This review gives an overview of the estimates of volatile emissions from arc and mid-ocean ridge volcanoes to the atmosphere and hydrosphere with particular focus on H2O, CO2, N2, Cl and F. The gas compositions of high temperature (>500°C) fumaroles are compiled and used to derive magmatic H2O/SO2, CO2/SO2, HCl/SO2 and HF/SO2 ratios on an arc-by-arc basis to obtain new estimates of major volatile fluxes from arcs globally. The estimate of F flux from arcs is two orders of magnitude smaller than the amount of F released from mid ocean ridges whereas the arc Cl flux exceeds the ridge flux. An important observation is that globally the water budget of subduction zones seems to be balanced and the amount of water degassed through arc volcanism is within the estimates of the amount of water released from the slab below the volcanic front. Recent work that focused on the Central American arc shows that detailed knowledge of the subduction input compositions, coupled with gas emission studies is critical to further constrain the fate of volatiles during the subduction processes.
2008 by The Geochemical Society of Japan