April 16, 2013 - Plume from Mount Michael volcano, South Sandwich Islands (false color)

Plume from Mount Michael volcano, South Sandwich Islands (false color)

The Mount Michael volcano, located in the remote South Sandwich Islands, continued a low-level simmering eruptive pattern in early April, 2013. In this false-color image, the bright white plume can be seen trailing northeast across the southern Atlantic Ocean, blown hundreds of kilometers from the source by strong ocean breezes.

The wind also creates interesting wave patterns as it blows past each island. As the fast-moving air hits the high, blunt, mountainous terrain, the forward motion stops, and air flow is directed around the obstacle in turbulent wave patterns. Such turbulence is often written in the cloud patterns - and the ship-waved-shape wave clouds seen here are typical patterns for the turbulence created by the South Sandwich Islands.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra Satellite captured this false-color image on April 1. In this image, bands 3,6 and 7 have been combined to create an image that separates the warmer, highly reflective gaseous plume from Mount Michael from the surrounding cold cloud cover. With this combination, ocean water appears dark black, cloud tops appear orange, and the volcanic plume is bright white.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/1/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 3,6,7
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC