Volcanoes from outer space

NASA's striking photographs of erupting volcanoes as seen from space.

<b>The Cotopaxi Volcano:</b> On February 19, 2000, Space Shuttle Endeavour passed over the highly active and dangerous volcanic zone of the Andes in Ecuador. Endeavour mapped elevations on most of the Earth&acirc;s land surface during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). There have been more than 50 eruptions of Mt. Cotopaxi alone since 1738. The digital elevation model acquired by SRTM, with its resolution of 25 m x 25 m, is so rich in detail that you can even make out an inner crater with a diameter of 120 m by 250 m inside the outer crater (800 m x 650 m). Blue and green correspond to the lowest elevations in the image, while beige, orange, red, and white represent increasing elevations. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
volcanos from space
The Cotopaxi Volcano: On February 19, 2000, Space Shuttle Endeavour passed over the highly active and dangerous volcanic zone of the Andes in Ecuador. Endeavour mapped elevations on most of the Earthâs land surface during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). There have been more than 50 eruptions of Mt. Cotopaxi alone since 1738. The digital elevation model acquired by SRTM, with its resolution of 25 m x 25 m, is so rich in detail that you can even make out an inner crater with a diameter of 120 m by 250 m inside the outer crater (800 m x 650 m). Blue and green correspond to the lowest elevations in the image, while beige, orange, red, and white represent increasing elevations. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
<b>Santa Ana Volcano</b>, El Salvador: On October 1, 2005, El Salvador&acirc;s Santa Ana Volcano, also known as the Ilamatepec Volcano, erupted for the first time since 1904. The eruption reportedly shot out car-sized lava rocks and a flood of boiling mud and water. This false-color image was made from data collected by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA&acirc;s Terra satellite on February 3, 2001, well before the 2005 eruption. The Santa Ana volcano rises on the left side of the image, forming a large flat-topped mound and sports several crescent-like craters at its summit and a 20-kilometer-long system of fissures. A tiny blue spot in the center of the inner-most crater is a crater lake, the likely source of the boiling water flood. Behind Santa Ana is a large caldera lake inside the Coatepeque Caldera, created when a series of volcanoes collapsed in explosive eruptions between 57,000 and 72,000 years ago. In the foreground is El Salvador&acirc;s newest volcano, Izalco, which sprang up in 1770 and erupted frequently until 1966. The young volcano isn&acirc;t covered in vegetation (red in this image), but remains black with recent lava flows. Santa Ana is the highest point in El Salvador. The volcano is 2,381 meters (7,812 feet) above sea level and is 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of the country&acirc;s capital, San Salvador. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS/U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team/ Robert Simmon
volcanos from space
Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador: On October 1, 2005, El Salvadorâs Santa Ana Volcano, also known as the Ilamatepec Volcano, erupted for the first time since 1904. The eruption reportedly shot out car-sized lava rocks and a flood of boiling mud and water. This false-color image was made from data collected by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASAâs Terra satellite on February 3, 2001, well before the 2005 eruption. The Santa Ana volcano rises on the left side of the image, forming a large flat-topped mound and sports several crescent-like craters at its summit and a 20-kilometer-long system of fissures. A tiny blue spot in the center of the inner-most crater is a crater lake, the likely source of the boiling water flood. Behind Santa Ana is a large caldera lake inside the Coatepeque Caldera, created when a series of volcanoes collapsed in explosive eruptions between 57,000 and 72,000 years ago. In the foreground is El Salvadorâs newest volcano, Izalco, which sprang up in 1770 and erupted frequently until 1966. The young volcano isnât covered in vegetation (red in this image), but remains black with recent lava flows. Santa Ana is the highest point in El Salvador. The volcano is 2,381 meters (7,812 feet) above sea level and is 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of the countryâs capital, San Salvador. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS/U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team/ Robert Simmon
<b>Cleveland Volcano</b>, Aleutian Islands: At 3:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time on May 23, 2006, Flight Engineer Jeff Williams from International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 13 contacted the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to report that the Cleveland Volcano had produced a plume of ash. Shortly after the activity began, he took this photograph. This picture shows the ash plume moving west-southwest from the volcano&rsquo;s summit. A bank of fog (upper right) is a common feature around the Aleutian Islands. The event proved to be short-lived; two hours later, the plume had completely detached from the volcano. The AVO reported that the ash cloud height could have been as high as 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level.<br><br>Cleveland Volcano, situated on the western half of Chuginadak Island, is one of the most active of the volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, which extend west-southwest from the Alaska mainland. It is a stratovolcano, composed of alternating layers of hardened lava, compacted volcanic ash, and volcanic rocks.<br><br><br>
volcanos from space
Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands: At 3:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time on May 23, 2006, Flight Engineer Jeff Williams from International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 13 contacted the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to report that the Cleveland Volcano had produced a plume of ash. Shortly after the activity began, he took this photograph. This picture shows the ash plume moving west-southwest from the volcano’s summit. A bank of fog (upper right) is a common feature around the Aleutian Islands. The event proved to be short-lived; two hours later, the plume had completely detached from the volcano. The AVO reported that the ash cloud height could have been as high as 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level.

