Volcanic ash as a resource for future research on Earth and the Moon

Butcher, Alan R.; Windmill, Richard; Corfe, Ian J.; Lim, Sungwoo; Jolis, Ester M.; Lukkari, Sari; Pankhurst, Matt J.; Barbee, Olivia A.; Coldwell, Beverley C.; Rodriguez, Nemesio Perez; White, Lee F.; Dunford, Alice and Anand, Mahesh (2023). Volcanic ash as a resource for future research on Earth and the Moon. Geology Today, 39(4) pp. 144–148.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gto.12442


When a volcano erupts, it is often associated with destruction, particularly damage to infrastructure and loss of life. But these natural events also offer unexpected research opportunities, leading to serendipitous discoveries. This was the case for the volcanic events that made the headlines during 19 September to 25 December 2021, on the Canarian Island of La Palma. Rather than viewing the voluminous ash that erupted as a waste material needing to be removed as soon as possible, we saw the many possibilities that this remarkable material could offer science and engineering. Sustainability is a word that is commonly used in connection with geology these days. Here we present some possibilities of how the La Palma ash can be re‐purposed for use on this planet but also help us to develop new ideas for the future living on the Moon.

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