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NASA satellites pictured this Russian volcano explode from space

NASA satellites pictured this Russian volcano explode from space

Take a look at the extraordinary satellite pictures NASA took after the Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano exploded.

In a scene straight out of a disaster movie, Russia's mightiest volcano, Klyuchevskaya Sopka, has spewed a colossal ash cloud that stretched 1,000 miles (1600km) across the sky.

That’s according to NASA's latest satellite images, which revealed that the volcano's violent eruption earlier in November could be seen from space.

The ash cloud rose as high as 40,000ft (12km) above sea level, making for some dramatic scenes.

The plume of ash photographed by a NASA satellite.
NASA Earth Observatory/Wanmei Liang and Lauren Dauphin

Klyuchevskaya Sopka stands in Russia's far-flung Kamchatka Peninsula, which is pretty much a hotspot for volcanoes. The region is part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, which is like a tectonic theme park, home to the majority of the planet's active volcanoes (there are over 400 of them).

Towering at a whopping 15,255ft, Klyuchevskaya Sopka is Eurasia's tallest active volcano.

The latest eruption is no one-off, either. The Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano has been in a huff for a few months now, the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) had noted the start of Strombolian eruptions (relatively mild, yet consistent, explosive activity) since June. Alongside this, activity was recorded at neighboring volcano Bezymianny, in mid-October 2023.

However, it wasn’t until November 1 that it really let loose, with NASA's satellites capturing some stunning shots of the huge plumes of ash and smoke.

The ash plume stretched over the Pacific Ocean.
NASA Earth Observatory/Wanmei Liang and Lauren Dauphin

The dramatic images look like they’re straight out of a Hollywood VFX studio, with vivid red lava, grey smoke and blue clouds all in one apocalyptic-style vista.

The eruption was so intense that KVERT had to temporarily raise the aviation alert level to red (the highest possible level). Planes were grounded as a result, and schools got a surprise break due to the spike in air pollution.

Thankfully, the eruption hasn’t seemed to have caused any lasting damage. The volcano has calmed down, no one was hurt, and life in Kamchatka is getting back to normal.

While Klyuchevskaya Sopka's eruptive performance was impressive, it doesn’t take the top spot.

Tonga's underwater volcano eruption in January 2022 was far worse, sending a plume soaring 35 miles (57km). And it wasn't just a spectacle - it had some serious consequences.

NASA said that the extra water vapor it released could influence atmospheric chemistry, boosting certain chemical reactions that could temporarily worsen depletion of the ozone layer.

Featured Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Wanmei Liang and Lauren Dauphin/longtaildog/Getty Images