Image of the month - February

tephra

This month's image is a scanning electron micrograph of a tephra particle with a "winged" morphology. Tephra is particulate material produced by volcanic eruptions. This particular shard is from a sample of the 1362 AD eruption of Öræfajökull volcano, southern Iceland. The micrograph was taken by Ben Thompson, an undergraduate project student working for Dr Alison MacLeod in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. Characterising tephra from geological deposits is one of the ways in which Alison establishes the age of the deposits, in her studies of climate change. The winged structure seen here results from the formation of gas bubbles in the molten rock.

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