mofette

mofette

[moh-fet; French maw-fet]
noun
1.
a noxious emanation, consisting chiefly of carbon dioxide, escaping from the earth in regions of nearly extinct volcanic activity.
2.
one of the openings or fissures from which this emanation issues.
Also, moffette.


Origin:
1815–25; < French < Italian moffetta (Neapolitan mufeta), equivalent to muff(a) (Upper Italian mofa) mould (< Langobardic; compare German Muff mould, late Middle High German müffeln to give off a foul smell) + -etta -etta

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mofette (məʊˈfɛt)
 
n
an opening in a region of nearly extinct volcanic activity, through which carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other gases pass
 
[C19: from French, from Neapolitan Italian mofeta; compare dialect German muffezen to smell fetid]

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mofette

fumarole, or gaseous volcanic vent, that has a temperature well below the boiling point of water, though above the temperature of the surrounding air, and that is generally rich in carbon dioxide and perhaps methane and other hydrocarbons. When the winds are right, the issuing gases may drift and settle into nearby hollows or small valleys and cause the asphyxiation of animals and birds wandering in the areas. Such potentially deadly hollows have been noted in the Absaroka Range near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, U.S., and at the base of Iceland's Hekla volcano.

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