December 14, 2008 - Chaiten Volcano Activity

Chaiten Volcano Activity

After more than 9,000 years of silence, the Chaiten volcano of southern Chile erupted on May 2, 2008. The plume of ash and steam rose 35,000 to 55,000 feet into the atmosphere and ash blanketed the town of Chaiten, 10 kilometers away, forcing the town’s 4,000 people to evacuate by boat. The volcano erupted a second time on May 6.

The ash and steam plume, which rose high over the Andes mountains, drifted across Argentina to the Atlantic Ocean, as you can see in this image.

The volcano has stayed active since May, with a notable eruption in July. The lava dome has also continued to grow. The volcano has had some recent activity in late November and early December. This volcanism blog has excellent updates and photos of the recent explosions and emissions emanating from Chaiten.

This image, captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite, shows the Chaiten Volcano on December 11, 2008. White and gray ash is still visible on the landscape surrounding it, and a small white plume visible above it. The plume is west of the ash - the white spot east of the ash is snow in the mountains. The plume is most easily visible and easiest to distinguish from snow on the 250m image - there is a small red dot marking a hotspot detected by MODIS.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 12/11/2008
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC