On August 14, 2013 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over southern Japan and captured this true-color image of a volcanic plume rising from Sakura-jima volcano. The ash-gray plume can be seen rising from the circular volcano near the center of the image, and blowing to the southeast. On that same day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) documented a SO2 anomaly from multiple recent eruptions hovering over Kagoshima Bay and the volcano.
Sakura-jima is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and is in near constant eruption. Explosions had averaged about 2-3 each day in the week prior to this image, with several large plumes rising to 10,000 feet (3 km).
On August 18, a mushroom-shaped ash plume was ejected from the volcano during a 50 minute eruption, rising over 16,000 feet (5 km) – the highest ever recorded for Sakura-jima. Lava poured from about 1,000 meters (.6 mi) down the southeast flank, and the eruption dumped heavy ash on Kagoshima city, located on the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu. This vigorous event was said to be the 500th eruption of Sakura-jima this year.