Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 346–362 | Cite as

Characterization of respirable volcanic ash from the Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat, with implications for human health hazards

  • C. J. Horwell
  • R. S. J. Sparks
  • T. S. Brewer
  • E. W. Llewellin
  • B. J. Williamson
Research Article

Abstract

Volcanic ash, generated in the long-lived eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat, is shown to contain respirable (sub-4 μm) particles and cristobalite, a crystalline silica polymorph. Respirable particles of cristobalite can cause silicosis, raising the possibility that volcanic ash is a respiratory health hazard. This study considers some of the main factors which affect human exposure to respirable volcanic ash, namely, the composition and proportions of respirable ash, and the composition and concentrations of airborne suspended particulates. The composition, size distribution and proportion (by weight) of respirable particles in representative samples of the Soufrière Hills tephra (dome-collapse ash-fall deposits, dome-collapse pyroclastic-flow matrix, Vulcanian explosion ash and mixed ash) have been characterized. Dome-collapse ash-fall deposits are significantly richer in respirable particles (12 wt%) than the other tephra samples, in particular the matrices of dome-collapse pyroclastic-flow deposits (3 wt%). Within the respirable fraction, dome-collapse ash contains the highest proportion of crystalline silica particles (20–27 number%, of which 97 wt% is cristobalite), compared with other primary tephra types (0.4–5.6 number%). This enrichment of crystalline silica in the dome-collapse ash is most pronounced in the very fine particle fraction (sub-2 μm). The results are explained as being due to significant size fractionation during fragmentation of pyroclastic flows, resulting in a fines-depleted dome-collapse matrix and a fines-rich dome-collapse ash deposit. For all sample types, the sub-4 μm fraction comprises 45–55 wt% of the sub-10 μm fraction. Aeolian deposit, lahar deposit and airborne samples of suspended ash, collected on filters, were characterized. These samples show enrichment of crystalline silica in the respirable fraction (10–18 number%). The results are consistent with ash in the environment having a mixed origin but originating predominantly from dome-collapse eruptions. The reworked ash, however, contains low proportions of respirable ash (∼3 wt%) compared to primary ash samples. The concentration of ash particles re-suspended by road vehicles on Montserrat is found to decrease exponentially with height above the ground, indicating higher exposure for children compared with adults: PM4 concentration at 0.9 m (height of two-year-old child) is 3 times that at 1.8 m (adult height). The composition of the re-suspended road particles is similar to that re-suspended by the wind.

