As far as out-of-this-world pictures go, NASA obtained an incredible opportunity to snap photographs of an erupting volcano from the International Space Station. On June 22nd, 2019, the Raikoke Volcano on Russia’s Kuril Islands, which final exploded in 1924, suddenly let loose a large plume of ash and gas from its 700-meter crater.
Astronauts have been able to take pics of the narrow column of the plume as it rose and expanded over an area called the umbrella region. That is where the plume stops rising, its density equalizing with that of the surrounding air.
As Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech, explained about the image – “The ring of white puffy clouds on the base of the column is perhaps an indication of ambient air being drawn into the column and the condensation of water vapor. Or it could possibly be a rising plume from interplay between magma and seawater as a result of Raikoke is a small island and flows probably entered the water.”
Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in Tokyo and Anchorage reported that the ash had reached as high as 13 kilometers (eight miles). Data from the CALIPSO satellite shows that some segments of the plume reached the altitude of 17 kilometers (10 miles).