The Soufriere Hills Volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat began 2009 with continuing plumes of ash and steam. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on New Year’s Day. The volcanic plume zigzags west then northeast. An intense plume of volcanic ash and steam also hovers over the volcano summit.
The Montserrat Volcano Observatory’s weekly bulletin for December 26 - January 2, 2009, described an increase in volcanic activity over the previous week, including pyroclastic flows—avalanches of scorching gas, rocks, and debris—regularly reaching the bottom of Tyers (or Tyres) Ghaut, a tributary of the Belham Valley, on the side of Soufriere Hills Volcano. Some pyroclastic flows even infiltrated the upper portion of the Belham River. The bulletin also reported ash falls over Isles Bay, Garibaldi Hill, Old Towne, Salem, and Olveston.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.