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Caught on NASA's Camera: Volcano "Silent' for 60 Years, Covered in Glacial Snow Erupts

May 13, 2016 09:48 AM EDT
Space Station Catches Etna Eruption
If not for NASA, the volcanic activity of mountains hidden in isolated areas will go unnoticed.
(Photo : ISS/NASA/Getty Images)

NASA's space aircrafts including the International Space Station serves as the eye of mankind on anything unusual happening in the outer space. But it can also give us a glimpse on the most unusual activities on Earth.

A recent eruption of a volcano in the South Atlantic Ocean, where the 'silent' volcano Mount Sourbaya, covered in ice sheets and which haven't erupted in 60 years, was seen spewing ashes, and NASA caught it on camera. According to scientists, the colors present on the photo suggests there was indeed an eruption. And if not for NASA, the eruption of the silent volcano will go unnoticed.


Before modern technology, hundreds, maybe thousands of volcanoes and their activities remain unnoticed because there are no human habitations near them. 

"Before the advent of satellites and seismic monitoring, volcanic eruptions in distant places would mostly go unnoticed unless they were absolutely extraordinary" said NASA in a statement.

The mountain, which was 'silent' for 60 years, seemed to have erupted twice "releasing impressive amounts of lava" said RT. NASA was able to photograph the event which happened on April 24 and May 1.

LiveScience said that the eruption could have gone unnoticed because no single soul lives near Mount Sourabaya. But thanks to a NASA satellite, the eruption was immortalized in a photo.

"Today, scientists can pick up signatures of events occurring far from any human observers" said NASA.

NASA said the image was captured using the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite. The image shows two false-color and was built from a combination of shortwave-infrared, near-infrared and red light that detects heat signature of an eruption.

"Both images show the heat signatures (red-orange) of what is likely hot lava, while white plumes trail away from the crater. The band combination makes the ice cover of the island appear bright blue-green" NASA added.

NASA said the last eruption of the volcano was in 1956.


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