Pacaya Volcano, located about 25 km (16 mi) from the center of Guatemala City, erupted on March 2, 2014, releasing a column of ash that rose approximately 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above the sea. Explosions at the summit tossed incandescent lava bombs about 200 m (650 ft) above the crater, and new lava flow started to descend from the summit on the western flank.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on that same day. A large dark tan plume can be seen blowing to the northwest, and a red hotspot marks the area where the thermal sensors on the instrument detected high temperatures associated with the fresh lava and the crater.
Pacaya is one of Guatemala’s most active volcanoes, and ash plumes can often be seen from Guatemala City. For several decades, the activity has been low level, interspersed with violent phases which include lava fountains and explosive activity. Since the March 2 eruption, activity has continued, but at decreasing levels.