Photo Information

Ash stirred up by moving vehicles on city street, Philippines
Photograph by W.E.Scott on June 26, 1991

Wind and moving vehicles stir up volcanic ash less than 2 weeks after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991. Because volcanic ash consists of tiny pieces rock and volcanic glass, ash infiltrates most everything and can abrade or scratch most surfaces, especially between moving parts of vehicles and machinery.

For example, seals on hydraulic components of construction equipment and farm machinery may wear out faster than usual, requiring frequent replacement. Brakes and brake assemblies are especially vulnerable to abrasion and clogging from ash. Also, the tiny particles easily clog air-filtration systems on vehicles, which can lead to overheating and engine failure. Strategies for reducing the effects of ash on machinery involve frequent oil changes, cleaning or replacing air filters, using air pressure (< 30 lbs/in2) to blow ash from electrical equipment and other essential engine components (for example, alternator, starter, wiper motor, and radiator), and frequently cleaning vehicles with water to wash away the ash.

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Last modification: 9 November 1999 (SRB)