October 17, 2017, by Lindsay Brooke
Yesterday’s ‘red sky’ seen at the microscale
Images of particles from yesterday’s ‘red sky’ have been produced at the microscale by University of Nottingham geologist Dr Beth Steer.
The particles, collected from her car after the dust was rained out of the atmosphere were put under a scanning electron microscope using energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry to detect elemental abundances.
Having analysed the samples Dr Steer said: “The Saharan dust comprises of mostly quartz and an Si-Al rich phase that’s most likely a feldspar and clays. A lot of the rounded grains are quartz, the more jagged foliated ones are clays.
Dr Steer is based in the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre at the University of Nottingham. She is part of the team who produced the Periodic Table on a human hair and the Queen’s birthday message on a corgi hair.
Follow them on twitter @UoNnmRC