Fire Earth

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Satellite Images of Recent Volcanic Activities

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

Recent Activity at Shiveluch Volcano


Shiveluch Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula ejected a plume of ash, volcanic gases and steam, while dark rivulets flowed down the volcano’s snowy slopes. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on February 13, 2010. Dark flows on the snowy slopes could result from lava and/or lahars—avalanches of water and mud likely prompted by heat from the summit.

Shiveluch is among Kamchatka’s most active volcanoes. In mid-February 2010, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported that activity at Shiveluch had been elevated above background levels for days, including a lava flow as well as ash plumes reaching an altitude of 5.2 kilometers (17,060 feet). NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen. Caption by Michon Scott. Edited by FEWW.

Partial Dome Collapse at Soufriere Hills


Soufrière Hills Volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat experienced a partial dome collapse on February 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm local time. Lasting nearly an hour, the event sent a plume 15 km (50,000 feet) skyward, and sent pyroclastic flows—avalanches of hot gas and debris—some 300 to 400 meters (980 to 1,200 feet) out to sea. The pyroclastic flows destroyed many buildings in the village of Harris north of Sourfrière Hills, and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory described the dome collapse as the most severe incident since May 2006.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on February 11, 2010, the same afternoon that the dome collapsed. An east-west volcanic plume completely obscures the island of Montserrat, casting a shadow toward the northeast. Two smaller, fainter plumes also extend from the island, one to the north and the other to the south. The northern plume lies in the shadow of the east-west plume and consequently must occur at a lower altitude. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team  at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott. Edited by FEWW.


View E across ash-covered Plymouth, the former capital city and major port of Montserrat, toward Soufriere Hills volcano.
Before the volcano became active in July 1995, about 5,000 people lived in Plymouth, located 4 km west of English’s Crater. During the first two years of the eruption, ash and noxious gas from explosions and pyroclastic flows frequently settled on Plymouth. On August 3, about 3 weeks after this image was taken, the first significant pyroclastic flow swept through the evacuated town. The flow triggered many fires and caused extensive damage to buildings and community facilities by direct impact and burial. Date: 12 July 1997. Credit: R.P. Hoblitt/ USGS

In Uncertain Future for Montserrat Island, Fire-Earth Moderators estimated that the island could become completely uninhabitable by 2013 or earlier

Fire Earth’s EarthModel forecasts the probability of Montserrat island becoming completely uninhabitable as follows:

Probability of Montserrat Becoming Uninhabitable in the Near Future

  • 2009 ≥ 50%
  • 2010 ≥ 56%
  • 2011 ≥ 60%
  • 2012 ≥ 70%
  • 2013 ≥ 80%

Montserrat Island Details:

  • Capital:
    • Plymouth (destroyed in 1997- see photo below)
    • Brades (de facto)
  • Location: Montserrat Island
  • Coordinates: (16.72 N, 62.18 W)
  • Height: 915 meters (3,010 feet)
  • Official languages:     English
  • Ethnic groups:     West African, Mulatto, British, Irish
  • Government:     British Overseas Territory
  • Area:   102 km²  (39 sq mi )

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