We will also seek the help of the public, and particularly schools, in future eruptions.
In 2011, the British Geological Survey also worked with the Met Office to ensure samples were collected at manned weather stations across the UK.
All the samples are being analysed by the British Geological Survey and Edinburgh University.
The analyses are being carried out using several techniques depending on the size and nature of the sample.
The results will be used to confirm where ash fell in the UK and to help us better understand the characteristics of the small proportion of fine ash that falls so far from an erupting volcano.
We will be looking carefully at the size, shape, composition and other properties of ash grains.
The images and descriptions of ash grains on this page are from from samples sent from Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney.
These images show that the magma was fragmented by two explosive processes: bursting of gas bubbles in the magma and interaction with water (rapid expansion of steam).
Contact Dr Sue Loughlin for further information.