Keywords

Cristobalite Montserrat Ash Respirable Health Soufrière Hills volcano Pyroclastic flows 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Africano F, Bernard A (2000) Acid alteration in the fumarolic environment of Usu volcano, Hokkaido, Japan. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 97(1-4):475–495Google Scholar
  2. Baxter PJ, Bonadonna C, Dupree R, Hards VL, Kohn SC, Murphy MD, Nichols A, Nicholson RA, Norton G, Searl A, Sparks RSJ, Vickers BP (1999) Cristobalite in volcanic ash of the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, British West Indies. Science 283:1142–1145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bennett WD, Zeman KL (1998) Deposition of fine particles in children spontaneously breathing at rest. Inhal Toxicol 10(9):831–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonadonna C, Mayberry GC, Calder ES, Sparks RSJ, Choux C, Jackson P, Lejeune AM, Loughlin SC, Norton GE, Rose WI, Ryan G, Young SR (2002) Tephra fallout in the eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. In: Druitt TH, Kokelaar BP (eds) The eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, from 1995 to 1999. Geol Soc Lond MemGoogle Scholar
  5. Buist AS, Martin TR, Shore JH, Butler J, Lybarger J (1986) The development of a multidisciplinary plan for evaluation of the long-term health effects of the Mount St. Helens’ eruptions. Am J Public Health 76 Suppl 3:39–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clouter A, Brown D, Hohr D, Borm P, Donaldson K (2001) Inflammatory effects of respirable quartz collected in workplaces versus standard DQ12 quartz: particle surface correlates. Toxicol Sci 63(1):90–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Colls JJ, Micallef A (1999) Measured and modelled concentrations and vertical profiles of airborne particulate matter within the boundary layer of a street canyon. Sci Total Environ 235:221–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daniels MJ, Dominici F, Samet JM, Zeger SL (2000) Estimating particulate matter-mortality dose-response curves and threshold levels: an analysis of daily time-series for the 20 largest US cities. Am J Epidemiol 152(5):397–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deer WA, Howie RA, Zussman J (1996) An introduction to the rock forming minerals. Longman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Devine JD, Murphy MD, Rutherford MJ, Barclay J, Sparks RSJ, Carroll MR, Young SR, Gardner JE (1998) Petrologic evidence for pre-eruptive pressure-temperature conditions, and recent reheating, of andesitic magma erupting at the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, WI. Geophys Res Lett 25:3669–3672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dobreva M, Burilkov T, Kolev K, Lalova P (1977) Characteristics of lung dusts and their relation to dust exposure and pathological findings in the lungs. In: Walton WH (ed) Inhaled particles IV, part 2. Pergamon, Oxford, pp 717–724Google Scholar
  12. Dollberg DD, Bolyard ML, Smith DL (1986) Evaluation of physical health effects due to volcanic hazards: crystalline silica in Mount St. Helens volcanic ash. Am J Public Health 76 Suppl 3:53–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards (1995) Particles. Department of the Environment, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards (2001) Airborne particles: what is the appropriate measurement on which to base a standard? A discussion document. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, London, http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/aqs/air_measure/index.htmGoogle Scholar
  15. Forbes L, Jarvis D, Potts J, Baxter PJ (2003) Volcanic ash and respiratory symptoms in children on the island of Montserrat, British West Indies. Occup Environ Med (in press)Google Scholar
  16. Freeman JV, Cole TJ, Chinn S (1995) Cross-sectional stature and weight reference curves for the UK 1990. Arch Disease Childh 73(1):17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fruchter JS, Robertson DE, Evans JC, Olsen KB, Lepel EA, Laul JC, Abel KH, Sanders RW, Jackson PO, Wogman NS, Perkins RW, van Tuyl HH, Beauchamp AV, Shade JW, Daniel JL et al. (1980) Mount St. Helens ash from the 18 May 1980 eruption: chemical, physical, mineralogical and biological properties. Science 209:1116–1125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fubini B, Zanetti G, Altilia S, Tiozzo R, Lison D, Saffiotti U (1999) Relationship between surface properties and cellular responses to crystalline silica: studies with heat-treated cristobalite. Chem Res Toxicol 12:737–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harford C (2000) The volcanic evolution of Montserrat. PhD Thesis, University of BristolGoogle Scholar
  20. Hetland RB, Schwarze PE, Johansen BV, Myran T, Uthus N, Refsnes M (2001) Silica-induced cytokine release from A549 cells: importance of surface area versus size. Hum Exp Toxicol 20(1):46–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hohr D, Steinfartz Y, Schins RPF, Knaapen AM, Martra G, Fubini B, Borm PJA (2002) The surface area rather than the surface coating determines the acute inflammatory response after instillation of fine and ultrafine TiO2 in the rat. Int J Hyg Environ Health 205(3):239–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Horwell CJ, Braña LP, Sparks RSJ, Murphy MD, Hards VL (2001) A geochemical investigation of fragmentation and physical fractionation in pyroclastic flows from the Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 109(4):247–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Housley DG, Berube KA, Jones TP, Anderson S, Pooley FD, Richards RJ (2002) Pulmonary epithelial response in the rat lung to instilled Montserrat respirable dusts and their major mineral components. Occup Environ Med 59:466–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. International Agency for Research on Cancer (1997) Silica, some silicates, coal dust and para-aramid fibrils. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Humans 68Google Scholar
  25. Lange RA (1994) The effect of H2O, CO2 and F on the density and viscosity of silicate melts. In: Carroll MR, Holloway JR (eds) Volatiles in magmas. Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Moore KR, Duffell H, Nicholl A, Searl A (2002) Monitoring of airborne particulate matter during the eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. In: Druitt TH, Kokelaar BP (eds) The eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, from 1995 to 1999. Geol Soc Lond MemGoogle Scholar
  27. Moroney MJ (1951) Facts from figures. Penguin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. Murphy SA, Berube KA, Richards RJ (1999) Bioreactivity of carbon black and diesel exhaust particles to primary Clara and type II epithelial cell cultures. Occup Environ Med 56(12):813–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Murphy MD, Sparks RSJ, Barclay J, Carroll MR, Brewer TS (2000) Remobilization of andesite magma by intrusion of mafic magma at the Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat, West Indies. J Petrol 41(1):21–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NIOSH (1974) Criteria for a recommended standard—occupational exposure to crystalline silica. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Springfield, VA, DHEW Publ no 75-120, NTIS Publ no PB-246-697Google Scholar
  31. OSHA (1989) Air contaminants Final Rule. 29 CFR Part 1910. US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Fed Reg 54(12):2521Google Scholar
  32. Peters A, Dockery DW, Muller JE, Mittleman MA (2001) Increased particulate air pollution and the triggering of myocardial infarction. Circulation 103(23):2810–2815Google Scholar
  33. Quality of Urban Air Review Group (1996) Airborne particulate matter in the United Kingdom.London, Dept Environ 3Google Scholar
  34. Robertson REA, Aspinall WP, Herd RA, Norton GE, Sparks RSJ, Young SR (2000) The 1995-98 eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat. Philos Trans R Soc Lond A 358:1619–1637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sarna-Wojcicki AM, Meyer CE, Woodward MJ, Lamothe PJ (1981) Composition of air-fall ash erupted on May 18, May 25, June 12, July 22, and August 7. In: Lipman PW, Mullineaux DR (eds) The 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens, Washington. Govt Printing Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  36. Sparks RSJ, Murphy MD, Lejeune AM, Watts RB, Barclay J, Young SR (2000) Control on the emplacement of the andesite lava dome of the Soufriere Hills Volcano by degassing-induced crystallization. Terra Nova 12:14–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Stone V, Shaw J, Brown DM, MacNee W, Faux SP, Donaldson K (1998) The role of oxidative stress in the prolonged inhibitory effect of ultrafine carbon black on epithelial cell function. Toxicol In Vitro 12(6):649–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Talvitie NA (1951) Determination of quartz in presence of silicates using phosphoric acid. Anal Chem 23(4):623–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tran CL, Buchanan D, Cullen RT, Searl A, Jones AD, Donaldson K (2000) Inhalation of poorly soluble particles. II. Influence of particle surface area on inflammation and clearance. Inhal Toxicol 12:1113–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Watts RB, Herd RA, Sparks RSJ, Young SR (2002) Growth patterns and emplacement of the andesitic lava dome at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. In: Druitt TH, Kokelaar BP (eds) The eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, from 1995 to 1999. Geol Soc Lond MemGoogle Scholar
  41. Wilson MR, Stone V, Cullen RT, Searl A, Maynard RL, Donaldson K (2000) In vitro toxicology of respirable Montserrat volcanic ash. Occup Environ Med 57:727–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zanobetti A, Schwartz J, Samoli E, Gryparis A, Touloumi G, Atkinson R, Le Tertre A, Bobros J, Celko M et al. (2002) The temporal pattern of mortality responses to air pollution: a multicity assessment of mortality displacement. Epidemiology 13(1):87–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Horwell
    • 1
  • R. S. J. Sparks
    • 1
  • T. S. Brewer
    • 2
  • E. W. Llewellin
    • 1
  • B. J. Williamson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesBristol UniversityBristolUK
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  3. 3.Department of MineralogyThe Natural History MuseumLondonUK

Personalised recommendations