The waters along the shoreline of Sicily appear bright aquamarine in this image from April 7, 2002. Although other satellite images occasionally show lightening along the coast of Sicily and southern Italy, the water is unusually bright in this image. The bright water may have been caused by a recent storm that either stirred up sediment from relatively shallow sea bottom, or could be a springtime phytoplankton bloom. (Distinguishing phytoplankton from sediment is one of the challenges facing NASA researchers who study life in the oceans from satellites.)
Another interesting feature of this image is the smoke plume from Mount Etna that is streaming almost directly to the East (right). Mt. Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanos, and erupts up to several times a year.
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC