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Plume from Soufriere Hills Volcano

Plume from Soufriere Hills Volcano

The Soufriere Hills Volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat released a plume of ash and/or steam in late November 2008. On November 29, 2008, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of the plume wafting toward the southwest.

When sulfur dioxide and other volcanic pollutants mix with oxygen and water vapor in the presence of sunlight, the result is volcanic smog, or vog. In the west, the volcanic plume takes on the amorphous appearance of vog as it mixes with nearby clouds.

Soufriere Hills is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of hardened lava, solidified ash, and rocks ejected by previous eruptions. The volcano’s summit reaches an elevation of 915 meters (3,002 feet). After the seventeenth century, the volcano experienced no recorded eruptions until 1995, when a series of major eruptions eventually destroyed the island’s capital city, Plymouth.

NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.