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Open Access Open Badges Methodology

Homemade ashmeter: a low-cost, high-efficiency solution to improve tephra field-data collection for contemporary explosive eruptions

Benjamin Bernard

Author Affiliations

Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Diego de Robles y Vía Interoceánica, Quito, Ecuador

Journal of Applied Volcanology 2013, 2:1  doi:10.1186/2191-5040-2-1

Published: 9 January 2013


Tephra fall is a major volcanic hazard and deposit characteristics are critical data used to quantify eruptive material. The homemade ashmeter is a device used to precisely measure thickness, area density, and bulk density of small ash deposits (< 20 mm). This instrument provides both direct measurements in the field and sample collection for laboratory analysis. The primary purpose of this device is to collect fallout from small-volume and distal eruption clouds. The homemade ashmeter is composed of an outer container, a funnel, an inner gauge, and a filter cap, and permits sampling without major weathering effects. It is constructed using mostly recycled materials, thus is very cost effective. To test this system, seven instruments were installed during the January 14 – March 16, 2012 eruption of Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador. The ashmeter allows the measurement and sampling of small tephra falls that can be used to improve fallout hazard assessments.

Ashmeter; Volcanology; Tephra, sampling; Thickness; Area density; Bulk density; Homemade; Tungurahua; Resolution calculations