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Restless Pagan Volcano
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Restless Pagan Volcano

September 13, 2012
A plume of steam poured from the restless Pagan volcano in early September 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite caught the volcanic emissions on the morning of September 2.

In this image, a gray plume of volcanic steam and gas rises from the Pagan volcano and streams northward over the Pacific Ocean. A bright white formation aligned with the plume appears to be a cloud bank, although it is difficult to be sure in the true-color image. The false-color images available, however, strongly suggest this is cloud.

The sea surrounding Pagan Island appears silvery due to sunglint, which is light reflected off a water surface towards the observer such that it creates the appearance of a mirror-like surface. Sunglint may obscure some features, but it enhances others. Here the silvery surface of the ocean forms a sharp contrast with the clouds, the green island and the gray plume, making these all easier to view.

According the United States Geological Survey (USGS), steam and gas plumes, at times extending more than 100 miles downwind, were present throughout the past week. As of September 12, however, the USGS received no further reports of unrest or activity at Pagan volcano. The volcano is not monitored with ground-based instruments, so activity is monitored only by satellite observations and reports from observers who may pass by or visit the island.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC