Climatologists started to study the effect of volcanic dust in the atmosphere using Krakatoa as the baseline and today we have the International Airways Volcano Watch (IAVW) system for the safety of air transport following volcano eruptions.
Since volcanic ash is composed of very abrasive silica materials, it can damage the airframe and flight surfaces, clog different systems, abrade cockpit windows and flame-out jet engines constituting a serious safety hazard. Volcanic ash can also have a serious effect on aerodromes located downwind of a volcanic ash plume since it contaminates runways, ground equipment and aircraft parked or taxiing around the aerodrome.
The IAVW system is designed to detect and track the movement of volcanic ash in the atmosphere and to warn aircraft in flight about this hazard. There are nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres responsible for the provision of information related to areas affected by volcanic ash and its future movement. The centres are located at Anchorage, Buenos Aires, Darwin, London, Montreal, Tokyo, Toulouse, Washington and Wellington.
Deep underground, Vulcan, the blacksmith to the gods, keeps his forge going constantly building up enough heat and pressure in readiness for the time to ‘blow its top’ and throw debris and dust into the atmosphere