Volcano Just Shot Out a Mushroom-Shaped Cloud So Big It Could Be Seen from Orbit

The volcano Raikoke, which last emerged in 1924, expelled a huge ash plume on June 22.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

An imposing mushroom-shaped cloud of ash and smoke just recently increased from a volcano on an island in the Pacific Ocean, and an astronaut on board the International Spaceport station (ISS) recorded a magnificent view of the eruption from high above.

The volcano Raikoke rests on the Kuril Islands, an island chain of volcanic peaks that lies in between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s Hokkaido Island. On June 22 at roughly 4 a.m. regional time, Raikoke took off for the very first time considering that 1924, expelling a thick plume that might be seen from the ISS, NASA Earth Observatory reported

The imposing plume encompassed an elevation of about 43,000 feet (13 kilometers); it increased from the volcano’s crater and formed a spindly column that puffed out at the top. [The 11 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

In this greatest zone of a volcanic plume, called the umbrella area, the ash cloud’s density matches with the density of the air around it, and the plume’s increase slows and after that stops, according to NASA. Circular gravity waves show up in the plume’s flattened top; they form as pulses of air from listed below push briefly above the plume’s optimum height and after that kick back down, an impact comparable to the dispersing ripples displaced by a stone dropped in water, according to the volcano-tracking site Volcano Discovery

Due to the fact that the ISS picture was taken at an angle and not straight above the volcano, the remarkable height, girth and structure of the ash plume shows up, as is the shadow cast by the plume on the cloud cover far below. Clusters of intense white clouds calling the bottom of the plume are most likely water vapor condensation, “or it might be an increasing plume from interaction in between lava and seawater, due to the fact that Raikoke is a little island and [magma] streams most likely went into the water,” Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Technical University, informed NASA.

Storm winds in the Pacific pulled ash from the Raikoke eruption to the east.

Storm winds in the Pacific pulled ash from the Raikoke eruption to the east.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Raikoke is a stratovolcano, which suggests its slopes are developed from various layers of solidified lava and ash. It reaches 1,808 feet (551 m) above water level, and prior to Raikoke’s 1924 surge, the volcano’s last documented activity remained in 1778, according to the National Museum of Nature’s Worldwide Volcanism Program

Another image recorded by satellite on June 22 reveals thick concentrations of ash on the western half of the plume, while distributing storm winds over the Pacific yank at the plume and draw it eastward. In addition to the ash, Raikoke’s eruption likewise released a plume of sulfur dioxide that winds stirred into the stratosphere, Carn stated.

Initially released on Live Science