Volcanic Ash Falls on Chiswick

Dust from Iceland appears out of clear blue sky

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According to the Independent newspaper, residents of Chiswick have reported that their cars have been covered with a coating of dust and ash which they believe has come from the Icelandic volcano eruption.

The debris fell from the sky which was completely clear at the time. Chiswick has been experiencing an unprecedented blue sky free of vapour trails from aeroplanes.

The dust has a sulphur like smell and there have been similar reports in other parts of the country. Scientists are now testing the deposits to assess any potential health risks. Initial tests from three samples of dust tested by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency suggested any risks were "minimal".

ChiswickW4.com has not had any direct reports of this nature.

Dr Dougal Jerram, a volcanologist from the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University is quoted on the BBC web site as saying "One of the most influential ever eruptions was the 1783-1784 event at Laki in Iceland when an estimated 120 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide were emitted,"

A thick haze spread across Western Europe, resulting in many thousands of deaths throughout 1783 and the winter of 1784. Following that event, many people reported seeing a "volcanic haze" near the ground. The current ash plume is not visible from ground level and the latest eruption is also much smaller than the one in the 18th century with scientists expecting it to dissipate in the next few days.

Health experts are advising people to remain indoors if they are aware of dust falls occurring or they detect a sulphuric smell but it is not believed that the health risks are significant at this stage.

April 18, 2010