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Vulcanismo

The Nabro volcano in northeast Africa

Until last weekend, the Nabro volcano in northeast Africa looked like it does in the image
above. Then, on the night of June 12, 2011, the stratovolcano erupted for the first time in
recorded history. It spewed ash and large amounts of sulfur dioxide gas—the highest levels
ever detected from space, according to preliminary estimates from researchers at NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center.
Astronauts on the International Space Station snapped this digital photograph of Nabro in
January 2011, when all was still quiet. The horseshoe-shaped caldera stretches 8 kilometers (5
miles) in diameter and opens to the southwest. Two smaller calderas lie within the larger one.
Gullies and channels scar the outer flanks, signs of many years of runoff. The inner edge of
the caldera has steep cliffs, some as high as 400 meters.
Located in Eritrea near the border with Ethiopia, Nabro is part of larger double-caldera
structure with the Mallahle volcano to the southwest. Both volcanoes were built, like
Kilimanjaro, from trachyte lavas, and later filled by eruptions of ignimbrite. Research suggests
that both calderas may have formed around the same time. The volcanic range has been
“virtually undocumented,” according to researchers.
As of June 18, the volcano was still erupting, though less effusively than a week ago. The ash
cloud has periodically disrupted air traffic in North Africa and parts of the eastern
Mediterranean. Ash plumes were reported as far as the Central African Republic, Israel, and
Turkmenistan.

Eritrea’s Nabro Volcano
seems to be evolving
toward a milder, more
effusive eruption. By
June 19, 2011

A highaltitude plume. By June 19. A diffuse. the altitude of Nabro’s ash plume dropped from a maximum of 45. says volcanologist Eric Klemetti in his analysis of the image.000 feet (14. Prior to June 12. Thermal infrared data were combined with a shaded relief image to show the terrain.600 meters). ash-rich plume to the southwest of Nabro appears purple. false-color image. It is unknown when the volcano last erupted. moreeffusive eruption. likely rich in water vapor. Hot areas are bright. Nabro had not erupted in recorded history. 2011. The lava flow fans out in the flat plain. The shrinking plume revealed a 15-kilometer (9. according to the Joint Air Force & Army Weather Information Network. hard-to-access region.000 meters) to 25.3-mile) lava flow. 2011. satellite images provide valuable insight into the nature of the eruption. providing a clue that it is probably basalt lava. Eritrea’s Nabro Volcano seems to be evolving toward a milder.000 feet (7. which is slowly spreading apart. Because the volcano is located in a remote. is nearly black. and obscures the erupting vents. The white feature exending to the northwest is an active lava flow. References . visible in this thermal infrared. The volcano is one of many along Africa’s Great Rift Valley.Basalt lava can travel long distances before cooling. thus covering a wide area. which is thinner (less viscous) than other types.after nearly a week of explosive activity. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer  (ASTER) aboard the Terra satellite observed Nabro on the evening of June 19. and cold areas are dark.

The Aurora-Bodie volcanic field Nevada .

with an average eruptive rate of 200 cubic meters per square kilometer (20.6 million years ago. 2008.The Aurora-Bodie volcanic field Nevada includes a series of small lava flows and scoria (cinder) cones that range in age from about 100. the youngest in the field. The dry Nevada climate has largely preserved the dark lava surface of Mud Springs. Most of the eruptions from Aurora-Bodie have been small. These eruptions produced distinctive thick and bulbous lava flows such as those of the Mud Springs Volcano. older volcanoes. This natural-color satellite image was acquired by Digital Globe’s  Worldview-2 satellite on July 5. The lava from Mud Springs extends 7 kilometers from the small vent near the southeastern end of the volcano.000 years (late Pleistocene) to more than 15 million years old. Individual trees are visible on flat areas. The basin floor surrounding the volcano is largely barren. an area of extensive crustal stretching across the western United States. as well as on the surrounding. rather than a stable magma chamber in the upper crust.000 cubic feet per square mile) per year since about 3. even though it is about 110. This low rate of activity is evidence that the Aurora-Bodie volcanoes are fed by remelted basalt from the lower crust. . The volcanoes of the Aurora-Bodie field erupted lavas ranging from relatively fluid basalt to more viscousa ndesite. It is part of the  Basin and Range province.000 years old.

