- Original Caption Released with Image:
This is an image of the Kliuchevskoi volcano, Kamchatka, Russia, which began to erupt on September 30, 1994. Kliuchevskoi is the bright white peak surrounded by red slopes in the lower left portion of the image.
The image was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on its 25th orbit on October 1, 1994. The image shows an area approximately 30 kilometers by 60 kilometers (18.5 miles by 37 miles) that is centered at 56.18 degrees north latitude and 160.78 degrees east longitude. North is toward the top of the image. The Kamchatka volcanoes are among the most active volcanoes in the world. The volcanic zone sits above a tectonic plate boundary, where the Pacific plate is sinking beneath the northeast edge of the Eurasian plate. The Endeavour crew obtained dramatic video and photographic images of this region during the eruption, which will assist scientists in analyzing the dynamics of the current activity. The colors in this image were obtained using the following radar channels: red represents the L-band (horizontally transmitted and received); green represents the L-band (horizontally transmitted and vertically received); blue represents the C-band (horizontally transmitted and vertically received).
The Kamchatka River runs from left to right across the image. An older, dormant volcanic region appears in green on the north side of the river. The current eruption included massive ejections of gas, vapor and ash, which reached altitudes of 20,000 meters (65,000 feet). New lava flows are visible on the flanks of Kliuchevskoi, appearing yellow/green in the image, superimposed on the red surfaces in the lower center. Melting snow triggered mudflows on the north flank of the volcano, which may threaten agricultural zones and other settlements in the valley to the north.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves, allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrte.v. (DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.
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