Pavlof Volcano Ash

Micoroscopy of Pavlof ash by Michelle Coombs on 6 June 2013.  Image: Michelle Coombs/AVO/USGS
microscopy of Pavlof ash by Michelle Coombs on 6 June 2013. Image: Michelle Coombs/AVO/USGS

Something a little different today. I was having a look at the volcanic activity in Alaska as I do every now and then as I have friends in the shadow of Redoubt and ran across this image.

If you ever wondered what volcanic ash looked like when viewed with an electron microscope, heck even if you didn’t, you know now. It’s little wonder the stuff is so damaging.

This ash sample was collected in Sand Point by Kathleen Harper a Sand Point resident. The ash consists of exclusively of juvenile vesicular glassy particles with few crystals.

There are a number of volcano’s in Alaska, this one Pavlof is currently a “Code Orange” defined as: ORANGE: Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway with no or minor volcanic-ash emissions [ash-plume height specified, if possible].

If you are interested in such things have a look around the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

See a timeline of images of Pavlof at the AVO.

5 thoughts on “Pavlof Volcano Ash

  1. It’s clear that you wouldn’t want to be breathing in that dust or having it sucked into your piston-driven or turbine engines.

  2. I used to live in an area where the topsoil was mostly ancient volcanic ash, which in that area, looked (microscopically) more like slivers of glass. You didn’t want to run a car engine without the air filter unless you were ready to buy a new motor.

  3. In 1992 or 93, can’t remember which, Redoubt erupted, and the ash traveled clear over to the Copper Valley where I lived. I really had to go to Anchorage that day. As I drove up the Richardson Hwy the ash got thicker on the road, and the Glenn Hwy was worse. I took some panty hose and put over the air intake on my pickup, to stop the biggest particles before they went into the air filter. Made the trip OK, and the engine didn’t suffer a bit, so after that I kept panty hose in the tool box of my truck.

  4. What baffles me is, how does this jagged, glass-like material become some of the most fertile soil you can imagine?

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