image (468 Kb)
30, 2002, the International Space Station's Expedition Five crew
was able to observe Mount Etna's spectacular eruption and
photograph the details of the eruption plume and smoke from
fires triggered by the lava as it flowed down the 3,350-meter
(11,000-foot) mountain. This was one of Etna's most vigorous
eruptions in years. The eruption was triggered by a series of
earthquakes on Oct. 27. Although schools were closed and air
traffic was diverted because of the ash, no towns or villages
were threatened by the lava flow. Both of these images are
looking obliquely to the southeast over the island of Sicily.
view -- above -- shows the ash plume curving out toward the
horizon, caught first by low-level winds blowing to the
southeast, and to the south toward Africa at higher altitudes.
Ashfall was reported in Libya, more than 350 miles away.
lighter-colored plumes downslope and north of the summit --
pictured in the detailed view below -- are produced by forest
fires set by lava flowing into the pine forests on the slope of
the mountain. The detailed image provides a more
three-dimensional profile of the eruption plume.
image (184 Kb)
were provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis
Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by
astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway
to Astronaut Photography of Earth.