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Did You Know: Sulphur Banks

July 12, 2013

Did You Know: Sulphur Banks

Did You Know? As rainwater soaks into the ground at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, it encounters hot rock and vaporizes. Shallow earth cracks emit steam, like what is seen at Steam Vents in the park. However, some deep faults and fractures extend down to magma and allow gases to reach the surface, like what is seen here at Sulphur Banks. Fumes emitted at the Sulphur Banks include sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). These two gases react chemically to produce pure sulfur, a yellow mineral. Scientists use this formula to show the chemical reaction: SO2 + 2 H2S = 3 S + 2 H2O. Sulfur (S) is deposited on the rocks, covering them with feathery crystals, while water vapor (H2O) condenses to make steam. NPS Photo/Stephen Geiger

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