Soufrière Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat had been quiet for months before bursting into life in early October 2009. Since October 4, the volcano has erupted ash and steam, pyroclastic flows have cascaded frequently down its flanks (in all directions), and scientists at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory have observed vigorous growth of the summit lava dome. On October 20, 2009, mudflows triggered by heavy rainfall swept down Belham Valley, to the west of Soufrière Hills.
This natural-color image was acquired in the early afternoon on October 20, 2009, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. A plume of ash and steam, likely topped by clouds, extends west from Soufrière Hills. The Air Force Weather Agency reported ash at flight level 70 (2,100 meters). MODIS detected a hot spot (outlined in red) near the volcano’s summit, likely from the lava dome.
After 10 months of relative quiet, Soufriere Hills Volcano on the Caribbean island Montserrat resumed activity in early October 2009. It remained active in early 2010, covering large areas with pyroclastic flows.