burn. Pyroclastic flows can incinerate. The intense heat—over 1.000° C the terrific speed—up to 720 kilometers per hour—and the mixture of toxic gases all contribute to the deadly potential. This false-color satellite image from the  Advanced Spaceborne Thermal E mission and Reflection Radiom eter (ASTER) on the Terra satellite shows the remnants of a large pyroclastic flow on the slopes of Shiveluch Volcano. no one was hurt during the eruption and flow in the sparsely-populated area. or asphyxiate people who cannot get out of the flow path. Fortunately. These avalanches of superheated ash. pyroclastic flows from  Mount Merapi in Indonesia caused most of the casualties during the volcano’s 2010 eruption. ASTER  detected heat from the flow . and rock are responsible for some of the most famous volcanic disasters in history.Pyroclastic flows are some of the most fearsome hazards posed by erupting volcanoes. More recently. gas.

Covering 4. so basalt lava flows tend to travel fairly far from the eruption source.000 and 71. SP Crater is a basalt cinder cone.The San Francisco Volcanic Field in northern Arizona. When lava erupts from these structures. the volcanic field consists of volcanoes and lava flows. these volcanoes are in fact geologically young. a conical structure made up of volcanic fragments. Cinder cones often form around or downwind from volcanic vents. Geological Survey. it frequently flows out of breaches on the side. Basalt has low resistance to flow.) The hardened lava extends some 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the cinder cone.S. SP Crater is a cinder cone. the dark volcanic rocks north of SP Crater result from lava flows. According to the U. and is about 100 feet (30 meters) thick. and that appears to be the case at SP Crater. Forming a paisley pattern. including SP Crater. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image on April 17. Different dating techniques have placed the age of this lava between 4. (This image has been rotated and north is at right. and they have erupted at various times over the past 6 million years. 2010. often glassy rocks containing bubbles of trapped gas. Like most volcanoes in this field. Although ancient by human standards.700 square kilometers.000 years old. more than 600 volcanoes occur in the San Francisco Volcanic Field. .

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the gray and white lava-covered peak of the Ubinas Volcano looks like it could be located on the Moon or some other extraterrestrial body. sinks beneath the South American plate. a chain of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean that formed because of tectonic activity. the steeply sloped peak is coated with lava. Darkcolored ash and tiny volcanic rocks (lapilli) carpet the crater floor. Within the shadow of the ash cone lies a white. the caldera is defined by walls that range from 80 to 300 meters high. The barren summit hints at recent volcanic activity. A small circular caldera crowns the volcano. some rises to the surface through weak areas in the South American plate. Ubinas is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. A little more than a kilometer across. part of Earth’s crust under the southeast Pacific Ocean. casting a dark triangular shadow. The pressure of the collision wrinkles the South American plate. An ash cone rises from the center of the crater. A canyon on the southern slope is evidence of a collapse in the volcano’s past. Ubinas is Peru’s most active volcano. . In the Central Volcanic Zone in the Andes. 2010. As a result of its frequent activity. Apart from venting ash frequently. mountains and volcanoes grow as the Nazca plate. As the material in the Nazca plate melts deep in the Earth. funnel-shaped inner crater that is 200 meters deep. pushing the Andes Mountains up.Free of vegetation. and in fact. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s EO-1 satellite captured this true-color image of the Peruvian volcano on July 24. Ubinas is one of many volcanoes that dot the high desert plateau east of Lake Titicaca in southern Peru. 2006. Ubinas has erupted many times since 1550. The last eruption started on March 25. Along with South America’s other volcanoes.

north of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Now dormant. so in this false-color image.In far eastern Russia. water appears navy blue. the volcano was once active enough to send a massive lahar—an avalanche of volcanic ash and rock mixed with water—50 kilometers (30 miles) down the west side of the volcano summit. The dried. traces of snow cover cling to the highest peaks. the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this view of Anyuyskiy. turning westward immediately north of Anyuyskiy and flowing toward the west-southwest. hardened remains of the lahar persist today. and some small lakes appear on the lahar’s . Vegetation appears bright green. the image data has been draped over elevation data to make this 3-D visualization. On September 13. bare rocks and ice appear bright red. 2003. a streak of barren rock on a landscape that is otherwise richly vegetated. Even in summer. lies Anyuyskiy Volcano. Lakes occur along the margins of the lahar. The old lahar from Anyuyskiy extends from the north slope. ASTER can map elevation while collecting imagery.

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Some researchers have proposed that throughout its history. although geologists believe the volcano is probably between 600. The peak reaches up 9 kilometers from the ocean floor. into the ocean. Mauna Loa has operated on a 2. sizzling. in 1984. The trails of lava from the last eruption of Mauna Loa. extending to an altitude of 4.000-year cycle in which eruptive activity shifts from the rift zones to the caldera and back to the rift zones.000 years. the rivers of hardened lava make dark brown etchings across the massive volcano’s flanks. an indication that the magma reservoir within the volcano is growing. On the northeast and southwest sides of the Moku’aweoweo caldera at the summit are two rift zones. from which fountains of lava periodically erupt.Far out in the central Pacific Ocean. whose spectacular lava flows spill. Both volcanos are part of Hawai‘i’s Volcanos National Park. Current reports from the  Hawai‘ian Volcano Observatory say that according to Global Positioning System measurements. snake down from the northeast rift zone into the green vegetation of the lower slopes. the distance between two monitoring stations on the north and south side of the caldera is increasing. then the volcano should be about to shift away from its recent history of rift zone lava flows and back to eruptions from the lava-lake in the volcano’s caldera.000 and 1 million years old. Most of the surface of the volcano is covered by lava flows that have been laid down in the last 10. .170 meters. In this Landsat image from February 5. hot molten rock from deep in the Earth’s core bubbles up and periodically recreates the largest volcano in the world: Mauna Loa on the “Big Island” of Hawai‘i. thousands of miles from any large landmass. 2000. If this proves to be true. At bottom right of the image is Kilauea Volcano.

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Immediately to the northwest.000 years ago to the present).Far out in the central Pacific Ocean. The volcanoes result from the upward movement of magma generated along the subduction zone between the Cocos and Caribbean tectonic plates. 2010. Like its neighbor San Miguel.990-foot-) high San Miguel (also known as Chaparrastique) has been active during historical times. While all of the volcanoes shown here have been active during the Holocene Epoch (from about 10. Moving to the west. hot molten rock from deep in the Earth’s core bubbles up and periodically recreates the largest volcano in the world: Mauna Loa on the “Big Island” of Hawai‘i. Astronaut photograph ISS023-E-22411 was acquired on March 31. including the town of Usulután (lower left) and Santiago de Mara (upper left).(one-mile-) wide caldera. Frequent earthquakes also occur along the plate boundary.130-meter. The stratovolcano’s steep cone shape and well-developed summit crater are evident.(6. and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory. only the 2. near the midpoint of the Central American Volcanic Arc. the truncated summit of Chinameca Volcano (also known as El Pacayal) is marked by a two-kilometer. Several urban areas—recognizable as light gray to white regions contrasting with green vegetation and tan fallow agricultural fields—are located in the vicinity of these volcanoes. along with dark lava flows.000 years ago). the eroded cone of El Tigre Volcano is visible. Johnson Space Center. Chinameca’s slopes host coffee plantations. . The Pacific coastline of much of Central America is marked by a line of active and quiescent volcanoes known to geologists as the Central American Volcanic Arc. thousands of miles from any large landmass. and it is likely the oldest of the stratovolcanoes in the image. Usulután Volcano is directly southwest of El Tigre.8 million to about 10. While the flanks of Usulután have been dissected by streams. with a Nikon D3X digital camera fitted with an effective 340 mm lens. The caldera formed when a powerful eruption emptied the volcano’s magma chamber. causing the chamber’s roof to collapse. the mountain still retains a summit crater that is breached on the eastern side. This astronaut photograph includes four  stratovolcanoes—a type of volcano common in active subduction zones—in El Salvador. El Tigre formed during the Pleistocene Epoch (1. The most recent activity of San Miguel was a minor gas and ash emission in 2002.

stressed by nearly two years of volcanic blasts and gases and ash blown by the prevailing winds. which ended about 9. To the west (left) of the volcano. . healthy forests remain. The dome almost completely fills the caldera left behind after Chaitén’s last eruption. local time on March 3. The bare rocky surface of the dome is brown.gov/Search/index. Nearby slopes are covered in dead and dying vegetation.nasa.400 years ago.m.php?cx=002358070019171462865%3Arvzidec6wz4&cof=FORID%3A11&q=+chAIT%C3%89N +DOME+ Reduced volcanic emissions and clear skies over southern Chile reveal Chaitén volcano’s new  lava dome. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite acquired this natural-color image of Chaitén at roughly 10:30 a.http://earthobservatory. while gray ash and tephra cover the landscape to the east (right). 2010.

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ritually sacrificed 500 years ago. . This detailed astronaut photograph of Llullaillaco illustrates an interesting volcanic feature known as a coulée(image top right).739 meters (22. thick lavas that flow onto a steep surface. Llullaillaco is also a well-known archaeological site. The last explosive eruption of the volcano. based on historical records. the mummified remains of three Inca children.The summit of South America’s Llullaillaco Volcano has an elevation of 6. 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 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).110 feet) above sea level. The sides of the flow can also cool faster than the center. leading to the formation of wall-like structures known as flow levees (image center). making it the highest historically active volcano in the world. were discovered on the summit in 1999. Coulées are formed from highly viscous. occurred in 1877. As they flow slowly downwards.

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with a summit 6.000 years. but minor eruptive activity may have occurred as recently as 1993. these sheets have been termed “instant landscapes. Layers of older sedimentary rocks are visible to the upper middle. and many volcanic cones show grooves where water has eroded the rock to form gullies. Such erosion has occurred since the host volcano was built up. recent lava flows (upper left). The bright blue lake -. Also visible is the world’s highest active volcano.near the center of the image is Laguna Verde. have likely erupted within the past 12. One material associated with these eruptions is welded tuff. The most recent confirmed eruption has been dated to the year 700 (+/.300 years). near the border between Chile and Argentina. The landscape also shows that the erosive work of rivers and glaciers in the region is slower than the upward building processes of the volcanoes. Two of these volcanoes. . being impounded in the depressions between the volcanic edifices. Cerro el Cóndor and Peinado. is dominated by volcanoes and associated landforms.3 miles) long -. formed by molten and fragmented rock that accumulates on the ground and later solidifies. A large tuff sheet is visible at the top left. Peinado.nearly 7 km (4.The landscape in the central Andes Mountains. indicating that most volcanoes in this view have been inactive for centuries or millennia.600 feet) above sea level.887 meters (22. Formed very rapidly. and Nevado Ojos del Salado are formed partly by the buildup of lava flows and partly by the buildup of explosively vented material dropping back down onto the surface. Stratovolcanoes such as Cerro el Cóndor.” The Andean volcanic system has been so active that the origin of many tuffs cannot be pinpointed because the source vents have been overprinted by subsequent volcanic events. and even show tongues of dark. Nevado Ojos del Salado. This and other less obvious lakes indicate that water from snowmelt or direct precipitation is unable to reach the sea. A few volcanoes exhibit much less erosion.

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must intrigue vulcanologists. and ash. the southern one bearing a white splotch roughly 2 kilometers long. In the middle of the field of dark tephra is Pic Toussidé. . Volcanoes often sport multiple calderas. Water pooling in the caldera would not have an outlet. a lava dome poking out of the current caldera.The Tibesti Mountain Range in northern Chad is one of the world’s least-studied volcanic regions. so the presence of tephra suggests fairly recent activity. This image is a composite of images acquired by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor on NASA’s Landsat satellite on January 22. and as the water evaporated. The volcano ejectedtephra. particularly as the primary site for eruptive activity shifts over time. 2000. and February 1. East of Pic Topussidé are two calderas. however. 2001. Tephra does not last on the landscape as long as consolidated volcanic rocks such as tuff or lava. One of the Tibesti Mountain’s features is Tarso Toussidé. and the remains of that eruption have stained the ground black. A look at the area from space. fragments of rock and volcanic glass. lava. minerals such as salt would be left behind. Tarso Toussidé underwent a violent eruption in the recent geologic past. Looking like the result of a giant inkwell tipped on its side. This white color could result from salt.

