Magma degassing at Soufriere Hills Volcano (SHV) is characterised by an almost permanent SO2 flux and a HCl production rate which mainly depends on dome growth rate. Degassing processes have been studied through textural, H2O and halogen analyses of clasts collected between 1995 and 2006 on the dome and in pyroclastic flows and vulcanian eruption deposits. Cl, Br and I are strongly depleted in melts during H2O degassing with no significant Cl-Br-I fractionation, whereas F is almost unaffected. All magmas erupted at SHV have followed a multi-step degassing path from the magma chamber up to a shallow depth (similar to 1 km, P similar to 20 MPa). From that depth, however, effusive and explosive paths are distinct; vulcanian eruptions are the result of closed system degassing (CSD), while effusive dome growth is the result of CSD up to a very shallow depth (<= 200 m, P similar to 5-2 MPa) followed by open system degassing (OSD). CSD is modelled using the H2O solubility law, the perfect gas law and partition coefficients of halogens between a rhyolitic melt and H2O vapour (d(v-l)(i)). Gas loss characteristic of OSD is modelled using a Rayleigh law. Degassing induced crystallisation is introduced through the ratio of crystallisation and degassing rates, which ranges from 150-500. d(v-l)(Cl) for OSD ranges between 50-300, increasing with melt Cl content. For CSD, the lower effective d(v-l)(Cl) (similar to 20) is attributed to kinetic effects. Dome forming activity has a greater impact on atmospheric chemistry than vulcanian eruptions because OSD is much more efficient at extracting halogens. The model shows that HCl flux is a good proxy for the dome forming eruption rate. Comparison between model and measured gas compositions suggests a high HBr-BrO conversion rate (BrO/Total Br similar to 1/3) in the SHV gas plume. The degassing behaviour of Cl, Br and I implies similar Cl/Br (similar to 160) and Br/I (similar to 90) in initial melts, volcanic clasts and high temperature gases. The low Cl/Br at SHV compared to other island arcs (similar to 250-300) is attributed to a shallow, pre-eruptive Br enrichment. The almost permanent dome extrusion at SHV since 1995 has likely had a significant regional atmospheric impact because of the very efficient effusive degassing and the high conversion rate of halogens into reactive species within the gas plume. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.