Volcanic Eruption Aerosol Sampling


The Aero Select wide-range aerosol sampler was employed to sample and fractionate aerosols generated during the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. This event, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travel across Europe over a period of several days in April 2010 (figure 5.1).


Figure 5.1: Ash being pumped into atmosphere during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Photograph: Jon Gustafsson/AP


Aerosol samples collecting using the Aero Select were used to measure mass-size distributions and to evaluate the chemical composition of ash particles. The instrument was deployed in the field at locations close to the volcano, and was powered by a mobile AC power source (Figure 5.2)


Figure 5.2: The Aero Select sampling at a site in Iceland


Figure 5.3 shows a typical SEM image of particles collected by the Aero Select close to the volcano. The SEM image reveals a complicated population of irregularly shaped aerosol particles. Below the SEM image is an XRF spectrum showing the chemical composition of the particle indicated by the small white square in the SEM image. The XRF spectrum reveals the presence of several elements including S, Fe, Al, Ca, K, Mg, O, C and Na.


Figure 5.3: A typical SEM image obtained from samples collected using the Aero Select at a site in Iceland. The bottom image is an XRF elemental composition spectrum obtained taken at the spot indicated by the small white square in upper-right image.


This case study demonstrates the wealth of information that can be obtained using the Aero Select wide range aerosol sampling system. It is a unique instrument that can be used to obtain mass-size distributions of the various constituents of airborne aerosols. In addition, when used with the optional portable power supply, it can be easily deployed at more remote locations.

Download further details on results collected for this case study >

(Please note – ‘Nano-ID Select’ is an earlier model of the Aero Select)



SEM images and XRF spectrum: Prof. Throstur Thorsteinsson.