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Manchester-based Volcanologists have developed a method and camera that could help reduce the dangers, health risks and travel impacts of ash plumes during a volcanic eruption.
Ash is sometimes seen as a secondary danger in volcanoes when compared to more visual hazards, such as lava and pyroclastic flows. However, ash can have a major impact on human lives and infrastructure, such as the 2010 eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, which brought international aviation across Europe to a standstill.
Research - Scientific - Reports - Kind - Camera
This research, which is being published in Scientific Reports, uses a new kind camera, developed at The University of Manchester, to measure the flow and speed of ash falling out of a volcanic plume.
The researchers measure how ash particles interact with sunlight and, specifically, how they change the polarisation of sunlight, in a similar way to how polarised sunglasses work. This wouldn't have been possible without the development of the new "AshCam" which is the first camera of its kind in the world.
Eruption - Ash - Fall - Collapse - Exposure
During a volcanic eruption heavy ash fall can lead to building collapse, potentially injuring or killing those inside. Plus exposure to ash can cause irritation to the nose, throat and eyes, as well as aggravating pre-existing health conditions such as asthma.
But ash is also a major danger to other critical human infrastructure, including electrical, water and transportation networks, especially air travel—such as the 2010 Icelandic eruption.
Chair - Volcanology - University - Manchester - Professor
Chair in Volcanology at The University of Manchester, Professor Mike Burton, said: "Volcanic ash is a primary product of an explosive volcanic eruption which generally poses a threat to human health and infrastructure.
"The Icelandic eruption in 2010 highlighted to the whole world that ash-rich volcanic eruptions can have a major impact on the global economy through air space closures designed to minimise the risk of jet engine failure due to...
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