Lava Flow near Nyamuragira Volcano


After bursting to life with 300-meter (1,000-foot) tall lava fountains in November 2011, the eruption of central Africa’s Nyamuragira Volcano continued into the new year.

These satellite images show the volcano on the morning of January 3, 2012. In the natural-color image (top), an active lava flow snakes to the northeast, while the central vent and a volcanic plume rich in sulfur dioxide are also visible. According to volcanologist Erik Klemetti of the Eruptions blog, the orange color and narrow trace of the flow suggest that it is open to the air, unlike flows on Kilauea which are usually carried through lava tubes. Older flows and undisturbed forest are also visible.

The false-color image (lower) shows the summit of Nyamuragira and nearby Nyiragongo Volcano. The heat of the active lava flow causes it to glow in shortwave and near-infrared light, giving a bright red-orange appearance. A lava lake within the summit crater of Nyiragongo is also glowing.

These images were acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using ALI data from the EO-1 Team.

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