VIIRS Dust product captures Mount Pavlof’s Plume

Author: Emily Berndt

Mount Pavlof, one of Alaska’s most active volcanoes, has been erupting since last week. The plume has caused some disruption of flights and ash fallout in nearby communities. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has been closely monitoring it’s activity (http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/Pavlof.php). The steam, ash, and gas plume is continually created as hot lava contacts snow and ice. The steam, ash, and gas plume has occasionally reached up to 20,000 ft and has been carried downwind as much as 100 km to the northeast, east, and southeast  before dissipating. This graphic from the Alaska Volcano Observatory shows the location of Mount Pavlof within the Aleutian Island Chain.

Location of Mount Pavlof. Photo from the Alaska Volcano Observatory. (http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=13407)

The plume can be seen in the VIIRS RGB Dust product. Let’s first look at the VIIRS true color product. Inside the red circle, you can see a faint brown plume, but it’s not easy to see (click on the images).

VIIRS True Color Image 2135 UTC 18 May 2013

VIIRS True Color Image 2135 UTC 18 May 2013

Now take a look at the VIIRS RGB Dust product. On the three images below there is a pink/red streak (inside the purple circle) emanating from the location of Mount Pavlof.

This is an excellent example of the utility of multichannel RGB products to obtain a clearer view of the location and extent of volcanic plumes.

VIIRS RGB Dust Imagery 2135 UTC 18 May 2013

VIIRS RGB Dust Imagery 2135 UTC 18 May 2013

VIIRS RGB Dust Imagery 1138 UTC 18 May 2013

VIIRS RGB Dust Imagery 1138 UTC 18 May 2013

VIIRS RGB Dust Imagery 2332 UTC 17 May 2013

VIIRS RGB Dust Imagery 2332 UTC 17 May 2013

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