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Stunning Sarychev Peak picture from the NASA Earth Observatory 19 June 2009

Posted by admin in NASA Earth Observatory, Russia, Sarychev Peak, volcano images.
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Sarychev Peak eruption, Kuril Islands, 12 June 2009 (ISS astronaut photograph/NASA Earth Observatory)

The people at the NASA Earth Observatory have been doing a wonderful job of covering the current eruption at Sarychev Peak in the Kuril Islands, but they have really excelled themselves with their latest image: this stunning astronaut photograph of the volcano taken from the International Space Station on 12 June 2009, at an early stage of this eruption. There’s so much of interest to talk about here: the dark ashy plume punching upwards through the atmosphere almost vertically (little shearing wind at this stage), the pileus or cap of white cloud atop the plume, the pyroclastic flows ringing the volcano’s peak, and the neat circle in the surrounding cloud that has been the focus of much discussion among commenters over at Eruptions. Mostly, though, one just wants to sit back and look at this picture and go ‘WOW’.

Here’s a detail taken from the large version of the image. The light-coloured pyroclastic flow descending the volcano’s flanks towards the bottom of the image is an absolute beauty:

Sarychev Peak eruption, Kuril Islands, 12 June 2009 (ISS astronaut photograph/NASA Earth Observatory)

The original (un-rotated and un-cropped) image can be found at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of the Earth.

NASA Earth Observatory: Sarychev Peak eruption, Kuril Islands (18 June 2009)

[Date corrected to 12 June - got so excited over the image, I'd put July. Thanks, Martin!]

UPDATE: The image above is just one of thirty pictures of the eruption taken from the International Space Station. Boris Behncke has submitted a very helpful comment explaining how to get hold of all of them via the Gateway to Astronaut Photography: check out his comment below for the instructions.

FURTHER UPDATE (25 June 2009): This dramatic image has achieved very wide coverage across the media since the NASA Earth Observatory featured it, and the ‘circle in the clouds’ around the eruption column in particular has attracted a lot of comment and debate. At the original Earth Observatory page for the image an editorial comment has been added summarizing the different interpretations of this phenomenon (scroll down to ‘Editor’s note’) without coming down in favour of any particular explanation. Here at The Volcanism Blog we’ll have more to say about this image tomorrow next week (been very busy, sorry).

For all our Sarychev Peak coverage: Sarychev Peak « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Sarychev Peak – summary information for Sarychev Peak (0900-24=)
Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) – organization monitoring Kuril volcanoes
SVERT status reports – current and archived alerts and status reports

The Volcanism Blog

Shiveluch image from the NASA Earth Observatory 14 May 2009

Posted by admin in Kamchatka, NASA Earth Observatory, Russia, Shiveluch.
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Shiveluch volcano, 10 May 2009 (NASA Terra image)

The NASA Earth Observatory has published a lovely image today of the Kamchatkan volcano Shiveluch erupting, captured on 10 May 2009 the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The white colour of the northward-directed plume shows that it is predominantly steam, while brown ash deposits from previous eruptions blanket the snow around the volcano’s summit. Shiveluch is one of the most frequently active Kamchatka volcanoes.

NASA Earth Observatory: Plume from Shiveluch volcano (14 May 2009).

[NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. That's a lot of abbreviations, even for a NASA image credit.]

Lots of volcano-related Earth Observatory images here: NASA Earth Observatory « The Volcanism Blog.

The Volcanism Blog

Happy 10th birthday NASA Earth Observatory 30 April 2009

Posted by admin in anniversaries, NASA Earth Observatory.
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Happy 10th birthday to the NASA Earth Observatory, which has been bringing us wonderful images of the Earth from space since 29 April 1999. Congratulations and many happy returns to the Earth Observatory and to all the hard-working people behind the scenes who have made it such a marvellous web resource for the last decade.

The voting for the ten favourite images of the day from the last ten years is now complete, and the winners are available for viewing here: Top 10 Images of the Day. Not a volcano among them, sadly, so to make up for that here’s a favourite of mine:

Chaitén volcano erupting, 19 January 2009 (NASA Aster/Terra image)
Chaitén volcano erupting, 19 January 2009. Captured by the ASTER equipment on NASA’s Terra satellite. Featured at the NASA Earth Observatory 22 January 2009.

The Volcanism Blog

Volcano images from NASA Earth Observatory 19 April 2009

Posted by admin in Alaska, Chile, Ecuador, Fernandina, Llaima, NASA Earth Observatory, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Rabaul, Redoubt, Tonga, United States, volcano images.
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A lot has been going on around the world, volcanically speaking, over the past few weeks, and the NASA Earth Observatory has been featuring some wonderful satellite imagery of current volcanic events.

