[Note: Dario Tedesco, a scientist at the Goma Volcanological Observatory, recently flew over Nyiragongo to check for signs of increased activity. He did not see any ash or abnormal emissions. The volcano was behaving much as it has for the past ten years. His observations are a reminder that remote sensing is a powerful tool, but it is most useful when combined with direct measurements and local knowledge.]
Africa’s Mount Nyiragongo—one of the few volcanoes with a permanent lava lake—recently experienced a surge in activity. Since July 3rd, the Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported a series of ash plumes up to an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,500 meters), which is about 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above the volcano’s 11,384-foot (3,470 m) summit. Nyiragongo frequently emits sulfur dioxide, but ash emissions are unusual. This natural-color satellite image shows emissions streaming southwest from Nyiragongo, with an additional plume from nearby Nyamuragira. This image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on July 5, 2012.
Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center. (2012, July 5). VA Advisory. Accessed July 5, 2012.
In contrast to the explosive eruptions of the previous week, ash emissions from Mount Redoubt became more frequent but confined to lower altitudes on March 30, 2009. The commercial satellite GeoEye-1 captured a high-resolution view of the volcano the same day.