Cleveland Volcano, situated on the western half of Chuginadak Island, is one of the most active of the volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, which extend west-southwest from the Alaska mainland. It is a stratovolcano, composed of alternating layers of hardened lava, compacted volcanic ash, and volcanic rocks.


<b>Shiveluch Volcano:</b> On March 29, 2007, the Shiveluch Volcano on the Russian Federation's Kamchatka Peninsula erupted, sending an ash cloud skyward roughly 9,750 meters (32,000 feet). Satellites often capture images of volcanic ash plumes, but usually as the plumes are blowing away. This image, however, is different. It shows the gray-brown ash cloud suspended directly over the summit. At the time the Aqua satellite passed overhead, the local air was still enough to let the ash cloud hover. In this image, the bulbous cloud casts its shadow northward over the icy landscape. Volcanic ash eruptions inject particles into Earth's atmosphere; substantial eruptions of light-reflecting particles can reduce temperatures and even affect atmospheric circulation. Large eruptions may impact climate patterns for years. A massive eruption of the Tambora Volcano in Indonesia in 1815, for instance, earned 1816 the nickname "the year without a summer." Shiveluch is a stratovolcano -- steep-sloped volcano composed of alternating layers of solidified ash, hardened lava and volcanic rocks. One of Kamchatka's largest volcanoes, it sports a summit reaching 3,283 meters (10,771 feet). Shiveluch is also one of the peninsula's most active volcanoes, with an estimated 60 substantial eruptions in the past 10,000 years. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/MODIS Rapid Response Team
volcanos from space
Shiveluch Volcano: On March 29, 2007, the Shiveluch Volcano on the Russian Federation's Kamchatka Peninsula erupted, sending an ash cloud skyward roughly 9,750 meters (32,000 feet). Satellites often capture images of volcanic ash plumes, but usually as the plumes are blowing away. This image, however, is different. It shows the gray-brown ash cloud suspended directly over the summit. At the time the Aqua satellite passed overhead, the local air was still enough to let the ash cloud hover. In this image, the bulbous cloud casts its shadow northward over the icy landscape. Volcanic ash eruptions inject particles into Earth's atmosphere; substantial eruptions of light-reflecting particles can reduce temperatures and even affect atmospheric circulation. Large eruptions may impact climate patterns for years. A massive eruption of the Tambora Volcano in Indonesia in 1815, for instance, earned 1816 the nickname "the year without a summer." Shiveluch is a stratovolcano -- steep-sloped volcano composed of alternating layers of solidified ash, hardened lava and volcanic rocks. One of Kamchatka's largest volcanoes, it sports a summit reaching 3,283 meters (10,771 feet). Shiveluch is also one of the peninsula's most active volcanoes, with an estimated 60 substantial eruptions in the past 10,000 years. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/MODIS Rapid Response Team
<b>Aracar Volcano</b>, Andes Mountains: Aracar volcano is one of many volcanoes in the Andes Range that is located just east of the Argentina-Chile border. Well-preserved lava flows are found at its base. Prior to a report of ash columns from the summit in 1993, the volcano was not known to be active and very little is known of the volcano's age and history. Salars, the large whitish features are very common in the arid Andes. The term salar is used exclusively of the saltwater wetlands of the Puna (high Andes) and can describe not only salt lakes but also temporary marshes, shallow lakes and lagoons, or simply salt crust. The nearby Salar del Hombre Muerto is being put into mineral production. The endeavor is expected to become one of Argentina's biggest mines, producing up to 20,000 tons of lithium carbonate and lithium chloride per year, to be extracted by pumping from the area's lithium-rich saltbeds. This image was taken from the space shuttle on Feb. 20, 2000. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/UCSD/JSC
volcanos from space
