NASA Spacecraft Watches as Eruption Reshapes African Volcano
On Jan. 24, 2017, the Hyperion Imager on NASA's Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) spacecraft observed a new eruption at Erta'Ale volcano, Ethiopia, from an altitude of 438 miles (705 kilometers). Data were collected at a resolution of 98 feet (30 meters) per pixel at different visible and infrared wavelengths and were combined to create these images. A visible-wavelength image is on the left. An infrared image is shown on the right. The infrared image emphasizes the hottest areas and reveals a spectacular rift eruption, where a crack opens and lava gushes forth, fountaining into the air. The lava flows spread away from the crack. Erta'Ale is the location of a long-lived lava lake, and it remains to be seen if this survives this new eruption.
The observation was scheduled via the Volcano Sensor Web, a network of sensors linked by artificial intelligence software to create an autonomous global monitoring program of satellite observations of volcanoes. The Volcano Sensor Web was alerted to this new activity by data from another spacecraft.
The EO-1 spacecraft is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. EO-1 is the satellite remote-sensing asset used by the EO-1 Volcano Sensor Web (VSW) developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, which is being used to monitor this, and other, volcanic eruptions around the world.