Satellites observe Erupting Volcanos from Space

 

Volcanoes of the Russian far-east have been observed erupting by satellites from space. It is the Kamchatka volcanoes that are being monitored to avert disruption due to regular eruptions for local populations and air travel. It is now possible to analyze ash plumes and thermal anomalies in volcanic areas, perform simulations and determine the characteristics of the volcanic activity.

Some of the volcanos like the Mount Kilauea, or the Mount Saint Helens in Washington which is active are continuously being monitored with specialized instruments. Even though the activities of these volcanos are very harmful, the warnings by the researchers have helped to allocate people to safer zones. 

There are about 1,500 active volcanos all over the Earth and most of them are remotely located and hence are poorly monitored. In such cases, satellites like the Terra spacecraft of NASA can be used to observe potential threats enabling to help communities move to safer zones before something dangerous happens. The volcanoes in the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka Islands are being monitored used by the VolSatView system that uses data from International and Russian satellites. The Kamchatka volcanoes are said to be the most active in the world and erupt about 3 to 7 times in a year. 

Most of the readings are provided by the Russian made satellites the Resource-P, Canopus-B, and Meteor-M with extra data from the agencies like the NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Sentinel satellites of the European Space Agency. The data collected with coordination of different agencies in this manner have helped scientists to produce an aerial view of the 3 satellites of the region. 

An awesome animation picture was made that illustrated clearly the short-term effects of powerful eruptions and the long-term perseverance of ash clouds in the air, which can pose a real threat to aviation and various air-related activities.  When the volcanoes erupt, like the ones in Kamchatka region, they produce large clouds of ash which will have different types of harmful constituents, and these clouds rise up to large heights of  about10 miles and spread across a wide area from the source of the eruption. The cities, towns and nearby populations are most affected as these descend down, causing pollution, killing trees and disrupting communication systems. 

These plumes can also cause problems for air travel as the ash material can get into the jet machinery. Almost all these problems can be avoided if a satellite is there high up, monitoring the active volcanos and passing information to us.