Portable mass spectrometers are now available for monitoring gaseous emissions from volcanoes.
Analyses after the eruption of the Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica in January 2010 showed the presence of [M]+ ions (i.e. atomic ions and nonfragmented molecular ions) at m/z 64, 44, 40, 34, 32, 28 and 18. Mass spectra recorded before the eruption confirmed that the peak at m/z 64 was missing, and the peak at m/z 34 was substantially diminished.
(a) To what do you assign the peaks at m/z 64 and 34?
(b) Bearing in mind the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, what molecular ion interferes with the detection of the volcanic emission observed at m/z 34?
(c) Volcanic gases mix with the surrounding air. Suggest what atmospheric gases give rise to the ions at m/z 40, 32 and 28.
(d) Sampling of the volcanic plume….