Ash generation and distribution from the April-May 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

Magnus T. Gudmundsson, Thorvaldur Thordarson, A. Hoskuldsson, G. Larsen, Halldor Bjornsson, Fred Prata, Bjorn Oddsson, Eyjolfur Magnusson, Thordis Hognadottir, Gudrun Nina Pedersen, Chris Hayward, John Stevenson, Ingibjorg Jonsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 39-day long eruption at the summit of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April–May 2010 was of modest size but
ash was widely dispersed. By combining data from ground surveys and remote sensing we show that the
erupted material was 4.8±1.2*1011 kg (benmoreite and trachyte, dense rock equivalent volume
0.18±0.05 km3). About 20% was lava and water-transported tephra, 80% was airborne tephra (bulk volume
0.27 km3) transported by 3–10 km high plumes. The airborne tephra was mostly fine ash (diameter ,1000
mm). At least 7*1010 kg (70 Tg) was very fine ash (<28 μm), several times more than previously estimated via
satellite retrievals. About 50% of the tephra fell in Iceland with the remainder carried towards south and east,
detected over ∼7 million km2 in Europe and the North Atlantic. Of order 1010 kg (2%) are considered to have
been transported longer than 600–700 km with <108 kg (,0.02%) reaching mainland Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date14 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2012


  • Eyjafjallajökull
  • ash-cloud
  • Icelandic eruptions
  • volcanic hazard
  • ash-generation


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