Plume from Klyuchevskaya Volcano
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Plume from Klyuchevskaya Volcano

December 12, 2008
The MODIS on the Terra satellite captured this image of the volcanic ash from the Klyuchevskaya Volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula on December 10, 2008. Unlike soft, fluffy ash from burning vegetation, volcanic ash consists of tiny, jagged particles. It is abrasive, slightly corrosive, and able to conduct electricity when wet.

The brown ash stains the snowy land surface east of Klyuchevskoy. Because of the clear definition of the land features, including some light-colored slopes facing away from the volcano, it is possible to tell that the ash has settled on the ground. Overhead, a wisp of volcanic vapor is visible blowing away from the volcano and out over the Bering Sea. The red dot at the volcano summit is a hotspot where MODIS has detected unusually warm surface temperatures.

Klyuchevskaya (also Klyuchevskoy or Kliuchevskoi) is the highest volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It also ranks among the peninsula's most active as it is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” Klyuchevskaya is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of solidified ash, hardened lava, and rocks produced by previous eruptions.

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