NASA Satellite Sees Iceland Volcanic Fallout
An instrument aboard NASA’s Earth Observing Spacecraft-1 snapped these visible light (left) and infrared (right) images of the ongoing eruptions of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull on Saturday.
In the visible light image, new black ash deposits are visible on the ground — in sharp contrast to the uncontaminated bright white snow. The billowing plume is dark brown because it is loaded with finely pulverized pieces of rock. The ash, which is carried high into the atmosphere and spread by winds, is a safety hazard for aircraft.
The false-color infrared image shows the intense energy, estimated to be at least 60 million watts, streaming from the vent at the base of the massive plume. NASA estimates the energy is about equivalent to how much energy 60,000 homes in the United States consume and notes that it’s just a small percentage of how much energy the volcano is generating, as molten lava violently reacts with ice and water.
Imaged areas, which are oriented north-northeast, cover an
area 4.8 miles wide and have a resolution of 98 feet per pixel. Credit: