Kizimen Volcano Eruption Seen from Space

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The latest tantrum of Russia’s Kizimen volcano has been captured in a March 12 image by NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite. The image shows a towering plume of volcanic ash, lava and debris flows from the summit of the 8,15t-foot (2,485 m) mountain. For comparison, at right is another NASA image from a few years ago, long before the current eruption commenced (click on image to enlarge).

Photos: Eruption of Iceland’s Grimsvotn Volcano

Snowy volcanoes like this one are particularly messy when they erupt because the melted snow can lubricate rocks and create powerful debris flows that speed down mountains, demolishing everything in their path. Fortunately, Kizimen is one of many rowdy volcanoes which reside on the Kamchatka Peninsula where they can party all they want and trouble hardly anyone but aviators. Volcanic ash is basically ground glass, which can wreak havoc with airplane engines.

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And speaking of airplanes, the official Aviator Color Code for Kizimen from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team is now ORANGE, which means there is minor amount of ash coming out right now. The same aviator update states:

“Moderate seismic activity of the volcano continues. Video and satellite data showed a growth of an extrusion at the volcano summit continues. Incandescence of the volcano summit, hot avalanches on the western and eastern volcanic flanks, and strong gas-steam activity accompany this process. Satellite data showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano.”

Will Kizimen get worse? We’ll see!