Eruption activity escalated at the Klyuchevskoy volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula in autumn 2023. When the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image on November 1, 2023, the ash plume from Klyuchevskoy (also Kliuchevskoi) rose as high as 12 kilometers (40,000 feet) above sea level. The plume extended 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to the east-southeast, reported the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT).
The false-color image below offers a detailed look at the lava flows and ash plume emanating from the volcano. It was acquired by the OLI (Operational Land Imager) on Landsat 8 on November 1, 2023. The hot lava gives off a shortwave infrared signal that makes it appear red in this band combination (6-5-3). Clouds appear blue, contrasting with the gray, roiling plume.
As a precaution, authorities ordered the closure of schools in two nearby towns, according to news reports. The aviation color code was elevated to red, the highest warning level, due to the significant emissions of ash into the atmosphere.
Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Kamchatka Peninsula is home to more than 300 volcanoes, including several that are frequently active. The current eruption at Klyuchevskoy, Eurasia’s tallest active volcano, has been ongoing since June 2023, when KVERT noted the start of Strombolian eruptions. Explosive eruptions and lava flows continued in the ensuing months. Landsat 8 captured an image of a tamer eruptive phase, along with activity at neighboring volcano Bezymianny, in mid-October 2023.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Wanmei Liang and Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Story by Lindsey Doermann.