Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) intermittently emitted ash between 1999 and 2016, enduringly affecting the surrounding rural area and its population, but its health impact remains poorly documented. We aim to assess the respiratory health hazard posed by the 16–17 August 2006 most intense eruptive phase of Tungurahua. We mapped the spatial distribution of the health-relevant ash size fractions produced by the eruption in the area impacted by ash fallout. We quantified the mineralogy, composition, surface texture, and morphology of a respirable ash sample isolated by aerodynamic separation. We then assessed the cytotoxicity and pro-inflammatory potential of this respirable ash toward lung tissues in-vitro using A549 alveolar epithelial cells, by electron microscopy and biochemical assays. The eruption produced a high amount of inhalable and respirable ash (12.0–0.04 kg/m2 of sub-10 μm and 5.3–0.02 kg/m2 of sub-4 μm ash deposited). Their abundance and proportion vary greatly across the deposit within the first 20 km from the volcano. The respirable ash is characteristic of an andesitic magma and no crystalline silica is detected. Morphological features and surface textures are complex and highly variable, with few fibers observed. In-vitro experiments show that respirable volcanic ash is internalized by A549 cells and processed in the endosomal pathway, causing little cell damage, but resulting in changes in cell morphology and membrane texture. The ash triggers a weak pro-inflammatory response. These data provide the first understanding of the respirable ash hazard near Tungurahua and the extent to which it varies spatially in a fallout deposit.
|Title||Spatial distribution and physicochemical properties of respirable volcanic ash from the 16-17 August 2006 Tungurahua eruption (Ecuador), and alveolar epithelium response in-vitro|
|Authors||Julia Eychenne, Lucia Gurioli, David Damby, Corinne Belville, Federica Schiavi, Geoffroy Marceau, Claire Szczepaniak, Christelle Blavignac, Mickael Laumonier, Emmanuel Gardés, Jean-Luc Le Pennec, Jean-Marie Nedelec, Loic Blanchon, Vincent Sapin|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Volcano Science Center|