Many studies in recent years have concluded that there is a link between airborne volcanic ash and poor air quality
Volcanic ash and other ash particles are constantly deposited on the ground and in the atmosphere. These ash particles act as a filter for many contaminants. Some research even suggests that airborne volcanic ash can reduce the effectiveness of air conditioners.
Are these claims true or do scientists need to conduct more research in this area?
A new study by the Environmental Protection Agency attempts to answer this question. This latest study looked at two sites near two volcanoes in the Eastern United States; one in Loudoun and the other in Lithia Mountain. The study measured the air quality in these two sites during two different times of the summer. They found that the air quality on the volcano site was significantly better than the air quality on the Lithia Mountain site. What does this mean?
The researchers believe that the volcanic ash deposited near volcanoes acts like filters for the pollutants in the air. Specifically, they were looking at airborne volcanic ash. This ash filter effectively took out most of the pollutants in the air, but it was the sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide that remained. They estimate that this amount of pollution remained in the air for over six months. While this certainly isn’t the end of the story, this information definitely strengthens the argument that volcanoes should be monitored to ensure that they don’t pose a risk to the air quality in our cities.
So, is there a real risk to the atmosphere from volcanic ash?
Scientists have looked at the amount of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide in the ash and have determined that a volcano can produce approximately the same amount of these gases over time. However, when researchers looked at the composition of the ash – primarily determining the concentration and the ratio of different elements – they noticed that it contained more sulfur and a lesser amount of carbon dioxide. While this doesn’t prove a direct link to human health, the research is inconclusive and raises questions about whether the volcano ash poses a threat to our health.
Another research project that attempted to answer the question. Looking at the effects of the ash on tree growth. Again, the results aren’t in doubt: there are elevated levels of toxic metals in the ash, including lead, in trees which were grown after the eruption.
One of the main concerns about the threat of ash to the air quality in cities is the fact that it is difficult to clean up. Volcanoes periodically erupt and this ash makes it very difficult to remove. Also, there is a possibility that the ash will fill storm drains and spread through the community. It is not clear what effect, if any, these factors have on the air quality in cities like Seattle.
While scientists have studied the effects of ash on the air and on the ground, little is known about what the ash will do to people. Scientists can monitor the air quality in Seattle for several days after an eruption, but they don’t know what will happen two weeks or a month later.
The effects of this ash on humans should not come as a surprise. As a species, we have learned to live with some degree of ash and pollution in our lives. The question is, does the ash from a volcano impact the air we breathe or the ground we walk upon?
We should know more about the relationship between ash and the atmosphere before we make the wrong decision when it comes to such risks. When we are thinking about the idea of being outdoors during such a catastrophe.
What Causes Volcanic Eruptions?
What causes volcanic eruptions?
This is one question that scientists try to answer every day. Volcanoes are amongst the many unique natural phenomena around the world. They are responsible for creating mountains and changing landscapes around the globe. The wide expanse of space they cover with the boiling hot lava that they throw up is always exciting to watch, but seldom does it ever occur in places where there is an active volcano.
When a volcano erupts, it is due to an increase in the amount of magma within the earth’s crust. Magma is the molten material that has accumulated around the edges of the earth’s crust over millions of years. It is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, and it makes its way to the surface when it is heated by the earth’s heat. It is the eruption of these volcanoes that brings about the great change in landscape and composition of the land below. The hotter the magma gets, the more that it can change the surrounding area, and the larger the changes.
Not only does erupting volcano causes a great deal of change, but it also can have a significant impact on the environment as a whole. Volcanoes form at the edge of tectonic plates, and they are responsible for influencing the movement of tectonic shifts. As the eruptive process occurs, it creates magma chambers which hold magma. These chambers eventually fill with warm water, and this in turn causes a rise in sea levels. Many earthquakes also follow these eruptions, because they act as signs of imminent magmatic activity.
A lot of Volcanoes remain dormant in the earth, waiting for an event to activate them. When an inactive volcano begins to erupt, it is usually a slow process and takes years to produce large amounts of ash and lava. The process of eruption can be triggered by a number of factors, including changes in pressure, the presence of metal particles in the air, or even changes in the tilt and movement of the earth’s axis. All of these things can cause a volcano to erupt, but the two most common reasons are because of changes in the tilt and movement of the earth’s axis.
When the earth’s tilt moves toward or away from a sharp angle, it causes friction between various tectonic plates. When this happens, there is a release of pressure in the soil, which forces the slab of the earth’s crust to move. This movement can sometimes happen on its own, but sometimes it needs to move under the influence of other forces. This means that sometimes magma can build up in the soil too quickly, causing it to bulge out. Sometimes it may rupture, too, and this causes the volcano to erupt.
Some volcanic eruptions do not seem to have any relation to the tectonic movements of the earth, but they still can happen. There is also a chance that an inactive volcano can erupt. In fact, many of the most powerful and destructive explosions that we know of came from volcanoes that were inactive. Some of these eruptions produced so much ash and debris that the land turned into a carbon dioxide rich blanket which caused massive global warming.
The other thing that causes eruptions is the movement of lava. When lava cools very slowly, it becomes brittle and easily able to move. It can then move slowly around the earth, and sometimes it can move in such a way that it forms new lagoons where it can erupt. When there is a great amount of lava coming out, there is often a great deal of pressure in the atmosphere, causing the eruption.
One of the things that can really help to understand the nature of these events is to understand how different kinds of rock can be used as a source of magma. One of the most common is the cinder. When a volcano has a cinder eruption, it typically makes its way across the surface of the earth at a rate of about two miles per day. This means that the lava and all of the ash are very heavy. Therefore, they are quickly carried by air currents and into areas where they can be deposited.
Craters that aren’t near any oceanic vents or rivers are prime spots for cinder to come out, since these areas are usually covered with lava and the ash can be very heavy.
Provided by Antonio Westley
For more info on volcano activity and its effects on climate change read here
And if your curious about volcanic ash levels from La Palma visit here
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.