Aracar Volcano, Andes Mountains: Aracar volcano is one of many volcanoes in the Andes Range that is located just east of the Argentina-Chile border. Well-preserved lava flows are found at its base. Prior to a report of ash columns from the summit in 1993, the volcano was not known to be active and very little is known of the volcano's age and history. Salars, the large whitish features are very common in the arid Andes. The term salar is used exclusively of the saltwater wetlands of the Puna (high Andes) and can describe not only salt lakes but also temporary marshes, shallow lakes and lagoons, or simply salt crust. The nearby Salar del Hombre Muerto is being put into mineral production. The endeavor is expected to become one of Argentina's biggest mines, producing up to 20,000 tons of lithium carbonate and lithium chloride per year, to be extracted by pumping from the area's lithium-rich saltbeds. This image was taken from the space shuttle on Feb. 20, 2000. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/UCSD/JSC
<b>Sarychev Volcano</b> A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev volcano (Russia&acirc;s Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain and is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island. Prior to June 12, the last explosive eruption had occurred in 1989 with eruptions in 1986, 1976, 1954 and 1946 also producing lava flows. Commercial airline flights were diverted from the region to minimize the danger of engine failures from ash intake. This detailed photograph is exciting to volcanologists because it captures several phenomena that occur during the earliest stages of an explosive volcanic eruption. The main column is one of a series of plumes that rose above Matua Island (48.1 degrees north latitude and 153.2 degrees east longitude) on June 12. The plume appears to be a combination of brown ash and white steam. The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance; the surrounding atmosphere has been shoved up by the shock wave of the eruption. The smooth white cloud on top may be water condensation that resulted from rapid rising and cooling of the air mass above the ash column, and is probably a transient feature (the eruption plume is starting to punch through). The structure also indicates that little to no shearing winds were present at the time to disrupt the plume. By contrast, a cloud of denser, gray ash -- most probably a pyroclastic flow -- appears to be hugging the ground, descending from the volcano summit. The rising eruption plume casts a shadow to the northwest of the island (bottom center). Brown ash at a lower altitude of the atmosphere spreads out above the ground at upper right. Low-level stratus clouds approach Matua Island from the east, wrapping around the lower slopes of the volcano. Only about 1.5 kilometers of the coastline of Matua Island (upper center).
volcanos from space
Sarychev Volcano A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev volcano (Russiaâs Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain and is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island. Prior to June 12, the last explosive eruption had occurred in 1989 with eruptions in 1986, 1976, 1954 and 1946 also producing lava flows. Commercial airline flights were diverted from the region to minimize the danger of engine failures from ash intake. This detailed photograph is exciting to volcanologists because it captures several phenomena that occur during the earliest stages of an explosive volcanic eruption. The main column is one of a series of plumes that rose above Matua Island (48.1 degrees north latitude and 153.2 degrees east longitude) on June 12. The plume appears to be a combination of brown ash and white steam. The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance; the surrounding atmosphere has been shoved up by the shock wave of the eruption. The smooth white cloud on top may be water condensation that resulted from rapid rising and cooling of the air mass above the ash column, and is probably a transient feature (the eruption plume is starting to punch through). The structure also indicates that little to no shearing winds were present at the time to disrupt the plume. By contrast, a cloud of denser, gray ash -- most probably a pyroclastic flow -- appears to be hugging the ground, descending from the volcano summit. The rising eruption plume casts a shadow to the northwest of the island (bottom center). Brown ash at a lower altitude of the atmosphere spreads out above the ground at upper right. Low-level stratus clouds approach Matua Island from the east, wrapping around the lower slopes of the volcano. Only about 1.5 kilometers of the coastline of Matua Island (upper center).
