Due to elevated seismic activity, the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia issued an alert for Sangeang Api—an island volcano in the Flores Sea—on May 21, 2014. Sangeang erupted explosively on May 30, sending a thick column of ash and sulfur dioxide billowing into the atmosphere.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured imagery of the eruption plume the next day. Terra acquired this image at 2:35 UTC (10:35 a.m. local time) on May 31, 2014. Ash drifted southeast, shutting down airports in Bima, Indonesia, and Darwin, Australia. Service to Darwin resumed by June 1, but Bima remained shut down as of June 2, according to the Jakarta Globe.
Other satellites have observed the ash plume as well. A near real-time tool developed by University of Wisconsin and NOAA scientists estimated that the plume reached an altitude of at least 12 to 14 kilometers (7 to 9 miles) based on observations from multiple weather satellites. The Ozone Mapping & Profiler Suite on Suomi NPP also observed ash drifting toward Australia on May 31.
While 13-kilometer-wide (8-mile) Sangeang is uninhabited, dozens of farmers cultivate land on the island. No one was killed or injured during the eruption, but authorities issued evacuation orders for people within 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) of the volcano.
- CNN (2014, May 31) Volcanic eruption rounds flights in Asia-Pacific. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Daily Mail (2014, May 31) Pictured from a passenger plane: Menacing 12-mile-high ash cloud looms over Indonesia’s ‘Mountain of Spirits’ after volcano erupts. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions blog, via Wired (2014, May 31) Eruption at Sangeang Api Grounds Flights Across Indonesia and Australia. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Global Volcanism Program Sangeang Api. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Jakarta Globe (2014, June 2) Bima’s Airport Shuts Down After Volcanic Eruption. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Ozone Mapping & Profiler Suite blog (2014, May 31) Ash from the Eruption of Sangeang. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Tom Yulsman’s Imageo blog, via Discover (2014, May 31) Huge Volcanic Eruption Propels Column of Ash 12 Miles High. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison CIMSS Satellite Blog (2014, June 2) Ash from the Eruption of Sangeang. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Volcano Discovery (2014, May 31) Sangeang Api volcano (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): eruption continues, ash spreads to Australia. Accessed June 2, 2014.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland.
- Terra - MODIS