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rectangular patches inside this swath of seemingly barren land are likely cultivated fields. even during Chile’s summer. Immediately south of Laguna de Laja is Cerro Antuco. an edifice collapse—in which part of the rim of the caldera or the side of the volcano rapidly collapses during an eruption —of this volcano produced an avalanche of debris that spread west. the Landsat 7 satellite took this picture of Chile’s Lake District. In the early Holocene (the name geologists have given to the most recent 10. lava has also flowed along the same path as Rio Laja. Cerro Antuco bears some responsibility for the brown swath sweeping toward the west along the river. Farther south is Sierra Velluda. a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of hardened lava. another stratovolcano active during the Pleistocene (the most recent ice age). To the south. and volcanic rock. The terrain surrounding both the lake and the river sport impressive waterfalls. In historical times. ash. The pale outline of Laguna de Laja suggests that its water level is not at its highest.Parque Nacional Laguna de Laja is part of Chile’s “Lake District”—a popular tourist destination. allowing water to escape via the fast-flowing Rio Laja. Dark. . Sharp ridges and deep valleys carve this rugged region. A hydroelectric dam at the southwest end holds the lake in place. which alternates between bare rock and lush vegetation. Although a little snow caps Cerro Antuco. On January 27.000 years of Earth’s history). 2000. the Cerro Antuco and Sierra Velluda Volcanoes tower over the water bodies. much more snow adorns the summit of its southern neighbor.

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or are they a train of slivers that are breaking off from. the caprock? They appear to be the latter. Stream erosion has cut some gullies into the cliffs and green vegetation shows that water springs from and flows down some channels. Stereoscopic observation helps to clarify the landform changing processes active here. Are these the edges of lower layers in the basalt.Basalt cliffs along the northwest edge of the Meseta de Somuncura plateau near Sierra Colorada. Sioux Falls. Landsat satellites have provided visible light and infrared images of the Earth continuously since 1972. then sliding downslope and away from. . Also. the steps are not flat but instead are little ridges. and sliding slices of the caprock. Close inspection shows that each stair step is too laterally irregular to be a continuous sheet of bedrock like the caprock. SRTM topographic data match the 30-meter (99-foot) spatial resolution of most Landsat images and provide a valuable complement for studying the historic and growing Landsat data archive. Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center. tilted. as one might expect from broken. The Landsat 7 Thematic Mapper image used here (top image) was provided to the SRTM project by the United States Geological Survey. Argentina show an unusual and striking pattern of erosion. but landsliding is clearly a major agent of erosion here. South Dakota. Many of the cliffs appear to be rock staircases that have the same color as the plateau's basaltic caprock.

rising through yellow.7 by 55. 68.1 miles) Location: 40. to white at the highest elevations.6   . and one just south of this scene has sent a long.All of the major landforms relate to volcanism and/or erosion in this Shuttle Radar Topography Mission scene of Patagonia. with green at the lower elevations. as would be the case at noon at this latitude in the southern hemisphere. South lat. The topographic pattern shows that streams dominate the erosion processes in this arid environment even though wind is known to move substantial amounts of sediment here. Younger volcanoes have grown through and atop the plateau. red. Argentina.0 deg. Color-coding is directly related to topographic height.8 kilometers (38. Northern slopes appear bright and southern slopes appear dark. narrow flow down a stream channel (lower left). Two visualization methods were combined to produce this image: shading and color coding of topographic height.. The shade image was derived by computing topographic slope in the north-south direction. Size: 62. and magenta.4 by 88. The two prominent plateaus once formed a continuous surface that extended over much of this region. near La Esperanza.

