NASA Satellite Images Dissect Iceland Volcanic Plume

Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull Volcano The ongoing eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano is seen in this pair of images acquired April 15, 2010, from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft. At left is a natural-color visible image, while the right image is a composite of MODIS thermal infrared channels. Image credit: NASA GSFC/JPL
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April 16, 2010

On April 15, 2010, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured these images of the ongoing eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, which continues to spew ash into the atmosphere and impact air travel worldwide. The left-hand, natural-color visible image shows a brownish, ash-laden plume streaming across the North Atlantic toward the United Kingdom. The right-hand image is a composite of thermal infrared channels. In this rendition, the ash plume appears red, due to the presence of silica-rich material, and the ice-rich clouds appear blue. These MODIS images do not show any evidence of sulfur dioxide clouds, which would appear yellow in the right image. It is likely that any sulfur dioxide signals were obscured by the large amounts of ash. Scientists expect to see a better expression of sulfur dioxide in later images of the plume as the ash settles over time.


Alan Buis 818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


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