBr between the two methods. This allows considering HBr determined by denuders as a fraction of total bromine determined by Raschig Tubes. Since other bromine species (e.g. elemental bromine, bromine oxides) are also collected and determined as bromide by Raschig Tubes, but exclusively HBr in EP-coated denuders, the method presented here allows more accurate speciation of gaseous bromine compounds and their application in volcanic plumes.

The denuder sampling setup was applied with complementary denuder systems and alkaline traps in the plume of Masaya (Nicaragua) in 2016. HBr concentrations in the range between 0.44 and 2.27 ppb were measured with limits of detection and quantification below 0.1 and 0.3 ppb respectively at typical ground-based sampling conditions. The relative contribution of HBr as a fraction of total bromine decreased from 75 ± 11 % at Santiago rim (214 m distance to the volcanic emission source) to 36 ± 8 % on Nindiri rim (740 m distance). Our findings are in good agreement with previous estimations of the HBr conversion from the chemistry box model (CAABA/MECCA).

Alexandra Gutmann et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Alexandra Gutmann et al.

Alexandra Gutmann et al.


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Short summary
Motivated by the special interest in bromine chemistry in volcanic plumes, the study presented here describes a new method for the quantitative collection of gaseous hydrogen bromide in gas diffusion denuders. The hydrogen bromide reacted during sampling with appropriate epoxides applied to the denuder walls. The denuder sampling assembly was successfully deployed in the volcanic plume of Masaya volcano, Nicaragua.