I was watching KIRO TV’s coverage of the Mount St. Helens eruption last night, when they displayed an extraordinarily vivid color image (see accompanying) of the volcano’s summit which projected the surface temperatures using color coding. Here you can see the snow and ice colored blue and the immense heat building up beneath the surface is red. Simply amazing.
What I find so disappointing about other images captured of the volcanic eruption is that they so poorly convey the awe and majesty of the experience. These pictures are taken from so far away and from such an inhospitable angle that they are a poor representation of the reality. What the NASA images do is to capture what is happening both above the surface AND BELOW. And that is what’s so fantastic about them.
The images were captured on September 30th (the day before the first eruption) by a satellite run by the NASA Ames Research Center. All the images here are from this site. You will see images which represent the natural color of the mountain along with infrared images which convey how much heat and volcanic activity lurks just beneath the surface. You will also see images of the lava dome which is a key site because it’s the place from which the eruption will emanate.
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