2018 News and Updates

August 6, 2018
These collections of visible-wavelength (RGB) digital camera images were taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on August 2-4, 2018, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center The images provide regional context, and may be useful for visualization of the ongoing event. Higher spatial resolution images may be suitable for spatial analysis to support decision making or research applications. View the full gallery of ISS images here: 


August 6, 2018
Aqua MODIS data acquired August 2nd, 2018. 
Aqua MODIS natural color image acquired August 2nd, 2018. Aqua MODIS false color image acquired August 2nd, 2018.  Wildfires continue to rage in Northern California and other parts of the American West. Thousands of firefighters are battling fires fueled by hot, mostly dry weather and strong winds. On August 2, 2018, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired these natural- and false-color images. The second image, which includes bands of shortwave infrared light, reveal the burn scars left in the wake of the fires. Use the image comparison tool to spot the details.


June 28, 2018
SNPP/OMPS SO2 map for Sierra Negra
SNPP/OMPS SO2 map for Sierra Negra on June 27, 2018. Based on the coincident IR observations the plume altitude increases moving away from the volcano. AIRS is not detecting any SO2 between the volcano and ~100ºW. If one assumes all the SO2 between the volcano and 100ºW is lower tropospheric and the rest is in the upper troposphere, the total SO2 mass is ~280 kilotons (~0.3 Tg) with ~0.1 Tg in the UTLS. 


July 27, 2018
LAOS Dam failure
On July 25, 2018, the Sentinel-1 satellite from the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus program captured a clear image of the collapsed Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam and resulting floods. The imagery within the map viewer shows a drastic drop in the reservoir level, the impacts of which were felt on villages downstream.  NASA and SERVIR-Mekong processed satellite imagery to estimate the extent of the flooded areas, particularly along the Xe Pian River and village of Sanamxai along the Xe Khong River in Attapeu province. Since the dam failure on July 23, cloudy skies have prevented clear views of the affected area. A synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor onboard Sentinel-1 offers cloud-penetrating technology, providing this first clear view.  For more information: https://servir.adpc.net/about/contact-servir-mekong


July 17, 2018
MODIS thermal time series for Fuego
The upper-right figure shows a plot of total emitted radiance (at 4 microns) from Fuego observed by MODIS (MODVOLC product) from 2000 to present. The time-series data appear that the recent Fuego eruption (June 03, 2018) came at the end of a long waxing-then-waning period of thermal output which began in 2015, and peaked sometime late 2017.


June 28, 2018
Landsat 8 image aquired June 24th, 2018.
Landsat 8 image aquired June 24th, 2018. On June 3, 2018, torrents of hot ash, rock, and gas poured down ravines and stream channels on the slopes of Volcán de Fuego—Guatamala’s Volcano of Fire. More than three weeks after the eruption, the Landsat 8 satellite continued to detect elevated temperatures in some of the pyroclastic flow deposits. The avalanches of volcanic debris swallowed hundreds of homes, killed more than 100 people, and injured thousands. As rain mixed with ash and rock in the weeks following the eruption, volcanic mudslides (lahars) sent debris tumbling down drainage channels on Fuego’s southern slope. In the natural-color image above, the pyroclastic flow and lahar deposits appear as tendrils of gray amidst the green, forested mountainside. At the moment of eruption, the magma had a temperature of about 1000 degrees Celsius (1800 °F) Though the debris cooled rapidly in the rainy weather that followed the eruption, pyroclastic flow deposits in the Las Lajas drainage basin (southeast of the summit vent) remained 4 to 6 degrees warmer than the surrounding landscape when Landsat 8 passed over on June 24, 2018. Temperatures were also elevated in volcanic deposits in the Santa Teresa and Ceniza drainages. The former is west of the summit vent; the latter is southwest of the vent. In the thermal map above, warm areas appear bright and yellow; cooler areas are purple and blue. Undeveloped, higher-elevation areas with vegetation have lower land surface temperatures than lower-elevation developed areas.


June 25, 2018
NASA LaRC scientist Dr. Jean-Paul Vernier provided an update to the Congressional Hazards Caucus on NASA Disaster Program’s response to assess and reduce the impacts to people and property for the recent volcanic eruptions of  Kilauea, Hawaii, and Fuego, Guatemala. Dr. Vernier was accompanied by Director of Science Dave Young (LaRC), Shanna McClain (NASA HQ), Batu Osmanoglu (GSFC), and Donna Lawson (OLIA/ LaRC). The Congressional Hazards Caucus briefing drew a record number of 65 attendees, including approximately 50 staff members representing a diverse geographic group of Congressional offices and committees.  The brief was informative and included updates from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) program coordinator for volcano hazards, Dr. Charles Mandeville,  a professor of seismology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Stephen McNutt, as well as NASA’s Disaster Coordinator for the Kilauea response efforts. USGS recognized NASA’s numerous contributions to the disaster response with technological support for lava flow direct broadcast from helicopters and UAVs, the GLISTIN aircraft mission to measure volumetric lava fields through elevation maps, satellite supports with radar, thermal imageries and air quality monitoring systems through NASA’s satellites and international partners. NASA demonstrated that the diversity of its satellite and airborne assets is key to provide a comprehensive perspective on the impacts of volcanoes from lava destruction of homes and infrastructures to reduction in air quality. Staff had several questions regarding number of active volcanoes being monitored globally, resources needed, and USGS’ use of the recent funding plus up.  Transportation committee staff asked whether data feeds into the earthquake monitoring system. Questions directed at NASA focused on air quality and monitoring of long-term impacts.


June 7, 2018
ARIA damage proxy map of Fuego volcano
The Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Caltech, also in Pasadena, created this Damage Proxy Map (DPM) depicting areas around Fuego volcano, Guatemala, that are likely damaged (shown by red and yellow pixels) as a result of pyroclastic flows and heavy ash spewed by Fuego volcano. The map is derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). The images were taken before (June 1, 2018 6PM) and after (June 7, 2018 6PM, both Guatemala Time) the onset of the volcanic eruption. The map covers an area of 57 by 13 miles (91 by 21 kilometers), shown by the large red polygon. Each pixel measures about 33 yards (30 meters) across. The color variation from yellow to red indicates increasingly more significant ground surface change. This damage proxy map may be used as guidance to identify damaged areas and may be less reliable over vegetated areas. For example, the scattered single colored pixels over vegetated areas may be false positives, and the lack of colored pixels over vegetated areas does not necessarily mean no damage.


June 11, 2018
ALOS-2 interferogram comparing data from 1/30/18 vs. 5/8/18.  The above map shows ALOS-2 SAR scenes acquired in January 2018 and May 8, 2018 and shows the early opening of the lower East Rift Zone before May 8. In this first map there is a zone approximately 1.5 km wide where there is little motion of the surface, indicating that the magma injection is primarily around 1-2 km below the surface in this early stage.  In both maps, I overlaid in green the outlines of the very early lava flows and fissures, from around May 6, in the area of Leilani Estates. The fissures are a bit hard to see because they are small at this scale. I did not include the huge expansion of lava flows that happened later in May. ALOS-2 interferogram comparing data from 5/8/18 vs. 5/30/18. 


June 6, 2018
VIIRS fires and thermal anomalies from 6/8/18, with VIIRS nighttime basemap. VIIRS fires and thermal anomalies from 6/6/18, with VIIRS nighttime basemap. VIIRS fires and thermal anomalies from 6/6/18