Science news: where volcanic ash comes down, children’s “Magic sand“ and granular flow, forest colors and permafrost, vibrations reveal deep-sea faults

Volcanic plume associated with the April-May 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano (Iceland) and Scanning Electron Microscope image of a typical ash cluster made of micrometric volcanic particles collected on an adhesive paper during fallout. Credit: UNIGE, Costanza Bonadonna

Recent discoveries about our planet, its rocks, and other “stone” topics

(Foto above) How do you know where volcanic ash will end up? Scientists discovered two effects of ash sedimentation that will improve our ability to predict the danger posed by volcanic ash clouds. We remember: When the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted in April 2010, air traffic was interrupted for six days and then disrupted until May

Microscopy images (top) and corresponding piles of sand (bottom) for different mixing ratios of coated and uncoated sand. (b) Microscopy images showing threads of silicone oil between coated sand particles, and the lack of threads between uncoated and coated grains. Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan UniversityChildren’s “Magic sand“ might help to understand the physics of granular matter: scientists discovered that adding silicone-coated sand beyond a certain threshold leads to an abrupt change in clustering and rigidity, a simple, useful way to potentially tune the flow of granular materials for industry

The Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest near Fairbanks, Alaska covers an area north of the Tanana River and south of the Parks Highway, roughly in the center of this image. Credit: Veronika DöpperResearchers developed a method of using satellite imagery to measure the depth of thaw directly above permafrost in boreal ecosystems. Rather than trying to peer past vegetation, they propose a unique solution that analysis variations in forest color

Using a method to better locate the source of weak tremors from regions with complex geological features, researchers found that many tremors originate from the shear zone Credit: Takeshi Tsuji, Kyushu UniversityMaking sense of commotion under the ocean to locate tremors near deep-sea faults: Scientists have pioneered a new method for more accurately estimating the source of weak ground vibrations in areas where one tectonic plate is sliding under another in the sea.

(11.03.2021, USA: 03.11.2021)