Volcanics for construction (VOLCAON) summary report. (IR/01/123).


The Volcanics for Construction (VOLCON) project commenced in September 1998 and finished in August 2001. The goal of the project was to improve understanding of the engineering properties of geological materials in developing countries and to develop new engineering and environmental applications for their use. The project purpose was to stimulate local industry to invest in developing new construction and other uses for volcanic raw materials. The outputs that have achieved these aims are

(1) Strategies to evaluate volcanic rocks

(2) Recommendations and advice on suitable raw materials and potential uses

(3) Field and laboratory studies in collaboration to develop a local capacity to evaluate volcanic raw materials

(4) Workshops, a strategy forum and seminars to train collaborators and disseminate advice and project results

(5) A comprehensive manual on the evaluation and end-uses of volcanic rocks as industrial raw materials, supported by more detailed technical reports on specific investigations

The VOLCON project has been led by a team at the British Geological Survey comprising Steve Mathers (Project Manager), David Harrison, Peter Dunkley, Clive Mitchell, Simon Inglethorpe, Ellie Steadman (nee Evans) and Claire Cotton. Other UK-based collaborators have included Ted Sibbick of the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE); Martin Woodbridge from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Mike Allen of Mike Allen Associates. The other key participants have been John Kagasi (Department of Mines and Geology, Nairobi, Kenya), Zacharia Bongole (Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Dodoma, Tanzania) Fernando Alvarado (ICE, San José, Costa Rica), Mario Maya (INGEOMINAS, Bogota, Colombia), José Gómez and Bolivar Flores (DINAGE - formerly CODIGEM, Quito, Ecuador). The overall project budget was £230K.

The VOLCON project has sought to increase awareness of the many potential uses to which volcanic raw materials can be put. These include construction applications such as aggregate, building and dimension stone, and pozzolanic additives. Other more specialized uses can be found for products such as expanded perlite which forms a useful loose fill material with good fire retarding and sound insulation properties, whilst many zeolite-rich rocks are pozzolans and possess a host of potential environmental and agricultural applications utilizing their ability to exchange cations and act as sieves at the molecular scale. This account is structured following the eight defined activities-phases in the project documentation.

This report is available for downloading in full colour (363 kb) and black and white (363 kb).


Mathers, S. Volcanics for construction (VOLCAON) summary report. (IR/01/123). (2001)

Volcanics for construction (VOLCAON) summary report. (IR/01/123).

Published 1 January 2001