Followup on recent Sarychev Peak eruption

by Eric on July 12, 2009

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A few weeks ago, we reported on how ISS astronauts serendipitously photographed the eruption of Sarychev Peak as it was occurring, capturing pyroclastic flows as they sped down the mountain’s slopes.

This week, NASA’s Earth Observatory released images taken by the ASTER satellite showing in graphic detail the resulting devastation of over half of the Ostrov Matua.

First, let’s have a look at this peaceful, unsuspecting island back in 2007:


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Now, let’s have a look post-eruption. I’ve outlined in yellow the original coastline:


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As released by Earth Observatory, red colors represent the remaining vegetation. Pretty clearly, pyroclastic flows have not only wiped out most of the vegetation, but have also altered the coastline in fairly substantial ways. Here’s an ISS photo, reoriented to roughly the same angle to give you an idea of what the island looked like during the eruption:


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Any part of the island you can still see in this photo is pretty much the red untouched region in the satellite image.

Ostrov Matua satellite photos: Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

Eruption photo: ISS020-E-9044, NASA Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center.

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