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Maters, Elena C.; Delmelle, Pierre; Rossi, Michel J.; Ayris, Paul M.; Bernard, Alain (2016): Controls on the surface chemical reactivity of volcanic ash investigated with probe gases. In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 450: pp. 254-262
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Increasing recognition that volcanic ash emissions can have significant impacts on the natural and human environment calls for a better understanding of ash chemical reactivity as mediated by its surface characteristics. However, previous studies of ash surface properties have relied on techniques that lack the sensitivity required to adequately investigate them. Here we characterise at the molecular monolayer scale the surfaces of ash erupted from Eyjafjallajokull, Tungurahua, Pinatubo and Chaiten volcanoes. Interrogation of the ash with four probe gases, trimethylamine (TMA;N(CH3)(3)), trifluoroacetic acid (TFA;CF3COOH), hydroxylamine (HA;NH2OH) and ozone (O-3), reveals the abundances of acid-base and redox sites on ash surfaces. Measurements on aluminosilicate glass powders, as compositional proxies for the primary constituent of volcanic ash, are also conducted. We attribute the greater proportion of acidic and oxidised sites on ash relative to glass surfaces, evidenced by comparison of TMA/TFA and HA/O-3 uptake ratios, in part to ash interaction with volcanic gases and condensates (e.g., H2O, SO2, H2SO4, HCI, HF) during the eruption. The strong influence of ash surface processing in the eruption plume and/or cloud is further supported by particular abundances of oxidised and reduced sites on the ash samples resulting from specific characteristics of their eruptions of origin. Intense interaction with water vapour may result in a higher fraction of oxidised sites on ash produced by phreatomagmatic than by magmatic activity. This study constitutes the first quantification of ash chemical properties at the molecular monolayer scale, and is an important step towards better understanding the factors that govern the role of ash as a chemical agent within atmospheric, terrestrial, aquatic or biotic systems. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.