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Lake Eyasi is in blue at the top of the image. The image is oriented as though you were looking from the north toward the southwest. which is especially evident on Kitumbeine and Gelai Mountains (left and right. The vertical relief has been exaggerated by a factor of 2 to reveal greater detail about the landscape. Mount Longido is seen in the lower left. volcanism. rising to fill the gaps. reaches the surface and builds cones. Two branches of the rift intersect here in Tanzania. resulting in distinctive and prominent landforms. The image shows landforms using color and shading. The Crater Highlands rise far above the adjacent savannas. Craters form if a volcano explodes or collapses. and a smaller lake occurs in Ngorongoro Crater. Near the image center. This is especially evident on the eastern flanks of Mount Loolmalasin (left of center). The other branch is well defined by the lowlands that trend left to right across the image (below center. In particular. which is south of Ela Naibori Crater. the small but steep volcanic cone nearest the image center has a landslide scar on its eastern (left) flank. erosion and deposition—and their interactions—are all very evident in this view of the Crater Highlands along the East African Rift in Tanzania. and topographic evidence shows that the associated landslide deposits extend eastward 10 kilometers (6 miles) across the floor of the rift. with lowest elevations in green and highest elevations in white. capture moisture from passing air masses. Volcanoes are often associated with spreading zones where magma. landslides. Shading shows the slope.648 meters at Mount Loolmalasin. One branch trends nearly parallel to this southwesterly view and includes Lake Eyasi and the very wide Ngorongoro Crater. streams erode downward toward the level of the adjacent rift. View Size: 48 kilometers wide (30 miles) by 230 kilometers (140 miles) distance . Such a long run of landslide debris is unusual but not unique on Earth. and host rain forests. in green). Over time. Later spreading can fracture the volcanoes. deeply dissecting the volcanic slopes. respectively. The East African Rift is a zone of spreading between the African (on the west) and Somali (on the east) crustal plates. Color indicates height. lower center). and the Meto Hills are in the right foreground. Landslides also occur here. Kitumbeine (left) and Gelai (right) are the two broad mountains rising from the rift lowlands.Plate tectonics. elevations peak at 3.

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As the fresh flows in the image testify. the surface of which is covered in fresh lava flows. The volcano is so given to eruptions that it is said to be home to Pele. “Halema`uma`u” refers to a house of ferns that Kamapua`a. taken on January 14. you were to rank all of the volcanoes in the world in terms of activity. Keanakako`i. The oldest flow in the caldera is from 1882. Kilauea would come out near the top. built over the crater to keep her from escaping. while the older flows pale as the iron in the lava oxidizes into rust. The most recent eruption began pouring from Kilauea’s east rift into the Pacific Ocean in 1983 and had not ceased as of December 8. As much as ninety percent of Kilauea’s surface is less than 1. shows Kilauea’s summit caldera. 2005. The Halema`uma`u crater forms a pale circle in the southwest section of the caldera. the crater was filled with a molten lava lake. the attempt was not successful.100 years old. the temperamental Hawaiian volcano goddess. The newer flows are dark. 2003. a suitor of Pele. In the upper right corner of the image is Volcano House. According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (visible in the upper left corner of the image). Hawaiian Volcano Observatory . the name comes from Polynesian mythology. This Ikonos image. Though no more than a lump on the eastern flanks of the massive Mauna Loa volcano on the Island of Hawaii. As recently as 1924. was the site of an eruption in 1974. Kilauea has been prodigiously more productive than its neighbor. The other crater seen in the image. a private hotel.

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West of La Reforma is a line of three connected volcanoes. A resurgent dome is formed as the floor of the caldera is heaved upward by the movement of magma below ground. explosive event that produces an enormous column of volcanic rock fragments and gas that reaches into the stratosphere. carved by arroyos. The topography in the southern part of the caldera is more rugged and irregular. On the eastern coast of the peninsula.000-800. where pyroclastic rocks and lava date to between 500.The arid climate of Baja California limits the amount of vegetation covering the ground and allows the dramatic volcanic features of the landscape to stand out in this natural-color image from the Landsat satellite on October 5. The lavas surrounding the caldera date to about 1 million years ago. The outer rim of the caldera is defined by dark-colored rocks made out of very fluid lava. The rim of caldera is not continuously exposed at the surface. A dome of rock in the center of the caldera is a resurgent dome. dust. are lava domes. in the southwest. but the rocks have a subtle circular arrangement. In later stages of the eruption. the northern rim of El Aguajito follows the coastline. and El Viejo in the northeast. The rocks are a combination of pyroclastic deposits and a slightly more fluid lava than what erupted near the coast. is the massive La Reforma Caldera. As recently as 6. and rock fragments that race down the slopes of a volcano like an avalanche. . pyroclastic flows (pinkish rocks) and lahars (mudflows.500 years ago. sticky lava. The volcanoes get larger and younger from northeast to southwest. El Azufre in the center. North-northeast of Las Tres Vírgenes is El Aguajito Caldera. The flat-looking rock formations. facing the Gulf of California. The eruption produced a column that reached at least 18 kilometers into the air and deposited ash and rock fragments over 500 square kilometers. 2000. grayish rocks) from El Azufre Volcano paved the plain to the north all the way to the Gulf of California. Like La Reforma. La Vírgen experienced a plinian eruption —a huge. La Vírgen. hardened mounds of slow-moving. The landscape is a patchwork of lava flows and the hardened remains of pyroclastic flows—hot clouds of volcanic ash.000 years old.

