VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Chaitén Volcano Dome Collapses


NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of Chaitén Volcano in Chile on January 19, showing a thick plume of smoke after a dome collapsed. It was posted on NASA’s Earth Observatory today.

The false-color images include visible and infrared light, according to the Earth Observatory caption. “Vegetation is red, bare (possibly ash-covered) ground is brown, and water is deep blue. The plume from the volcano appears off-white, and it is thick enough to completely hide the land surface below.”

Chaitén had been dormant for more than 9,000 years when it erupted on May 2, last year. It continued erupting intermittently, blanketing the area in ash and forcing more than 4,000 people to flee, National Geographic News reported on May 6.

A photo of lightning mixed with ash — a “dirty thunderstorm — was the most viewed image published by National Geographic News last year.

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

Additional information:

Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén (Smithsonian)

The Volcanism Blog: Chaitén