Thursday, August 26, 2010

Islands of Four Mountains

The picturesque, but snow-capped volcanoes, composing the Islands of the Four Mountains in Alaska's Aleutian Island chain look suspiciously like an alien world in this August 2010 image from the ASTER camera aboard NASA's orbiting Terra satellite.

The islands contain restless Mt. Cleveland, an active volcano currently being watched to see if it emits an ash cloud that could affect air travel over parts of North America. A close look at Mt. Cleveland, seen near the image center, shows red vegetation (false color), a white snow-covered peak, a light plume of gas and ash, and dark lanes where ash and debris fell or flowed. Millions of volcanoes have likely been active over the turbulent history of the Earth's surface, while about 20 volcanoes are erupting even today, at any given time.

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