Rare eruption of Raikoke Volcano snapped from ISS

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A volcano that sat dormant for almost a century erupted suddenly on Saturday and astronauts aboard the International Space Station were able to capture some incredible images of the violent explosion.

The photo shows a large plume of ash and volcanic gases shooting up from the crater on the uninhabited volcanic island of Raikoke, which is located off the coasts of Russian Federation and Japan.

Unlike some of its active neighbours on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, Raikoke volcano on the Kuril Islands rarely erupts. The uninhabited island saw its first volcanic eruption since 1924.

The eruption consisted of at least nine explosions and lasted into the evening, according to the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program. It's surrounded by a ring of white clouds, likely either water vapour condensing out of the air or steam from magma entering the water, Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech, said in a NASA Earth Observatory post.

An unexpected series of blasts from a remote volcano in the Kuril Islands sends ash and volcanic gases streaming high over the North Pacific Ocean. A day after Raikoke erupted, which by the way means "Hellmouth" in the Ainu language, it was all over.

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Scientists said the ash could have reached an altitude of 8 to 10 miles.

The image shows the classic shape of a volcanic plume rising, and then ash spreading at the top. The ash flung up by volcanoes contains fragments of rock and glass, posing a serious hazard to aircraft.

The image also shows a ring of clouds at the base, which seems to have formed from water vapor, NASA officials said in a statement.

Another image was captured on the day where ash was observed to be concentrated the most on the western edge of the plume, right above the volcano.

In addition to tracking ash, satellite sensors can also track the movements of volcanic gases. "The persistence of large sulfur dioxide amounts over the last two days also indicates stratospheric injection".

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