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including Space Imaging’s IKONOS sensor orbiting 681 kilometers above the Earth. This fly-in approaches the crater from the north. A comparison of this year’s topographic map to last year’s shows shrinking snow fields. TerraPoint took to the skies and resurveyed the mountain. They hoped to measure deformation in the volcano’s crater by comparing LIDAR surveys measured over a year’s period. Other remote sensing instruments were also targeting St. then zooms into the crater to focus on the new lava dome before zooming back out to a bird’s eye view of the entire crater. One such glacier can be seen on the left edge of the image. LIDAR maps topography by bouncing a laser pulse from an airplane to the ground tens of thousands of times each second. A new volcanic dome began to rise out of the crater formed by the 1980 eruption. The dome wasn’t the only change the LIDAR data recorded. Helens had plans of its own. The mapping was to be done by TerraPoint USA. (See “Laser Technology Helps Track Changes in Mount St. NASA and the USGS were planning to expand upon that survey in November 2004. the volcano rumbled back to life with renewed earthquake activity. USGS scientist Ralph Haugerud and David Harding from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center worked with TerraPoint to rapidly mobilize. who has been working with NASA and the USGS to map fault zones in the Pacific Northwest. a cloud of ash and steam erupted. and on October 1. To its right. Inc. Unrelated to the eruption. Helens” for more information and comparison images.Sometimes science is serendipitous. IKONOS imagery provided copyright of Space Imaging LIDAR derived elevation map courtesy of USGS and NASA. circles the crater rim. growth in the crater glacier. mapping a fault zone that the volcano straddles. In this image. On October 4. . The USGS conducted a LIDAR survey of Mount St. and several rock slides. accelerating the return to St.) The animations provided above of the IKONOS image draped on the LIDAR data offer a 360degree view of the crater. Helens. the new lava dome rises behind the lava dome that formed between 1980 and 1986. a one-meter-per-pixel IKONOS image draped over the two-meter-per-pixel LIDAR elevation map. Helens that day. under contract with EarthData International. The technique results in topographical maps that are vertically accurate to within 10 centimeters (4 inches). and this image is one such example. In late September 2004. Helens using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. Helens in September 2003. 2004. A stunning combination of the October 4th LIDAR and IKONOS data is shown in the above image. The new dome grew 110 meters (360 feet) between late September and October 4. a dark slit shows where a new vent opened as the volcano erupted. St. rock glaciers—a mixture of rock and ice—moved down the slope as new material fed them. Scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA have teamed up to survey topographic change at Mount St.

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and their image color changes to yellow and orange. because they are the coldest objects in the scene. green. reflecting chemical changes due to weathering and relative age differences. 2000 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. As they reach lower elevations.500 feet).much of the island was covered in clouds.These images of the Island of Hawaii were acquired on March 19. producing a bluish tone on the image. rising to an altitude of 4115 meters (13. The ocean and thick vegetation appear dark green because they are colder than bare rock surfaces. Right image: This image is a false-color composite of three thermal infrared bands. and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90meters (about 50 to 300 feet). The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and  . and the hues display differences in rock composition. Left image: This false-color image covers an area 60 kilometers (37 miles) wide and 120 kilometers (75 miles) long in three bands of the short wavelength infrared region. is cloud-free. ASTER will image Earth for the next 6 years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. the dominant central Mauna Loa volcano. While . pink and yellow. Lava flows are shades of magenta. Mauna Kea volcano to the north of Mauna Loa has a thin cloud-cover. and have no thermal spectral features. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18. the flows become covered with vegetation. 1999. The ocean in the lower right appears brown due to the color processing. The brightness of the colors is proportional to the temperature. Lava flows can be seen radiating from the central crater in green and black tones. on NASA's Terra satellite. Clouds are black. Data are shown from the short wavelength and thermal infrared spectral regions. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region. illustrating how different and complementary information is contained in different parts of the spectrum.