<b>Mayon Volcano</b>, The Phillipines: Tens of thousands of people living within the danger zone of Mayon Volcano in the Philippines were forced to evacuate to emergency shelters in mid-December 2009 as small earthquakes, incandescent lava at the summit and minor ash falls suggested a major eruption was on the way. On the evening of Dec. 14, the local volcano observatory raised the alert level to Level 3, which means "magma is close to the crater and hazardous explosive eruption is imminent." This natural-color image of Mayon was captured on Dec. 15, 2009, by the Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. A small plume of ash and steam is blowing west from the summit. Dark-colored lava or debris flows from previous eruptions streak the flanks of the mountain. A ravine on the southeast slope is occupied by a particularly prominent lava or debris flow. The Phillipine Star said on Dec. 22 that "ashfall blanketed at least three towns in Albay, raising new health fears for thousands already bracing for an eruption that could come at any time ... Health officials warned the tiny particles could cause respiratory problems or skin diseases, and could affect the thousands of people crammed into evacuation centers. Also on Dec. 22, CNN reported that "tens of thousands of people have already fled their homes. More than 9,000 families -- a total of 44,394 people -- are being housed in evacuation camps after authorities raised the alert status of the country's most active volcano" as "fountains of red-hot lava shot up from the intensifying Mayon volcano." Image Credit: NASA/Jesse Allen
volcanos from space
Mayon Volcano, The Phillipines: Tens of thousands of people living within the danger zone of Mayon Volcano in the Philippines were forced to evacuate to emergency shelters in mid-December 2009 as small earthquakes, incandescent lava at the summit and minor ash falls suggested a major eruption was on the way. On the evening of Dec. 14, the local volcano observatory raised the alert level to Level 3, which means "magma is close to the crater and hazardous explosive eruption is imminent." This natural-color image of Mayon was captured on Dec. 15, 2009, by the Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. A small plume of ash and steam is blowing west from the summit. Dark-colored lava or debris flows from previous eruptions streak the flanks of the mountain. A ravine on the southeast slope is occupied by a particularly prominent lava or debris flow. The Phillipine Star said on Dec. 22 that "ashfall blanketed at least three towns in Albay, raising new health fears for thousands already bracing for an eruption that could come at any time ... Health officials warned the tiny particles could cause respiratory problems or skin diseases, and could affect the thousands of people crammed into evacuation centers. Also on Dec. 22, CNN reported that "tens of thousands of people have already fled their homes. More than 9,000 families -- a total of 44,394 people -- are being housed in evacuation camps after authorities raised the alert status of the country's most active volcano" as "fountains of red-hot lava shot up from the intensifying Mayon volcano." Image Credit: NASA/Jesse Allen
<b>Llullaillaco Volcano:</b> The summit of South America&acirc;s Llullaillaco Volcano has an elevation of 22,110 feet above sea level, making it the highest historically active volcano in the world. The current stratovolcano--a cone-shaped volcano built from successive layers of thick lava flows and eruption products like ash and rock fragments--is built on top of an older stratovolcano. The last explosive eruption of the volcano, based on historical records, occurred in 1877. This photograph of Llullaillaco, taken from aboard the International Space Station, illustrates an interesting volcanic feature known as a coulee. Coulees are formed from highly viscous, thick lavas that flow onto a steep surface. As they flow slowly downwards, the top of the flow cools and forms a series of parallel ridges oriented at 90 degrees to the direction of flow (somewhat similar in appearance to the pleats of an accordion). The sides of the flow can also cool faster than the center, leading to the formation of wall-like structures known as flow levees. Llullaillaco is also a well-known archaeological site; the mummified remains of three Inca children, ritually sacrificed 500 years ago, were discovered on the summit in 1999. Image Credit: NASA
volcanos from space
