Iceland Seen From Orbit

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 20, 2015
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Iceland Seen From Orbit

Iceland, dressed in winter white, peaked through a hole in a complex system of clouds in late February, 2015.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on February 21 as it passed over the region.

Ice and snow covers Iceland almost entirely, except for coastal regions in the southwest and southeast. The extensive, roughly H-shaped area in the southeast section of the island is Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier. Hidden underneath the ice lies Bardarbunga, a large subglacial stratovolcano. On August 31, 2014 the volcano began an eruption at two fissures to the north of the glacier and deposited a lava field that measured about 131 feet (40 meters) at its thickest points, and covered an area about 33 sq. mi (85 sq. km) by the time the eruption ended on February 27, 2015. The massive lava flow left its mark on Iceland – the cooled lava can be seen as the roughly oval black area to the north of the Vatnajökull glacier.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team Larger image

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