• AVAST = Advanced Volcanic Ash characteriSaTion, will use QEMSCAN®, a state-of-the-art automated SEM-based particle mapping procedure that can rapidly identify glass and common minerals in fresh volcanic ash. This allows image analysis of ash samples in a fraction of the time it would normally take using manual mineral identification.


  • In AVAST, I will fragment volcanic rock samples from Mt. Etna and Volcán de Colima using a shock tube, tumbling apparatus, and friction apparatus to produce experimental ash. These particles will be mapped using QEMSCAN® to identify how particle properties change between the different types of experiment.


  • I will perform the same experiments using a particle-containing glass and cross-check against natural ash samples from a range of activity at the same volcanoes. That way, changes in particles can be measured relative to a control material and I can ensure they are also found in nature


  • The overall idea is, if we can define how particle properties are affected by different fragmentation processes - and show they are relevant to nature - we can get much better at predicting the characteristics of volcanic ash produced during eruptions. That would mean improved hazard assessment without even needing to sample the ash.

  • Predicted particle characteristics can be added to plume dispersion models and remote sensing processing, and used to assess jet engine vulnerability, health and infrastructure hazard.

 “The project seeks partners to improve rapid risk assessment and forecasting during an eruption and provide risk management plans with better predictions of ash properties and potential hazards.”

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 753900