LONDON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — British researchers say their study of ash from the eruption of an Iceland volcano will yield clues to how the material spreads in the atmosphere.
Atmospheric ash from the eruption of the volcano in March caused chaos, shutting down large areas of European air space and disrupting air travel, the BBC reported.
Samples of ash retrieved from U.K. soil after the eruption came in a vast array of shapes and sizes, Susan Loughlin, head of volcanology at the British Geological Survey, said.
Some of the individual grains of ash retrieved are less than one micron in diameter, while some of the clumps of ash are as large as 200 microns, about twice the width of a human hair, she said.
The samples gathered in the United Kingdom will be compared with those recovered in Iceland to determine how the plume formed into aggregates and fell to ground.
The plume made its way to Britain over the course of some 12 hours.
Understanding how quickly aggregation occurred and how much fine ash remained in the sky will prove vital, Loughlin said.
“What we want to know is how much ash is left up in the plume because that’s what the civil aviation authorities are interested in.
“What we need to understand is how that plume evolves through time and how that fine ash is removed from the air,” she said.
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