NASA released this image this week of a January 3, 2017 shot from space of Alaska’s Bogoslof volcano. This volcano unexpectedly began erupting in late December 2016, and it has continued its activity into this year. This image shows the loud, brief eruption of this volcano that took place on January 3, kicking off the new year. NASA Earth Observatory said:
According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, cloud-top temperatures indicate the volcanic plume may have reached as high as 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) into the atmosphere. Winds out of the south carried the cloud north over the Bering Sea.
Noting the location and intensity of the volcanic ash plume is critical because these plumes can be extremely damaging and dangerous for aircraft, and many aircraft do fly a polar route. That’s why there’s an aviation code system in place, to warn aircraft away from volcanic plumes. We’ve watched in recent days as the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has sent multiple notices of changes to the aviation code, related to Bogoslaf volcano.
As recently as January 10 (the day of this writing), AVO wrote that the aviation code had been lowered from Red to Orange, and the alert level from Warning to Watch:
The level of seismic activity at Bogoslof volcano has declined and no further volcanic emissions have occurred since the two strong eruptive pulses on January 8, 2017 at about 22:33 and 22:56 AKST (07:33 and 07:56 Jan 9 UTC). We are therefore lowering the Aviation Color Code to ORANGE and the Alert Level to WATCH.
But, warned AVO:
It remains possible for additional ash-producing eruptions to occur at any time with limited precursory unrest and little warning.
Bottom line: Bogoslaf volcano, from space, on January 3, 2017.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.