Volcanic emissions and atmospheric pollution: A study of nanoparticles

Erika M. Trejos, Luis F.O. Silva, James C. Hower, Eriko M.M. Flores, Carlos Mario González, Jorge E. Pachón, Beatriz H. Aristizábal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The influence of emissions of an active volcano on the composition of nanoparticles and ultrafine road dust was identified in an urban area of the Andes. Although many cities are close to active volcanoes, few studies have evaluated their influence in road dust composition. Air quality in urban areas is significantly affected by non-exhaust emissions (e.g. road dust, brake wear, tire wear), however, natural sources such as volcanoes also impact the chemical composition of the particles. In this study, elements from volcanic emissions such as Si > Al > Fe > Ca > K > Mg, and Si[sbnd]Al with K were identified as complex hydrates. Similarly, As, Hg, Cd, Pb, As, H, Cd, Pb, V, and salammoniac were observed in nanoparticles and ultrafine material. Mineral composition was detected in the order of quartz> mullite> calcite> kaolinite> illite> goethite> magnetite> zircon> monazite, in addition to salammoniac, a tracer of volcanic sources. The foregoing analysis reflects the importance of carrying out more studies relating the influence of volcanic emissions in road dust in order to protect human health. The road dust load (RD10) ranged between 0.8 and 26.8 mg m−2 in the city.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-755
Number of pages10
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks to Fulvio Amato and Xavier Querol from the Spanish Research Council to facilitate the road dust equipment. An acknowledgment to Omar Ramirez for their discussions during the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Amorphous phases
  • Nanoparticles
  • Potential hazardous elements
  • Road dust
  • Volcano zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)


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