On December 30, 2011, Kizimen Volcano emitted a steam plume that condensed rapidly in the frigid winter air of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Kizimen has been erupting since November 2010, when a fissure opened on the volcano’s southeast flank.
In January 2011, a thick lava flow began to descend from the summit towards the east. This flow is still active, and heat sources along the margins of the flow are visible in infrared imagery. Much of the top of the flow is cool enough to allow snow to accumulate on the surface. As the flow grows, volcanic material spills into a stream valley north of the volcano, covering the valley floor with dark debris.
This natural-color image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. White snow covers most of the landscape, with a dusting of brown ash downwind (southeast) of Kizimen’s summit. To the northeast, a fumarole emits a white gas plume. North-facing slopes in the region are in deep shadow because the Sun is low on the horizon in early winter.
NASA image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using ALI data from the EO-1 Team.