Rabaul Volcano on the northeastern end of New Britain released plumes of volcanic ash and/or steam in early April 2009, according to the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on April 3, 2009. In this image, the off-white plume blows away from the volcano summit in a clockwise direction. The plume’s light color suggests that it contains more water vapor than ash.
Rabaul is a pyroclastic shield volcano—a volcano with a low, broad shape resembling an ancient warrior shield, covered with rocks from later eruptions. The volcano sits on the tip of New Britain’s Gazelle Peninsula. The volcano forms a natural harbor, and was used as such prior to a major eruption in 1994.
The light color of the ocean surface throughout the left side of this image is not related to the volcano. This is sunglint resulting from the mirror-like reflection of sunlight off the ocean surface.