snow. and mud from the summit snowfield in the event of an eruption. with a population of more than one million. July 13. It shows El Misti volcano towering 5822 ms high above the second city of Peru. Geologic studies indicate that El Misti has had five minor eruptions this century. Despite the obvious hazard. Arequipa. 2001. . This view shows human development extending up the flanks of the volcano along gullies which would form natural channels for flows of lava. and city planners are not avoiding development on the volcano side of the city.(ASTER) Digital Elevation Model combined with a simulated natural color ASTER image. or melted ice. civil defense authorities see it as a remote danger. and a major eruption in the 15th century when residents were forced to flee the city. superheated ash and gas.

These observations provide a detailed look into the eruptive history. and other details of eruption activity that cannot be seen using other techniques are revealed. Lava flows. hot mudflows.ASTER's ability to sense fine-scale heated surfaces is providing never-before seen views of active volcanic eruptions. Michael Ramsey of the University of Pittsburgh will present initial observations of the recent phases of two ongoing eruptions in the Caribbean (Montserrat) and Russia (Bezymianny). .

vegetation appears in red. repeated eruptions since early May 2005 have prompted evacuations of nearby communities. 2003 (bottom). 2005 (top). . In contrast to February 2003. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) flying on NASA’s Terra satellite. captured images of the Colima Volcano on June 21. Between June 3 and June 21. and February 6. Recorded eruptions of the Colima Volcano date back to the 16th century. eruptions sent a silvery gray stream of ash and rock down the east side of the mountain and dusted the forest with ash. forced a temporary closure of Colima International Airport. According to news reports. 2005 (middle). In these false-color images. Ash fall has covered local highways. the area covered by rock and ash has expanded in both 2005 images. Volcanoes pose multiple hazards. and a major eruption in 1913 destroyed the volcano’s summit. The white clouds seen in both June images may be steam from the volcano but are more likely clouds passing overhead.Recurring eruptions of the Colima Volcanco have left visible changes on the local landscape since February 2003. and rock and ash flows appear in gray. June 3. and even killed some local livestock. many of which have been felt by local residents.

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depending on its elevation. which flowed down a gully. At the upper left. young unbroken basalt flows show that the fault has not been active recently.6 kilometers (4 miles). and topographic discontinuities reveal the fault trace as it extends across the image to the lower left. a more recent eruption occurred and produced a small volcanic cone and a long stream of lava. However. At the top of the image. This cross-eyed stereoscopic image pair was generated using topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. This feature is an old igneous intrusion that has been split by a rightlateral fault. When stereoscopically merged. granitic. brown. at Los Menucos. Color. one perspective for each eye. In doing so. volcanic intrusions permeated the older rocks resulting in a chain of small dark volcanic peaks. each point in the image is shifted slightly. and sedimentary rocks.This view of northern Patagonia. The topography data are used to create two differing perspectives of a single image. combined with an enhanced Landsat 7 satellite color image. The large purple. the result is a vertically exaggerated view of the Earth's surface in its full three dimensions. two halves of a tan ellipse pattern are offset from each other. . The apparent offset is about 6. Argentina shows remnants of relatively young volcanoes built upon an eroded plain of much older and contorted volcanic. and green 'butterfly' pattern is a single volcano that has been deeply eroded. as fluid molten rock drained out from under its cooled and solidified outer shell. tonal. At the top center of the image. Large holes on the volcano's flanks indicate that they may have collapsed soon after eruption.

Anticlinal Picún Leufú Basamento Chacaico-Charahuilla Cerro Marucho Cerro Picún Leufú .

perhaps granites.  . Argentina.younger than the folding. Farther east and south. plateaus that cap the underlying geologic complexities are more recent lava flows . This view of an area southwest of Zapala. shows a wide diversity of geologic features.Topographic data provided by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission can provide many clues to geologic history and processes. more subtle and curvilinear ridges show that the rock layers have not only been tilted but also folded. At the upper right. To their right (eastward) are tilted and eroded layered sedimentary rocks. This anaglyph was produced by first shading a preliminary elevation model from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. The highest peaks (left) appear to be massive (un-layered) crystalline rocks. but older than the current erosional pattern. Landforms in the southeast (lower right) and south-central areas appear partially wind sculpted.