ISS013-E-24184 (23 May 2006) —- Eruption of Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the International Space Station. This most recent eruption was first reported to the Alaska Volcano Observatory by astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, NASA space station science officer and flight engineer, at 3:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (23:00 GMT). This image, acquired shortly after the beginning of the eruption, captures the ash plume moving west-southwest from the summit vent. The eruption was short-lived; the plume had completely detached from the volcano summit two hours later (via Photo-iss013e24184)
Sicily and Mount Etna (by European Space Agency)
Europe’s largest active volcano, the 3350 metre-high Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy, resumed eruptions in September 2006. It became highly active in November and its ash clouds forced local authorities to close nearby Fontanarossa airport. This image was taken on 25 November 2006 by Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument, and shows smoke from the volcano.
Satellite data can be used to detect the signs of change that may foretell volcanic eruptions. Once an eruption begins, optical and radar instruments see the various phenomena associated with it, including lava flows, mud slides, ground fissures and earthquakes. Atmospheric sensors on satellites can also identify the gases released by the eruption, as well as quantify their wider environmental impact.
Lightning crackles over Japan on Friday as ash and lava erupt from Shinmoedake peak, one of the calderas of the Kirishima volcano complex.
Shinmoedake began erupting Wednesday, coating nearby villages and farms with ash and prompting authorities to ask for voluntary evacuations within a 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) radius.
Volcanic lightning is still a mystery, though it may be that electrically charged silica—part of magma—interacts with the atmosphere when it flies out of a volcano, Steve McNutt of the Alaska Volcano Observatory told National Geographic News in February 2010.