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High-resolution 3D analyses of the shape and internal constituents of small volcanic ash particles: The contribution of SEM micro-computed tomography (SEM micro-CT)

  • Vonlanthen, Pierre Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Rausch, Juanita Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Ketcham, Richard A. Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • Putlitz, Benita Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Baumgartner, Lukas P. Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Grobéty, Bernard Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
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    15.02.2015
Published in:
  • Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. - 2015, vol. 293, p. 1–12
English The morphology of small volcanic ash particles is fundamental to our understanding of magma fragmentation, and in transport modeling of volcanic plumes and clouds. Until recently, the analysis of 3D features in small objects (< 250 μm) was either restricted to extrapolations from 2D approaches, partial stereo-imaging, or CT methods having limited spatial resolution and/or accessibility. In this study, an X-ray computed-tomography technique known as SEM micro-CT, also called 3D X-ray ultramicroscopy (3D XuM), was used to investigate the 3D morphology of small volcanic ash particles (125–250 μm sieve fraction), as well as their vesicle and microcrystal distribution. The samples were selected from four stratigraphically well-established tephra layers of the Meerfelder Maar (West Eifel Volcanic Field, Germany). Resolution tests performed on a Beametr v1 pattern sample along with Monte Carlo simulations of X-ray emission volumes indicated that a spatial resolution of 0.65 μm was obtained for X-ray shadow projections using a standard thermionic SEM and a bulk brass target as X-ray source. Analysis of a smaller volcanic ash particle (64–125 μm sieve fraction) showed that features with volumes > 20 μm³ (~ 3.5 μm in diameter) can be successfully reconstructed and quantified. In addition, new functionalities of the Blob3D software were developed to allow the particle shape factors frequently used as input parameters in ash transport and dispersion models to be calculated. This study indicates that SEM micro-CT is very well suited to quantify the various aspects of shape in fine volcanic ash, and potentially also to investigate the 3D morphology and internal structure of any object < 0.1 mm³.
Faculty
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Department
Département de Géosciences
Language
  • English
Classification
Geology
License
License undefined
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://folia.unifr.ch/unifr/documents/304279
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