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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.

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


1. Fresh Bilge » Differential Flow - 2 June 2008

[…] The Volcanism Blog has linked a NASA photo taken on May 30 before the weather closed in. Today clouds have obscured Chaitén’s activity again. Buenos Aires VAAC has dropped from code red to orange again. Continuous emission reportedly continues, but its vigor has waned again since the May 30-1 spasm. The photo demonstrates differential wind flow with height. At low levels, mild northerly winds were blowing in advance of the bad weather approaching out to sea. Ash from dome collapses was carried south and southwest at a low elevation, filling all the valleys with murk. Meanwhile a much stronger punch of hot gas was rising to higher elevation and pluming eastward with upper level westerlies. The shadow of this plume is plainly visible on the lower, southward-fanning clouds of ash and vapor, as winter sun slants from the top of the photo. Cool, eh? Posted at 6:10 PM | | […]

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