The powerful eruption of the Raikoke volcano was captured by astronauts on the International Space Station on Saturday.
Raikoke Volcano resides on a small, egg-shaped island on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.
Image shows the volcanic column rising upward before spreading out laterally in what is known as an umbrella region. On June 22 at approximately 4 a.m. local time, Raikoke exploded for the first time since 1924, expelling a dense plume that could be seen from the ISS, NASA Earth Observatory reported.
The European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel satellite also snapped an image of the unexpected eruption. This cloud could likely be water vapor condensing out of the air; alternatively, it could be steam from the hot bright orange magma entering the water.
A third image (below), an oblique, composite view based on data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP, shows the plume a few hours later. After an initial surge of activity that included several distinct explosive pulses, activity subsided and strong winds spread the ash across the Pacific, according to NASA. But this quiet period came to an abrupt end in the early morning of June 22, when Raikoke blew its top sending a vast ash plume up to 8 miles into the sky, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisories Center (VAAC). This could pose a danger to aircraft because it contains small pieces of rock and volcanic glass.
The Raikoke eruption also produced a concentrated plume of sulfur dioxide (SO2) that separated from the ash and swirled throughout the North Pacific.
It is important to closely monitor ash plumes that reach the stratosphere because they have the capacity to stay in the atmosphere for much longer than those which stop at lower altitudes.