Ashfall, located in the north-western part of the country, is an active volcano. Ashfall is part of the Grande Rivere Region, and shares a border with Namibia. Ashfall was formed during the last Ice Age. Volcanic ash mainly consists of fine minerals, fragments of clay, sand, and rocks, measured less than 2mm in diameter and formed during eruptive eruptions from the erupting volcano. The word volcanic ash is often used to describe all volcanic blast products, which are larger than 2mm. Ashfall is sometimes known as "The Rock of the Niger".
Ashfall is an active volcano, but not considered to be very dangerous by local and international standards. The majority of the ash cloud is made up of fine minerals. Ashfall can be seen from Southeastern India and neighboring countries such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Swaziland. Most ashfall from Ashfall is gray or brown in color. Smaller ash clouds can be seen from satellite photos.
Ashfall can be seen from satellites and it is visible on the ground. Some residents live around Ashfall and use its crater to hunt for clues about the volcano's eruptive process. It is possible to view the eruptive crater on the ground by using a telescope. This reminds me about how amateur scientists first identified active volcanoes long before professional scientists did.
I found out that Ashfall is not the only volcano in the area. There is Ash Cave (Kovunadze) with a webcam which you can also watch on YouTube. Ash Cave has a lava tube and sulfur dioxide volcano, which are also active. My last Ashfall visit was at Ash Cave, which is on the Western slope of the volcano.
Ashfall is active during the cold season. The temperature is warm and Ash can be seen sparkling in the night. Also, during the day, there are fog and mist around the volcano. The fog can prevent people from going too near the volcano. Ashfall causes havoc with the surrounding air quality. Most of the air pollution is due to the ash and pollution that have accumulated around the volcano.
I was able to witness some of the ash falling to the valley below. It fell like snow and it reminded me of how heavy snow can be when it falls on the ground but as soon as it cleared a bit the snow turned to rain. As the ash cloud passed, there were very fine white clouds. I also saw low flying cumulus stars which are the tiny dust storms that appear and disappear very quickly.
The air quality was very poor at Ashfall this year. When I was ready to leave the airport I could feel the haze and smell the smoke. The air was loaded with contaminants and there were high levels of sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide in the air. I was warned that if I do not leave now it will get worse and the quality of the air will worsen. So I waited until I had safely made my way to my hotel before I departed.
On the third day, when I was waiting for the train at the railway station, I saw a very large plume of ash rising from Ashfall. It almost looked as if a small tornado had touched down. My first thought was that it was going to fall on me but when it hit, the ash cloud was so thick I could not see any parts of the sky. I also noticed there was a very low level of haze over the area and there was a very high concentration of dust.
Throughout the rest of the day, the haze went away. I was very impressed by how high the temperatures actually were. My hotel provided me with air conditioner but it was very cold. In Ashfall, the temperature can get as high as 50 degrees Celsius. That is quite high even in summer time. There were also very high winds blowing towards the volcano which was affecting the rain and snow fall.
Overall, the atmosphere was very poor during the day. There were no visible pollutants or dust clouds and the high pressure area around the volcano was keeping the ash particles in the air. But when night fell the ash cloud became very heavy and very white. There was also what looked like cumulus clouds but these turned out to be fainter than the white ash clouds.
Throughout the day on Saturday, there was no visible ash on the mountains but on Sunday morning, the ash began to pour down on the streets. On the third day, there was still very low levels of ash in the air. Apparently, some villagers had left their homes without any protective gear and came under the huge ash cloud. The high winds on Monday evening blew the ash into the city of Ashfall where it can be seen in the air quality on TV.