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The Eyjafjallajökull volcano on 15 April 2010

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The Eyjafjallajökull volcano on 15 April 2010
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While aircraft cannot fly over the active volcano, the TerraSAR-X satellite looks down safely from space at the eruption site and its surroundings. The image, acquired on the evening of 15 April 2010 (19:04 local time), clearly shows three black craters. Previously, the caldera was covered with about 200 metres of ice. A crack connects the northeastern and southern craters formed by the new eruption.

Torrents of melt water flow to the North, into a valley over 1500 metres away, and a huge area has already been flooded. Should the melt water flow to the South, inhabited areas on the southern coast of Iceland would be affected.

The fine ash from the eruption was caught by the wind and carried to the East, where it was deposited on the ice as a dense and smooth surface coating. In these areas, the microwave radiation from the radar satellite is only weakly reflected, and they appear dark in the image.

Following the fan-shaped dark strip eastwards, the site of the eruption that occurred on 20 March 2010 is visible. This has been visited by thousands of tourists who travelled across the ice using road vehicles and snowmobiles. The resulting track is clearly visible as a white line near the right-hand edge of the image.

Credit: DLR.