Terra Satellite Helps Measure Iceland Volcanic Plume

Apr 21, 2010
Left: a view of the ash plume from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, taken by the nadir (vertical-viewing) camera on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft. Right: a computer-analyzed map of ash plume heights, corrected to compensate for the effects of wind. Reds are highest, blue lowest. Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Terra satellite flew directly over Iceland on April 19, 2010, allowing its Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument to capture a series of images of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and its erupting ash plume.

The left panel of this image shows a view from MISR's nadir (vertical-viewing) camera, while the right panel contains a computer-analyzed map of plume heights, which have been corrected to compensate for the effects of wind. The heights are measured in meters, with red being highest and blue lowest.

The smaller streamers of the plume are just several hundred meters above the surface, whereas the main plume extends to an altitude of about 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles). This is smaller than the 7.3 kilometer (4.5 mile) measured by MISR on April 14, 2010, though conditions remain highly dynamic.

Full nadir (vertical) view of the ash plume as measured by MISR.

Stereo anaglyph of the volcano ash plume, generated from MISR's nadir and 46-degree forward-viewing cameras. When viewed through 3-D glasses, the plume height can be estimated.

The accompanying images at show the full nadir view at top, and a stereo anaglyph at bottom. The anaglyph was generated from MISR's nadir and 46-degree forward-viewing cameras. When the anaglyph is viewed through 3-D glasses, the plume height can be estimated.

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