Mount Bagana volcano, located in the north central section of Bouganville Island, Papua New Guinea was emitting a long plume of gas and ash on July 7, 2014 when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew overhead and captured a true-color image of the event.
The volcano appears as a light tan circle in this image, indicating the lack of vegetation compared to the surrounding green landscape. The massive and symmetric cone of the 1750-foot high Bagana volcano was formed primarily by rapid accumulation of lava flows. According to Volcano Discovery, the present day cone is quite young – possibly only 300 years old. It has been in near continuous activity since 1972, although reports of activity are often sparse, due to its remote location.
Bouganville Island is geographically part of the Solomon Islands chain to the east of Papua New Guinea. (Politically, the island is part of Papua New Guinea.) Bouganville is typical of many Pacific Rim islands in that volcanism has played a large part in both its geological and recorded history. The island hosts three large volcanoes along its northwest-southeast trending axis: Mount Balbi, Mount Bagana, and the Mount Takuan volcanic complex. Mount Bagana is the only historically active volcano on the island.