Klyuchevskaya Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula released a plume on July 1, 2007. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. Although opaque white clouds float overhead in this image, skies are clear enough to allow an easy view of the volcanic plume. This westward-blowing plume appears to have a dual nature. The larger, more visible plume is almost white, indicating high water vapor content. Below and slightly northward of the pale plume is another, this one dark brown in color. This plume’s dark color suggests high volcanic ash content. The pale plume casts its shadow onto the dark plume below.
Klyuchevskaya (sometimes spelled Klyuchevskoy or Kliuchevskoi) is the most active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula. With an altitude of 4,835 meters (15,863 feet), it is also the peninsula’s highest volcano. As part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” Kamchatka experiences regular seismic activity as the Pacific Plate slides below other tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust. Since its formation some 6,000 years ago, Klyuchevskaya has seen few periods of inactivity, and the volcano is estimated to have experienced more than 100 flank eruptions in the past 3,000 years.