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Sarychev Peak Update for 6/18/2009

The eruption appears to be waning and NASA has released possibly the most stunning volcano image I've seen in years.

Sarychev Peak erupting on June 12th. Image taken on the ISS, courtesy of the NASA EO.

The eruption as Sarychev Peak seems to be waning a bit, at least according to some of the latest images from the NASA Earth Observatory’s collection of MODIS shots. The ash plume is less prominent – and strikingly more grey than before, possibly if it contains a higher proportion of water vapor than the earlier plumes. However, it isn’t these brand new shots that captured my attention but rather one of the possibly most stunning volcano images I’ve seen in years (above). This captures Sarychev Peak as a rare clear view appeared to the volcano through the clouds and we can see the ash column and pyroclastic flows moving down the flanks of the volcano. The image was taken from the ISS by one of the astronauts currently on the station and really, I am almost at a loss for words about how amazing this picture is.

The eruption is still diverting aircraft to a number of cities, including San Francisco, Anchorage and Seattle as flights to/from Asia need to refuel after/before taking the long route around the ash plume. I haven’t seen any real word on how disruptive this eruption has been to worldwide aviation, but I’m sure the airline industry doesn’t need more problems to tackle in this economy.

And as with any large eruption with a lot of aerosols, everyone likes to talk pretty sunsets … so keep your eyes open for vivid displays.


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