Use of magnetic hysteresis properties and electron spin resonance spectroscopy for the identification of volcanic ash: A preliminary study

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This initial study investigates the possible use of hysteresis parameters and electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy to identify and correlate volcanic ash. ESR and hysteresis properties are sensitive to characteristics such as the chemical composition, mineralogy, and grain size and shape. These characteristics are determined by the tectonic setting of the volcano and by the magmatic and eruptive history of the volcanic ash. Hysteresis properties and ESR spectra, therefore, should be distinct for each ash eruption and may help to identify the eruptive source of the ash and to correlate ash from unknown sources. We conducted ESR spectroscopy at room temperature and magnetic hysteresis measurements on 19 samples of a single ash, the 1974 October 14 eruption of the Fuego volcano, Guatemala, and on single samples of ash obtained from eight different volcanoes. The Fuego ash samples were obtained at increasing distances from the volcano. For the single Fuego ash, ESR spectra and hysteresis parameters become increasingly similar as the distance from the volcano increases. At distances greater than 30 km, ESR spectra and hysteresis properties are uniform. The variability of magnetic and ESR properties with distance from Fuego is due to the preferential fall-out of pbenocrysts doser to the volcano. At large distances, the ash is more uniform, containing more glass and microcrystals. All eight ash samples from the different volcanoes can be distinguished from the distal Fuego 1974 October 14 ash using ESR spectra and hysteresis parameters. These results suggest that ESR and hysteresis measurements have a potential to be used as tools to identify distal ash when used in conjunction with geochemical, mineralogical and or other types of data.

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Geophysical Journal International