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Eruption of Raikoke volcano, seen from outer space



The long-dormant Raikoke volcano has awakened from its sleep. The volcanic island is located in the chain of the Kuril Islands near the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. Unlike his volcanically active neighbors, Raikoke has been resting since 1924.

Thanks to the astronauts on the International Space Station, we have beautiful photos of the eruption.

The blessed event took place on June 22 at about 4:00 am as the circular 2.5 km x 2.0 km circular island formed a huge cloud of volcanic gas and ash between 13 and 17 km spat in the sky. The thick cloud was carried eastward by a storm in the North Pacific, and astronauts on the ISS and orbiting satellites watched the action.

The ash cloud resembles an anvil cloud with its flattened tip. An anvil cloud is a type of cumulonimbus cloud responsible for thunder and lightning. The top of the ash cloud is shallow because the density of clouds has matched the density of the surrounding atmosphere and the cloud is no longer rising. The flat top is called umbrella region.

In a press release, volcanologist Simon Carn of Michigan Tech said, "What a spectacular picture. It reminds me of the classic astronaut photo of Sarychev Peak from an outbreak in the Kuril Islands about ten years ago. The ring of white, swollen clouds at the foot of the pillar could be a sign that ambient air is being sucked into the column and water vapor is condensing. Or it could be an ascending cloud of magma-seawater interaction because Raikoke is a small island and is likely to flow into the water. "

Satellites took other images of the outbreak from different perspectives and at slightly different times.

The next image was taken with an instrument on the NASA Terra Satellite, MODIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer). The ash was concentrated on the west side of the volcano and spread by the action of the storm north of it to the east.

  The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image from Raikoke on June 22, 2019. Picture credits: Terra-MODIS.
The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite photographed this image by Raikoke on June 22, 2019 Photo credit: NASA / Terra-MODIS.

The third picture is from the satellite Suomi NPP (National Polar-Orbiting Partnership). It was recorded with the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer VIIRS. It was recorded a few hours after the others and shows how the wind has spread the ashes after the volcanic activity subsided.

Raikoke a few hours after the first outbreak, taken with the instrument VIIRS on the nuclear power plant satellite Suomi. Photo credits: NASA / Suomi / VIIRS NPP

The Japanese satellite Himawari-8 has shot a movie about the outbreak and Twitter user Dan Lindsey has tweeted the video. It shows how Raokeke erupts in a series of pronounced outbreaks.

The entire outbreak was over pretty quickly. One day after the outbreak of Raikoke, which by the way means "Hellmouth" in the Ainu language, it was all over. All that was left was a brown ash-smear, pulled away and into the storm over the Pacific.

  Left the outbreak of Raikoke on June 22nd. One day later right. The ashes have almost disappeared, seized by the storm over the Pacific. Picture credits: NASA Worldview / MODIS.
Left the eruption of Raikoke on June 22nd. One day later right. The ashes have almost disappeared, seized by the storm over the Pacific. Picture credits: NASA Worldview / MODIS.

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