So Susan Stipp phoned her colleague and friend in Reykjavik, Siggi Gislason and while the explosive eruptions were at their worst, he and a student donned protective clothing, collected ash as it fell and sent some samples to Denmark. "In the Nano-Science Centre at the University of Copenhagen, we have analytical facilities and a research team that are unique in the world for characterising natural nanoparticles and their reaction with air, water and oil." explains Professor Susan Stipp
The newly developed protocol for assessing future ash can provide information for safety assessment in less than 24 hours. Within an hour of receiving the samples, scientists can tell how poisonous they are for the animals and people living closest to the eruption. Half a day enables them to predict the danger of sandblasting on aircraft, and assess the risk of fouling jet engines. Within a day they can tell the size of the particles, providing data for predicting where and how far the ash cloud will spread. Susan Stipp hopes that because of the analysis protocol, aviation authorities will not face such an impossible dilemma next time fine-grained ash threatens passenger safety. "Some of the analytical instruments needed are standard equipment in Earth science departments and some are commonly used by materials scientists, so with our protocol, aviation authorities ought to be able to get fast, reliable answers," concludes Professor Stipp.
|Contact: Susan Stipp|
University of Copenhagen