The underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island continues four months after it began.
Collected on February 10, 2012, this natural color satellite image shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. The beautiful aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Right above the vent a patch of brown water can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest.
This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.
According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon.