After 20 years of quiet, Cabo Verde’s Fogo island awoke with an intense flank eruption on November 23, 2014. Since then, the eruption has devastated two villages within the volcano’s caldera and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on Earth-Observing 1 (EO-1) captured this image on December 24, 2014. The top image offers a broad view of the island’s most distinctive feature: Cha Caldera. The nine-kilometer wide caldera has a western wall that towers one kilometer above the crater floor. The eastern half of the crater wall is gone, erased by an ancient collapse.
The lower image shows a more detailed view of the caldera. The volcanic plume streams from a fissure at the southwestern base of Pico de Fogo, the island’s highest point. Both of the villages destroyed by the eruption—Portela and Bangaeira—were located within the caldera. On December 6, 2014, lava poured into Portela; by December 8, it had entered Bangaeira. The volcanic plume obscures the remains of the two villages, but the white roofs of a few structures are visible on the upper left side of the image. In addition to the north flow that affected the villages, the 2014 eruption also produced flows that moved south and west.
The last time Fogo erupted was 1995. At the time, lava came within a few kilometers of Portelo, but did not cause serious damage. Prior to that, Fogo erupted in 1951, 1909, and several times in the 1800s. For ground photography of the 2014 eruption, view this gallery from Martin Rietze.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Adam Voiland.