Characterization of Aerosols from Eruptions of Mount St. Helens

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Science  20 Feb 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4484, pp. 830-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4484.830


Measurements of mass concentration and size distribution of aerosols from eruptions of Mount St. Helens as well as morphological and elemental analyses were obtained between 7 April and 7 August 1980. In situ measurements were made in early phreatic and later, minor phreatomagmatic eruption clouds near the vent of the volcano and in plumes injected into the stratosphere from the major eruptions of 18 and 25 May. The phreatic aerosol was characterized by an essentially monomodal size distribution dominated by silicate particles larger than 10 micrometers in diameter. The phreatomagmatic eruption cloud was multimodal; the large size mode consisted of silicate particles and the small size modes were made up of mixtures of sulfuric acid and silicate particles. The stratospheric aerosol from the main eruption exhibited a characteristic narrow single mode with particles less than 1 micrometer in diameter and nearly all of the mass made up of sulfuric acid droplets.