In far northeastern Russia, a ribbon of lava was glowing on the slopes of the Kamchatka Peninsula’st tallest and most active volcano when the Terra satellite flew overhead around 11 p.m. local time on March 4, 2005. Against the cold slopes of the snow- and glacier-covered volcano, the hot lava appeared extremely bright as it flowed from the crater down the Krestovsky channel on the northwestern flank of Klyuchevskaya (image center).
Klyuchevskaya began a period of restlessness in mid-February. On February 14, another Terra sensor captured imagery of an emission plume casting a long shadow onto the snowy ground below. On February 21, the volcano began spilling lava down the northern flank, melting a large portion of one the mountain’s glaciers and creating mud and water flows. Trailing away from the terminus of the very bright lava flow near image center is a narrower ribbon of warm pixels, highlighting mud and water flowing downstream ahead of the lava into the Kruten’kaya River. The warm, horseshoe-shaped area to the south is the active lava dome of the Bezymianny Volcano, which last erupted on January 11, 2005.
Like trying to take a photograph in the dark, collecting natural-color imagery of the Earth's surface at night isn't possible. But NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) also collects observations in thermal and shortwave infrared. These non-visible wavelengths of electromagnetic energy were used to make the image above. Warmer surfaces are brighter, while cooler surfaces are darker.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/MITI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.