Composition of the Mount St. Helens Ashfall in the Moscow-Pullman Area on 18 May 1980

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  05 Sep 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4461, pp. 1125-1126
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4461.1125


Mineralogical and chemical analyses of the ashfall from Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980 indicate that there were two distinct ashes. The early dark ash is composed principally of plagioclase and lithic fragments of plagioclase and glass with titanium-rich magnetite and some basaltic hornblende and orthopyroxene. The later pale ash, four-fifths by weight of the whole fallout, is 80 percent glass with plagioclase as the principal crystalline phase. Quartz and potassium feldspar are rare to absent in both ashes. Chemical analyses of nine ash fractions and of the glass in each type emphasize the differences between the two ash types and their chemical homogeneity.