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Chaiten Volcano Erupts
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Chaitén Volcano continued emitting a plume of ash and steam on May 26, 2008, as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead. This image shows several unusual features that likely result from the volcano’s activity.
The blue-green plume along the coastline in this image is likely ash in the water, though pumice may also contribute to the color. Likewise, inland lakes to the east show a similar blue-green color that could result from volcanic material. Although opaque and white, the “clouds” in this image share a point source at the volcano’s summit, indicating that they are probably vapor from Chaitén. The volcanic plume in this image exhibits unusual behavior in that it appears to hug valley floors, leaving skies clear over mountain peaks. In the east, as the land becomes flatter, the gray-beige stain may result from a combination of grounded and airborne volcanic ash.
Dormant for more than 9,000 years, the Chaiten Volcano in southern Chile began to erupt on May 2, 2008, forcing thousands of residents from their homes. In the months that followed, the volcano remained active.