Russiaï¿½s Kamchatka Peninsula is a landscape dotted with volcanoes, and Klyuchevskaya is its highest and most active. Seen in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image, which was taken by NASAï¿½s Terra satellite on March 8, 2005, the volcano has been erupting intermittently since January 2005, after having been active through much of 2004 as well. On March 8, a thick plume of ash and steam rose from Klyuchevskaya and drifted southeast across the peninsula. Because ash can clog jet engines and bring them to a stop, the plume is a serious aviation hazard.
A second plume rises from the north side of the volcano. This plume is lighter in color, and it may be steam created when hot lava vaporizes the surrounding snow. This image is shown in false color to provide greater contrast between the snow-covered ground and the light-colored ash plume. Here, snow and ice are red, while the warmer plume of ash is gray and white. The image is also available in true color.
Eruptions at the Klyuchevskaya Volcano are becoming increasingly violent, prompting officials to raise the volcanic alert to its highest level, reserved for major explosive eruptions. (The volcano's name has many alternate spellings, including Klyuchevsky; Kluichevsky and Kluichevskaya; and Kluichevskoi.)