Volcano on volcano action

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Feb. 19 2010 11:00 AM

Volcano on volcano action

I know I just posted a volcano image from the Terra Earth-observing satellite, but another just came in and it's so beautiful I can't help myself. So here's a little bit of awesome for your Friday afternoon. Behold!

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See? Told you.

What we have here are two volcanoes on February 13 erupting simultaneously in Kamchatka. The northern one, Klyuchevskaya, is the tallest and most active in the region. The other one, Bezymianny, is 10 km (6 miles) to the south, and is much smaller (2900 meters/9500 feet vs. 4800 m/15,900 feet) for Klyuchevskaya). Both are spewing a plume high into the air; from the whitish color it appears to be more steam than ash, though the northern, larger volcano is reported to be sending out lava and rock fountains as well. Between the two you can see some clouds, too.

I don't suppose too many folks live near these two monsters, which is a good thing. I can't imagine what it must look like to be, say, 10 kilometers east of the two and see them both blasting out plumes reaching up 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) high. But one day I'd love to witness something like that! Maybe from farther away, though. Wow.

Image credit: by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!