Saturday, 22 June 2013

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

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 


 volcanos from space

Sarychev Volcano A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev volcano (Russia√Ęs 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


 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


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