Llullaillaco Volcano: The summit of South Americaâs Llullaillaco Volcano has an elevation of 22,110 feet above sea level, making it the highest historically active volcano in the world. The current stratovolcano--a cone-shaped volcano built from successive layers of thick lava flows and eruption products like ash and rock fragments--is built on top of an older stratovolcano. The last explosive eruption of the volcano, based on historical records, occurred in 1877. This photograph of Llullaillaco, taken from aboard the International Space Station, illustrates an interesting volcanic feature known as a coulee. Coulees are formed from highly viscous, thick lavas that flow onto a steep surface. As they flow slowly downwards, the top of the flow cools and forms a series of parallel ridges oriented at 90 degrees to the direction of flow (somewhat similar in appearance to the pleats of an accordion). The sides of the flow can also cool faster than the center, leading to the formation of wall-like structures known as flow levees. Llullaillaco is also a well-known archaeological site; the mummified remains of three Inca children, ritually sacrificed 500 years ago, were discovered on the summit in 1999. Image Credit: NASA
<b>Eyjafjallajokull Volcano</b> in Infrared On Sat., April 17, 2010, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) instrument aboard NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft obtained this false-color infrared image of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano. A strong thermal source (denoted in red) is visible at the base of the Eyjafjallajokull plume. Above and to the right, strong thermal emission is also seen from the lava flows located at Fimmvorduhals between March 20 and April 13, 2010, where lava first reached the surface, generating impressive lava fountains and lava flows. As the Fimmvorduhals episode was in a location with no ice cap, there was little of the violent interaction between lava and water that took place at Eyjafjallajokull and that generated the massive volcanic plume. To the east of Fimmvorduhals is the Myrdalsjokull ice cap, beneath which slumbers the mighty Katla volcano. Katla has erupted 20 times in recorded history, with the last eruption occurring in 1918. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/EO-1 Mission/GSFC/Ashley Davies
volcanos from space
Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Infrared On Sat., April 17, 2010, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) instrument aboard NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft obtained this false-color infrared image of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano. A strong thermal source (denoted in red) is visible at the base of the Eyjafjallajokull plume. Above and to the right, strong thermal emission is also seen from the lava flows located at Fimmvorduhals between March 20 and April 13, 2010, where lava first reached the surface, generating impressive lava fountains and lava flows. As the Fimmvorduhals episode was in a location with no ice cap, there was little of the violent interaction between lava and water that took place at Eyjafjallajokull and that generated the massive volcanic plume. To the east of Fimmvorduhals is the Myrdalsjokull ice cap, beneath which slumbers the mighty Katla volcano. Katla has erupted 20 times in recorded history, with the last eruption occurring in 1918. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/EO-1 Mission/GSFC/Ashley Davies
<b>Pavlof Volcano:</b> From Station Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) photographed this striking view of Pavlof Volcano on May 18, 2013. The oblique perspective from the ISS reveals the three dimensional structure of the ash plume, which is often obscured by the top-down view of most remote sensing satellites. Situated in the Aleutian Arc about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, Pavlof began erupting on May 13, 2013. The volcano jetted lava into the air and spewed an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) high. When photograph ISS036-E-2105 (top) was taken, the space station was about 475 miles south-southeast of the volcano (49.1&Acirc;&deg; North latitude, 157.4&Acirc;&deg; West longitude). The volcanic plume extended southeastward over the North Pacific Ocean. &acirc;&ordm; Additional information/larger images. Image Credit: NASA
volcanos from space
Pavlof Volcano: From Station Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) photographed this striking view of Pavlof Volcano on May 18, 2013. The oblique perspective from the ISS reveals the three dimensional structure of the ash plume, which is often obscured by the top-down view of most remote sensing satellites. Situated in the Aleutian Arc about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, Pavlof began erupting on May 13, 2013. The volcano jetted lava into the air and spewed an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) high. When photograph ISS036-E-2105 (top) was taken, the space station was about 475 miles south-southeast of the volcano (49.1° North latitude, 157.4° West longitude). The volcanic plume extended southeastward over the North Pacific Ocean. ⺠Additional information/larger images. Image Credit: NASA

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