An erupting Sarychev volcano in the northwest Pacific captured from space. (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)
The spectacular, eye-popping beauty of an erupting volcano is not to be missed if it is captured from space.
Crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) got a rare image of the Sarychev volcano as it erupted on June 12, 2009.
One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Sarychev Peak is located in the northern part of the Kuril Islands of Russia in the northern Pacific.
Large explosive eruptions occurred on June 11-19, 2009, sending huge ash clouds up to 14 km in the sky, forcing many flights with routes across the northern Pacific to either be cancelled or diverted.
The ISS happened to be passing over the Sarychev volcano just as it was beginning to erupt.
The volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands chain, erupted in 1989, 1986, 1976 and 1946.
In the image, the plume appears to be brown ash capped with a head of white steam, a result of air rising quickly in a strong updraft, before cooling and condensing.
"The plume was so immense that it cast a large shadow on the island," said a press release from NASA Earth Observatory located in Greenbelt, Maryland, US.
On the ground, denser, grey ash, known as pyroclastic flows, can be seen.