This is what an erupting volcano looks like from space


Raikoke Volcano explosion was spotted last week, June 22, around 4:00 AM local time by several space satellites and astronauts at the International Space Station, as all the gases and ash went shooting up in the air.

Part of Russia's Kuril Islands chain near northern Japan, Raikoke is an uninhabited volcanic island that has been dormant since 1924.

On 22 June, Raikoke volcano erupted unexpectedly into a huge plume of smoke and ash.

Last week, the volcano erupted for the first time in nearly 100 years, causing plumes to billow from its crater.

Raikoke's last eruption was 95 years ago. It sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific tectonic plate meets other tectonic plates and where most of the worlds' earthquakes and volcanic eruptions take place. As the orbiting laboratory rapidly orbits Earth, it affords its inhabitants the chance to see all manner of jaw-dropping sights, and on the morning of June 22, one of those sights occurred to be a volcano blowing its top in the Pacific Ocean.

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Image shows the volcanic column rising upward before spreading out laterally in what is known as an umbrella region.

The fantastic image, which shows a huge plume of smoke rising up and surrounded by white clouds, was released by NASA Earth Observatory.

"What a spectacular image", Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Technological University, said in the NASA press release.

The ring of clouds at the base of the plume appears to be water vapor, according to the space agency. "Or it could be a rising plume from interaction between magma and seawater because Raikoke is a small island and flows likely entered the water". Satellites are being used to track the ash as it can pose a hazard to passing aircraft, NASA said. The Terra and Suomi NPP satellites, operated by NASA and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration respectively, also managed to capture photos of the incident.

Carn indicated that the toxic gas may have reached the stratosphere, Earth's second layer of the atmosphere.