Insight Into: Mount Erebus

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 How do scientists predict where the lava will flow -- and alert people to evacuate when volcanoes awaken near towns and cities?

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.

All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA except:
·       Aerial photo of Mt. Erebus: Jeanie Mackinder
·       Ground-based photo of Mt. Erebus: Dr. Eric Christian / NASA
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project _and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Ground-based photos of Eyjafjallajökull: David Karnå
·       Eyjafjallajökull video footage: Ágúst Guðbjörnsson /
·       EO-1 satellite illustration: ATK
·       Fimmvörðuháls fissure photo: Henrik Thorburn
·       Simulation of ash spreading over Europe: Nina Kristiansen, Sabine Eckhardt, NILU
·       Eyjafjallajökull panorama: Henrik Thorburn
·       Mount St. Helens aerial photo: USGS
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
Written by Tracy Vogel
Designed by Marc Lussier

Antarctica on a globe
We close in on Antarctica from space and approach an icy mountain range.
A location marker appears in the bay where the range meets the sea.
Text, Mount Erebus, The world's southernmost active volcano. Ross Island, Antarctica
Steam rises from Mount Erebus.
Text, On the frozen continent of Antarctica, glacial ice covers the Mt. Erebus volcano.
The volcano from directly overhead.
Text, This satellite image from February 6, 2009, shows steam rising from the volcano's summit.
But there is something lurking beneath the ice that we cannot see.
The image becomes dark and a red pit in the middle of the volcano is circled.
Text, A thermal image from the satellite reveals the heat of a smoldering lava lake at the volcano's peak.
Scientists use heat-sensitive detectors on satellites to see when and where lava appears, and to predict where the lava will flow -- alerting people to evacuate when volcanoes awaken near towns and cities.
Mt. Erebus rises from the ice.
Text, Observations from space help us to keep a vigil on volcanoes all over the world -- whether in remote Antarctica or in the highly populated areas where lives are at stake.