Satellite Spies Smoking, Hot Sandwich: Big Pic
May 2, 2012 -- A plume of volcanic smoke is seen rising from the appropriately-named Mount Asphyxia volcano, located on Zavodovski Island in the southern Atlantic. The image was acquired on April 27 by NASA's Aqua satellite.
Zavodovski is part of the South Sandwich Islands, a group of 11 British-owned islands located 217 miles southeast of South Georgia, off the tip of South America. Only 3.1 miles wide, the icy island is dominated by the 1,800-foot-high stratovolcano.
Aptly named, the sulphuric fumes from Asphyxia coupled with the stench of penguin droppings -- the island is a breeding ground for millions of chinstrap penguins -- can be suffocating for human visitors.
The plume is seen here snaking into upper-level winds where it takes a turn to the northwest. The other islands exhibit swirling cloud vortices on their lee sides, created by their disturbance of prevailing winds.