Rock and Glass Shards Blanket La Soufriére

Rock and Glass Shards Blanket La Soufriére

Although winds have carried some ash plumes great distances, clouds of the tiny pulverized rock and glass shards have also rained down on the island and the Atlantic Ocean. Volcanic ash is quite different than the soft, fluffy material you might find in a fireplace, and the sharp edges and other properties of volcanic particles make them especially problematic. Ash plumes pose a threat to aircraft because the particles can damage jet engines, propellers, and other aircraft systems in ways that can cause them to fail. Wet volcanic ash can even conduct electricity, meaning it can trigger short circuits and the failure of some electronic equipment. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey, and ICESat-2 data from the National Snow & Ice Center courtesy of Stephen Palm/NASA GSFC.

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