HomeOutdoorsViralSatellite Images From Space Show Mauna Loa Oozing Lava and Ash: LOOK

Satellite Images From Space Show Mauna Loa Oozing Lava and Ash: LOOK

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Some recently released satellite images give us a rare glimpse at the active Mauna Loa volcano as it continues to ooze lava, spewing ash and gas into the air. The satellite images come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They depict what the erupting Hawaiian volcano looks like from above. As it continues to release lava onto the land. The volcano is also covering areas within Hawaii’s Big Island with ash and releasing gases into the atmosphere.

One of the images released by the NOAA shows the bright red and orange lava. This lava is flowing down Mauna Loa onto the Hawaiian island. It’s a sharp contrast compared to the lush greens and brown hues from the natural vegetation and tropics that cover the island.

Another image depicts massive plumes of ash that the volcano is pumping into the Hawaiian sky. The white ash spews up above Mauna Loa into the sky, eventually blending in with the clouds floating in the sky. Other images released by the NOAA feature footage of the sulfur dioxide emissions as they float into the atmosphere.

The Satellites Captured The Impressive Pictures In Real Time

According to the reports, the NOAA satellites that captured the unique footage and images are called GOES-17, GOES-18, NOAA-20, and Suomi NPP.

The GOES-17 satellite was monitoring the eruption in real-time as the plumes spewed from Mauna Loa’s mouth. GOES-18 gave us views of the ash and vapor emissions coming from the volcano. This satellite also provides views of the lava fields flowing from Mauna Loa.

The NOAA-20 is the satellite that captured some impressive imagery of the November 28 eruption. It later tracked the sulfur dioxide emissions that resulted from the event, along with the other satellites. When it is released into the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide gases react with the gasses and particles already present in the air. This creates what is known as “vog”. Vog, scientists explain, is a very hazardous form of air pollution.

Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption began on Nov. 27 at 11:30 p.m., Hawaiian time. This eruption was the first from the well-known volcano in 38 years. Mauna Loa remains the largest active volcano on the planet.

By Thursday of this week, however, the lava flow has begun to slow down. Officials note the lava flow is moving at about 20 feet to 40 feet per hour. The current lava flow coming from Mauna Loa does not pose a threat to the 200,000 residents populating the Hawaiian island.