Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: April 21, 2009 – Eruption on Isla Fernandina

By SpaceRef Editor
April 21, 2009
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NASA MODIS Image of the Day: April 21, 2009 – Eruption on Isla Fernandina
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: April 21, 2009 - Eruption on Isla Fernandina


In early April 2009, La Cumbre Volcano on Isla Fernandina in the Galapagos Islands erupted.

On April 11, 2009, authorities at the Galapagos National Park reported that the volcano was releasing both lava flows and volcanic ash plumes.

The same day, the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency reported that a volcanic ash plume extended approximately 150 kilometers (80 nautical miles) southwest of the volcano. La Cumbre Volcano remained active on April 12, 2009, when the MODIS on the Aqua satellite captured this image. The U.S. Air Force Weather Agency, reported that the volcano experienced continuous ash and steam emissions. The plume has spread over a wider area than it had the previous day, and now travels primarily toward the southwest. A segment of the plume appears north of Isla Fernandina, suggesting a shift in wind direction at some point. Compared to the clouds over Isla Isabela and Isla Fernandina, the volcanic plume is slightly darker and thinner, with less distinct margins. Isla Fernandina supports wildlife that could be threatened by the April 2009 burst of volcanic activity, according to rangers at Galapagos National Park. As the island has no human residents, however, no settlements were endangered. Park rangers and a passing tourist boat initially observed the volcano at 10:00 p.m. local time on April 10, 2009. A sparse human population in the western reaches of the Galapagos Islands means that volcanic activity is not always observed or reported as soon as it starts. The seismic station at Puerto Ayora, on the nearby island of Santa Cruz, recorded no earthquakes associated with this eruption. Isla Fernandina is a shield volcano with a low, broad shape that resembles an ancient warrior shield. This volcanic island has an elongated summit caldera roughly 5 kilometers by 6.5 kilometers (3 by 4 miles) wide, and fissures on the caldera’s outskirts have facilitated the volcano’s growth over time. Lava from the volcano has flowed both into the central caldera and toward the island’s shoreline.

SpaceRef staff editor.