By Krysta Daniels
A new program on NPR reported volcanic eruptions are studied through images from satellites, radar measurements from aircraft, or seismic data from sensors in the ground. Volcanoes are very temperamental. If you want to understand them you need to really study the materials it spewing out. If you would like to know firsthand what it would be like to study volcanoes, you can research the works by volcanologists Evgenia Ilyinskaya and Asgerdur Sigurdardottir.
According to Joe Palca, an NPR writer, the volcanologists went on an expedition to research the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Hvolsvollur, Iceland on April 10. Eyjafjallajokull is a sight to see, and when the temperature is just right it looks stunning. Most of the sky is a brilliant blue on clear nights.
Palca reported, “Ilyinskaya and Sigurdardottir were out to gather the ash that had drifted to the earth after erupting into the sky. It's the ash that's causing problems for air travelers around Europe; the little particles can gum up aircraft engines and disable planes.”
Another component scientists look at is the ash remains. Scientists can tell the kind of magma that is contributing to the eruption and that information provides the scientists details as to how long the eruption lasted and how dangerous it was. Volcanologists need to wear gas masks in order to take samples.
Volcanic gases are very dangerous to the environment. The gasses left behind from an eruption combined with the fluoride gases coming from the volcano eruption cause a devastating damage to people and livestock the area.
While Ilyinskaya and Sigurdardottir were taking samples, the volcano rumbled. Scientists try to find out all they can about a particular volcano before they start to investigate. They want to know exactly what they are up against before the excursion begins. Ilyinskaya and Sigurdardottir recovered a fine power resembling flour that turned out to be ash from the eruption.
Scientists might not find answers right away but if you are interested in helping with their findings you can contact NPR. If you are interested in researching volcanos in general, read up on their history and current events surrounding volcanoes today.