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International Space Station Imagery
Mt. Etna’s spectacular eruption
high res (1.0 M) low res (53 K)
ISS005-E-19016 (30 October 2002) --- The three-member crew of the Expedition Five mission onboard the International Space Station was able to observe Mt. Etna’s spectacular eruption, and photograph the details of the eruption plume and smoke from fires triggered by the lava as it flowed down the 11,000 ft mountain. This image and a second image (ISS005-E-19024) are looking obliquely to the southeast over the island of Sicily. This wide view shows the ash plume curving out toward the horizon, caught first by low-level winds blowing to the southeast, and to the south toward Africa at higher altitudes. Ashfall was reported in Libya, more than 350 miles away. The lighter-colored plumes downslope and north of the summit (see detailed view taken the same day, ISS005-E-19024) are produced by forest fires set by lava flowing into the pine forests on the slope of the mountain. The detailed image provides a more three-dimensional profile of the eruption plume. This eruption was one of Etna’s most vigorous in years, volcanologists reported this week. The eruption was triggered by a series of earthquakes on October 27, 2002, they said. These images were taken on October 30. Although schools were closed and air traffic was diverted because of the ash, no towns or villages were reported to have been threatened by the lava flow.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 10/30/2012
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