Submarine eruption in the Tonga Islands (NASA image, 26 March 2009)
Submarine eruption in the Tonga Islands (acquired 26 March 2009): an ASTER image from NASA’s Terra satellite showing new land created by the eruption at Hunga Ha’apai, sediment-laden water around the island, and evidence of the destruction of vegetation by the volcanic action.

Plume from Mount Redoubt (NASA image, 26 March 2009)
Plume from Mount Redoubt (acquired 26 March 2009): a series of images captured by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) of the plume produced by Mount Redoubt between 09:00 and 11:30 local time on 26 March 2009.

Plume from Rabaul volcano (NASA image, 3 April 2009)
Plume from Rabaul Volcano (acquired 3 April 2009): a MODIS image from NASA’s Aqua satellite shows an off-white plume (suggesting mainly water vapour content) from Rabaul blowing away to the south-east.

Sulfur dioxide plume from Isla Fernandina (NASA image, 14 April 2009)
Sulfur dioxide plume from Isla Fernandina (aquired 14 April 2009): the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite captured data on the SO2 plume emitted by the eruption of Fernandina in the Galapagos Islands.

Plume from Mount Pagan (NASA image, 15 April 2009)
Plume from Mount Pagan (acquired 15 April 2009): a MODIS image from NASA’s Terra satellite shows a gas-and-steam plume released by an eruption of Mount Pagan in the Mariana Islands.

Eruption from Llaima volcano, Chile (NASA image, 16 April 2009)
Eruption from Llaima volcano, Chile (acquired 16 April 2009): the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite captured a stunning unobstructed view of Llaima’s barren, lava-layered summit area.

The NASA Earth Observatory is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, and is inviting everyone to vote on their favourite Images of the Day from the last ten years of wonderful satellite imagery. Seven of the fifty finalists are volcano-related, and any one of them would be a worthy winner.

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén is MODIS image of the day 16 December 2008

Posted by admin in Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
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Chaiten, 11 December 2008 (NASA MODIS image)

At NASA’s MODIS website, Chaitén is the image of the day for 14 December 2008. The image was captured by the Terra satellite on 11 December 2008 and shows a faint plume blowing westwards from the volcano, which is marked by a red hotspot outline. Significant ashfall on the surrounding landscape is clearly visible, and ash can be seen being washed into the Gulf of Corcovado from the mouth of the Chaitén river.

The image is available in three resolutions (the detail above comes from the 1 pixel = 250m image). And the informative commentary for the image includes a link to The Volcanism Blog and says nice things about us, which is much appreciated.

NASA MODIS image of the day, 14 December 2008: Chaiten volcano activity

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén: thermal image from 31 May 2008 6 June 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions, natural hazards.
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The image below was captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on 31 May 2008. The original can be viewed, with commentary, at the NASA Earth Observatory.

satellite image from 31 May 2008 (NASA)

This is a thermal image: the hotter something is, the lighter its colour. Thus the seat of the current eruption, the lava dome within Chaitén’s caldera, is the hottest and brightest part of the image.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén << The Volcanism Blog

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office (Spanish)
SERNAGEOMIN – volcanology information from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén: NASA satellite image 2 June 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
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A new satellite image of the ongoing eruption at Chaitén volcano has been published at the NASA Earth Observatory Natural Hazards site. The picture was taken on 31 May 2008 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

NASA image of Chaiten eruption, 31 May 2008

The grey-white colour of the eruption plume indicates that it consists mainly of water vapour, but ashfall can be seen to the south, where heavy clouds of ash are hugging the topography and filling the valleys. To the east, over Argentina, the plume disperses above a landscape stained grey by earlier ashfall.

The red square indicates that the satellite detected a thermal anomaly at the summit of the volcano; this is apparently the first time Chaitén has triggered the MODIS fire detection alogorithm. This hot spot may indicate the presence of a shallow body of magma just beneath the new lava dome. It is however difficult to tell, even from the high resolution (799KB) version of the image, just where the anomaly is located, within or beyond the area of current activity.

UPDATE: Alan Sullivan has a nice commentary on this image at Fresh Bilge.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
Erupción del Volcán Chaitén – extensive coverage of the Chaitén eruption
Global Volcanism Program: Llaima – summary information for Llaima (1507-11=)
Proyecto Observación Visual Volcán Llaima – Llaima Visual Observation Project
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Chile

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén update, 31 May 2008 31 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
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The latest from SERNAGEOMIN is the following bulletin, dated 30 May 2008:

30.05.2008 SERNAGEOMIN bulletin concerning the Chaitén volcano

Permanent eruptive activity continues in a subplinian phase.

