Composition and flux of explosive gas release at LUSI mud volcano (East Java, Indonesia)

Loÿc Vanderkluysen, Michael R. Burton, Amanda Clarke, Hilairy Hartnett, Jean François Smekens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The LUSI mud volcano has been erupting since May 2006 in the densely populated Sidoarjo regency (East Java, Indonesia), forcing the evacuation of 40,000 people and destroying industry, farmland, and over 10,000 homes. Mud extrusion rates of 180,000 m3 d-1 were measured in the first few months of the eruption, decreasing to a loosely documented <20,000 m3 d-1 in 2012. The last few years of activity have been characterized by periodic short-lived eruptive bursts. In May and October 2011, we documented this activity using high-resolution time-lapse photography, open-path FTIR, and thermal infrared imagery. Gases (98% water vapor, 1.5% carbon dioxide, 0.5% methane) were periodically released by the bursting of bubbles approximately 3 m in diameter which triggered mud fountains to ?10 m and gas plumes to hundreds of meters above the vent. During periods of quiescence (1-3 min), no appreciable gas seepage occurred. We estimate that LUSI releases approximately 2300 t yr-1 of methane, 30,000 t yr-1 of CO2, and 800,000 t yr-1 of water vapor. Gas bubble nucleation depths are >4000 m for methane and approximately 600 m for carbon dioxide; however, the mass fractions of these gases are insufficient to explain the observed dynamics. Rather, the primary driver of the cyclic bubble-bursting activity is decompressional boiling of water, which initiates a few tens of meters below the surface, setting up slug flow in the upper conduit. Our measured gas flux and conceptual model lead to a corresponding upper-bound estimate for the mud-water mass flux of 105 m3 d -1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2932-2946
Number of pages15
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • LUSI
  • degassing
  • hydrothermal systems
  • mud volcano

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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