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Ash from Icelandic volcano falls in Aberdeen

Volcanic ash SEM image
The images were taken using a scanning electron microscope which allows scientists to study both the structure and material composition of a sample.

Scientists in Aberdeen have released pictures of volcanic glass particles which have fallen in the city.

Likely to have come from Iceland, the images were taken using a scanning electron microscope which allows scientists to study both the structure and material composition of a sample.They show the jagged edges of the particles, the largest of which is 0.03mm across, with the smallest just 0.002mm wide.

The samples were collected from the windscreen of a car parked at the James Hutton Institute, located in the Craigiebuckler area. The composition shows that they did not come from last year's volcanic eruption in Iceland but they have not yet been compared with samples from the Grimsvotn eruption.

Evelyne Delbos, Head of Electron Microscopy at the Aberdeen facility who analysed the sample said, "It is highly likely the particles came from the Grimsvotn volcano but until we have a reference sample to compare them to we cannot confirm this."


Information for Editors

The James Hutton Institute was formed on 1 April 2011 by uniting the Aberdeen based Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen and SCRI (Scottish Crop Research Institute) in Dundee. It employs more than 600 scientists and staff, making it one of the biggest research centres in Europe.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) is an extremely versatile tool which allows the study of material composition from virtually all areas of science and technology. The benefits of SEM over conventional microscopy include very high resolution and greater depth of field at magnifications from  x 20 to x 1,000,000.

Electron microscopy is an established tool at the Institute, but the installation of a new state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscope in March 2010 opened up the range of services offered by Macaulay Analytical. The equipment is able to capture images, not only at very high magnification but at unprecedented levels of clarity and detail, and analysis of samples too small for any other analytical technique.

By using electrons instead of light to form an image, unlike many microscopes, the SEM can analyse rough samples. One strength of the SEM utilised by the Institute is that there is no need for the sample to have been dried beforehand; it can analyse fresh samples including solids, semi solids and even liquids.

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Printed from /news/ash-icelandic-volcano-falls-aberdeen on 30/09/23 04:29:47 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.