On 28 May the eruptive column remained between 3.5 and 4km above sea level and the plume was blown in a northerly/north-westerly direction, affecting areas hundreds of kilometres to the north and forcing the closure of airports in Puerto Montt, Osorno, Temuco and Valdivia.

At lower altitudes, orographic winds from the east dispersed ash westwards to affect areas along the coast between Chaitén and Chumildén, in addition to the island of Talcán. This zone was covered by a dense haze produced by ash in suspension, which prevented the carrying out of overflights.

image dated 26 May 2008 from SERNAGEOMIN

[Caption for the above image: Crater of Chaitén volcano and southern flank of the old volcanic dome on 26 May 2008. Towards the north two columns of gases and ashes can be seen, the southernmost of which contains a large amount of water vapour, while the other has more abundant emissions of ash and pumice. On the left the western part of the active dome can be seen.]

Seismic activity

During the past few days the VT [volcano-tectonic] earthquakes have continued to decline, both in number and magnitude. No hybrid [quakes] have been detected, that would be associated with the growth of the dome, nor long-period earthquakes that are associated with the movements of magma and gases. The foregoing confirms a continuing decrease in seismic activity.

In consequence, the decline in seismicity has coincided with a decrease in the heights of the eruptive columns, as confirmed over the week. Finally, although seismic activity and the intensity of the explosions have fallen, we cannot exclude the possibility of the occurrence of major explosions caused by obstruction of the eruptive conduit, which could produce the partial destruction of the dome and the generation of pyroclastic flows.

The latest GOES-12 satellite image from the Argentine Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, taken at 17:45 UTC on 30 May 2008, shows a smallish northward-trending plume from Chaitén, with ash fallout visible across a large area to the west of the plume. Below is a detail view of the Chaitén area: the volcano is slighly left of centre. The full-size image from which this detail comes is here.

Servicio Meteorológico Nacional - Imagen de satélite Visible Goes-12 en alta resolución

ONEMI says there was an earthquake at 22:25 local time yesterday in the Hornopirén area north of Chaitén (the same locality as the quakes of 28/29 May), level 3 on the Mercalli scale, but no-one else seems to have any information about it. Nothing in the press, nor from the USGS or any of the other earthquake reporting services, nor even Chile’s own Servicio Sismológico. UPDATE: the Servicio Sismológico now have a report about the quake: their bulletin is here. They say it was a 4.5M quake, at a depth of only 6.2km.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office (Spanish)
SERNAGEOMIN – volcanology information from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén engulfed: satellite image, 19 May 2008 30 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
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This satellite image of Chaitén town, engulfed by river-borne volcanic deposits and other material, has just been published by the NASA Earth Observatory.

Chaitén flooded by volcanic ash and debris

A very large version of this photograph (2990 x 2990 pixels, 3.15MB) can be accessed from the EO page for this image, or directly by clicking here. A larger version of the overview of the Chaitén area shown below (1825 x 2250 pixels, 860KB), without the captions, can also be accessed from the same page, or by clicking here.

Overview of the Chaitén area

Credit: Formosat image © 2008 Dr. Cheng-Chien Liu, National Cheng-Kung University, and Dr. An-Ming Wu, National Space Organization, Taiwan.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office (Spanish)
SERNAGEOMIN – volcanology information from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog

Chaitén satellite image, 28 May 2008 30 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
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This satellite image, available at the NASA MODIS Rapid Response Image Gallery, shows the Chaitén eruption plume at 18:40 UTC on 28 May 2008. The image was captured by the Aqua satellite.

Chaitén eruption plume at 18:40 UTC on 28 May 2008 (NASA)

The main image above shows the emissions blowing due north from Chaitén in a steady, dense white plume which does not begin to dissipate until it is 150-200km north of the volcano. At this stage the wind was keeping the plume almost entirely along the Chilean coast: as a result of the dangers posed by the ash cloud, internal flights to southern towns were cancelled. Some ashfall is visible on the western side of the plume, and volcanic deposits can be seen in the sea and stretches of inland water. The close-up below shows the volcano and the surrounding districts at a larger scale of 1px=1km. Even larger-scale images, showing remarkable detail, are available: 1px=250m, 1px=500m. NASA calls these ‘alternate’ pixel sizes; they mean ‘alternative’, of course.

Chaitén eruption plume at 18:40 UTC on 28 May 2008 (NASA)

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office (Spanish)
SERNAGEOMIN – volcanology information from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog

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