December 28, 2012 - Eruption at Plosky Tolbachik, Kamchatka Peninsula, eastern Russia

Eruption at Plosky Tolbachik, Kamchatka Peninsula, eastern Russia

The eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano continued full force on December 14, 2012 when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)aboard the Aqua satellite passed over the region and captured this true-color image. A large thermal anomaly, colored in red, marks the site of massive, steaming lava flows. Snow around the volcano has been discolored by the heavy ash fall and appears gray, especially to the northeast and southwest. Most reports have noted that the ash was pouring primarily northeast or eastward for the past several days, so the discoloration to the southwest may have another component, such as thinning snow, as well as an ash layer.

After 36 years of quiescence, Russia’s Plosky Tolbachik volcano abruptly awoke on November 27, spewing ash 10,000 meters (32,808 ft) into the air and filling the caldera with fresh and gushing lava. Heavy ash fall, reported as thick as 4 cm (1.6 in) thick fell in Krasny Yar, which lies about 35 km (21 mi) from the volcano. Over the last month the dramatic eruption has continued, resulting in the collapse of a newly created cinder cone and the spilling of a lava lake downslope in a sudden flash flood.

On December 26, Volcano-news,com reported that the eruption intensity appears to be decreasing over the last few days. The thermal anomalies have appeared smaller, suggesting decreasing lava output. Tremor is still high and lava flows remain active, however. Although the eruptive end may be in sight, it may not be imminent.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 12/14/2012
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC