Tiny Kasatochi Volcano created a big mess in August 2008, spewing ash and sulfur dioxide over the Aleutian Islands. The volcano erupted with little warning on August 7, 2008. No one was hurt, but two biologists were evacuated from the island just hours before the eruption. According to the Associated Press, the ash forced Alaska Airlines to cancel 44 flights between Alaska, Canada, and the continental United States. Until the eruption, the steep-sided volcano harbored a small lake inside its 314-meter (1000-foot) summit, and vegetation (red in this image) covered the slopes. Cliffs along the shoreline may be the result of erosion from heavy surf, visible as a white fringe around the island. Kasatochi had not erupted in at least 200 years.
This image, composed of near-infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light, was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on September 23, 2003.
NASA image and caption by Robert Simmon, based on data from the NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.
After earthquakes and other seismic activity starting on August 7, 2008, Kasatochi Volcano began erupting large plumes of ash and gases in subsequent days. Over the following week, the plume of sulfur dioxide spread across Canada and the Northeast United States.