Last update: October 15th, 2019 at 1:07 pm
On July 12, 2015, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a true-color view of a plume of ash and volcanic gases trailing away from Mount Raung volcano on the Indonesian island of Java. The heavy dark tan plume can be seen rising from the caldera of the volcano and blowing to the southeast, where it broadens into a wide veil of smoke over the Indian Ocean.
The Mount Raung volcano has continued to erupt through July and the eruption is notable for dense, high-rising ash plumes. The plumes have caused the closure of the airport at Bali as well as others repeatedly during the month due to the risk of damage to airplanes. Volcanic ash reduces engine performance and can cause abrupt engine failure. Ash inside a jet engine can quickly be melted by the high heat into a type of glass which can cover essential parts, and the ash itself can clog moving engine parts. The highly abrasive nature of volcanic ash also damages forward-facing airplane parts, including cockpit windows, which can make visual landings treacherous. Ash can also damage electric components of an aircraft, and can contaminate cabin air.
Mount Raung is a stratovolcano that has erupted at least 13 times in the past 25 years, according to records kept by the Smithsonian Global Volcanism program. The summit stands 3,332 meters (10,932 feet) above sea level and is capped by steep caldera that is 3 kilometers (2 miles) in diameter. There is evidence that a new caldera may have been formed in this most recent eruption.