A long, thin, volcanic plume from space

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July 15 2011 7:00 AM

A long, thin, volcanic plume from space

In Chile, the volcano Puyehue-Cordón explosively erupted in June, sending thick layers of ash to the east over the country and into Argentina. While the activity has died down, an ash plume still flows from the stratovolcano, and was spotted by NASA's Terra satellite on July 8:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

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

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Chile is on the left, Argentina on the right. The image shows a region over 400 km (240 miles) across, giving you an idea of just how long that plume is... and see all that beige covering Argentina? That's ash. As the wind has shifted the plume has changed direction, covering vast swaths of land with volcanic ash.

NASA's Earth Observatory has several spectacular images of the eruption seen from space, and The Big Picture has them from the ground.

Credit: NASA images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center




I've collected quite a few images of volcanoes from space into a gallery slideshow. Click the thumbnail picture to get a bigger picture and more information, and scroll through the gallery using the left and right arrows.]