- Original Caption Released with Image:
This is an image of Taal volcano, near Manila on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The black area in the center is Taal Lake, which nearly fills the 30-kilometer-diameter (18-mile) caldera. The caldera rim consists of deeply eroded hills and cliffs. The large island in Taal Lake, which itself contains a crater lake, is known as Volcano Island. The bright yellow patch on the southwest side of the island marks the site of an explosion crater that formed during a deadly eruption of Taal in 1965.
The image was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on its 78th orbit on October 5, 1994. The image shows an area approximately 56 kilometers by 112 kilometers (34 miles by 68 miles) that is centered at 14.0 degrees north latitude and 121.0 degrees east longitude. North is toward the upper right of the image. 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).
Since 1572, Taal has erupted at least 34 times. Since early 1991, the volcano has been restless, with swarms of earthquakes, new steaming areas, ground fracturing, and increases in water temperature of the lake. Volcanologists and other local authorities are carefully monitoring Taal to understand if the current activity may foretell an eruption. Taal is one of 15 "Decade Volcanoes" that have been identified by the volcanology community as presenting large potential hazards to population centers. The bright area in the upper right of the image is the densely populated city of Manila, only 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the central crater.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/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 Raumfahrt e.v.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.
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