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Sci Rep. 2012;2:572. doi: 10.1038/srep00572. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Ash generation and distribution from the April-May 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.

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Nordvulk, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland.


The 39-day long eruption at the summit of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April-May 2010 was of modest size but ash was widely dispersed. By combining data from ground surveys and remote sensing we show that the erupted material was 4.8±1.2·10¹¹ kg (benmoreite and trachyte, dense rock equivalent volume 0.18±0.05 km³). About 20% was lava and water-transported tephra, 80% was airborne tephra (bulk volume 0.27 km³) transported by 3-10 km high plumes. The airborne tephra was mostly fine ash (diameter <1000 µm). At least 7·10¹⁰ kg (70 Tg) was very fine ash (<28 µm), several times more than previously estimated via satellite retrievals. About 50% of the tephra fell in Iceland with the remainder carried towards south and east, detected over ~7 million km² in Europe and the North Atlantic. Of order 10¹⁰ kg (2%) are considered to have been transported longer than 600-700 km with <10⁸ kg (<0.02%) reaching mainland Europe.

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