Surface area and volume measurements of volcanic ash particles using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT): A comparison with scanning electron microscope (SEM) stereoscopic imaging and geometric considerations

ERSOY O. , ŞEN E. , AYDAR E. , TATAR İ. , Celik H. H.

JOURNAL OF VOLCANOLOGY AND GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH, vol.196, pp.281-286, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 196
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2010.08.004
  • Page Numbers: pp.281-286
  • Keywords: Volcanic ash, Surface area, Ash volume, Micro computed tomography, Scanning electron microscope, Stereoscopic imaging, TERMINAL VELOCITY, ERUPTION, TEPHRA, FRAGMENTATION, SHAPE, DISCRIMINATION, STRATOVOLCANO, MECHANISMS, THICKNESS, TRANSPORT


Volcanic ash particles are important components of explosive eruptions, and their surface textures are the subject of intense research. Characterization of ash surfaces is crucial for understanding the physics of volcanic plumes, remote sensing measurements of ash and aerosols, interfacial processes, modelling transportation and deposition of tephra and characterizing eruptive styles. A number of different methods have been used over the years to arrive at surface area estimates. The more common methods include estimates based on geometric considerations (geometric surface area) and physisorption of gas molecules on the surface of interest (physical surface area). In this study, micro computed tomography (micro-CT), which is a non-destructive method providing three-dimensional data, enabled the measurement of surface area and volume of individual ash particles. Results were compared with the values obtained from SEM stereoscopic imaging and geometric considerations. Surface area estimates of micro-CT and SEM stereoscopic imaging are similar, with surface area/volume ratios (SA/V) of 0.0368 and 0.0467, respectively. Ash particle surface textures show a large deviation from that of simple geometric forms, and an approximation both to spheres and ellipsoids do not seem adequate for the representation of ash surface. SEM stereoscopic and/or micro-CT imaging are here suggested as good candidate techniques for the characterization of textures on macro-pore regions of ash particles. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.