Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands (2009)
On 12 June 2009 the Sarychev Volcano (in the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) was caught in the early stages of eruption by the crew of the International Space Station. Ash from the multi-day eruption has been detected 2,407 kilometers east-southeast and 926 kilometers west-northwest of the volcano.
The plume rising from the explosive eruption is a combination of brown ash and white steam. The eruption cleared a circle in the cloud deck. The clearing may result from the shockwave from the eruption or from sinking air around the eruption plume: as the plume rises, air flows down around the sides like water flowing off the back of a surfacing dolphin. As air sinks, it tends to warm and expand; clouds in the air evaporate.
Credit: Astronaut photograph ISS020-E-9048 was acquired on June 12, 2009, with a Nikon D2XS digital camera fitted with a 400 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 20 crew. [source]