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This is an image of the Colima volcano in Jalisco, Mexico, a vigorously active volcano that erupted as recently as July 1994. The eruption partially destroyed a lava dome at the summit and deposited a new layer of ash on the volcano's southern slopes. Surrounding communities face a continuing threat of ash falls and volcanic mudflows from the volcano, which has been designated one of 15 high-risk volcanoes for scientific study during the next decade.
This image was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on its 24th orbit on October 1, 1994. The image is centered at 19.4 degrees north latitude, 103.7 degrees west longitude. The area shown is approximately 35.7 kilometers by 37.5 kilometers (22 miles by 23 miles). This single-frequency, multi-polarized SIR-C image shows: red as L-band horizontally transmitted and received; green as L-band horizontally transmitted and vertically received; and blue as the ratio of the two channels. The summit area appears orange and the recent deposits fill the valleys along the south and southwest slopes. Observations from space are helping scientists understand the behavior of dangerous volcanoes and will be used to mitigate the effects of future eruptions on surrounding populations.
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: the L-band (24 cm), the C-band (6 cm) and the 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 Raumfahrt e.V.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.
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