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Soufriere Hills Volcano Continues Activity

Soufriere Hills Volcano Continues Activity

After 10 months of relative quiet, Soufriere Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat blasted ash into the sky in early October 2009. This natural-color satellite image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft, shows a plume of ash extending westward from Soufriere Hills on October 12, 2009, a week after eruptive activity resumed on October 5th. According to the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency, ash extended 540 kilometers (330 miles) at an elevation of approximately 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).

Soufriere Hills is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of hardened lava, solidified ash, and rocks ejected by previous eruptions. After the seventeenth century, the volcano experienced no recorded eruptions until 1995, when a series of major eruptions eventually forced the evacuation of the Montserrat’s former capital city, Plymouth.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of this region. Caption by Robert Simmon.