Satellite View of Kilauea Eruption

NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team2018-05-07


Washington, DC, United States

This image from NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft show recent eruptions of Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii (the Big Island). Following days of increased seismic activity, Kilauea erupted May 3, 2018, and triggered a number of additional fissure eruptions along the East Rift Zone. The eruptions and high level of sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) prompted evacuations in the area, including the Leilani Estates subdivision near the town of Pahoa.

The ASTER images, acquired on May 6, 2018, show different aspects of the eruption. A color composite depicts vegetation in red, and old lava flows in black and gray. Superimposed on the image in yellow are hotspots detected on the thermal infrared bands. The easternmost hot spots show the newly formed fissures and the lava flow spilling to the northwest.

The middle spots are Pu'u O'o crater, and lava flows descending the slopes to the southeast. The westernmost area is the crater and lava lake on Kilauea's summit. The greenish area southwest of Pu'u O'o is ash deposits from its short eruption on Friday.

The inset shows the massive sulfur dioxide plume is shown in yellow and yellow-green, extracted from ASTER's multiple thermal bands. A smaller, but thicker, sulfur dioxide gas plume can be seen coming from Kilauea. The prevailing trade winds blow the plumes to the southwest, out over the ocean. The images cover an area of 57.8 by 63 kilometers, and are located at 19.3 degrees North, 155.1 degrees West.


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  • Title: Satellite View of Kilauea Eruption
  • Creator: NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team
  • Date Created: 2018-05-07
  • Rights: JPL
  • Album: kboggs