Steam and ash plume from Mount St. Helens

After more than a decade of inactivity, Mt. St. Helens in Washington began rumbling in late September with a series of small earthquakes, some of which were of the long-period type that geologists have come to recognize as the telltale sign that magma from the Earths interior is rising up to the surface. On October 1, 2004, the volcano released a small explosion of steam and ash and briefly quieted down, but in the days since, the earthquake activity resumed. Scientists raised the volcanos alert level to three, the final step below active eruption. On October 4, the day this image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS ) on NASAs Terra satellite, Mt. St. Helens again emitted steam and ash: during a 30-minute episode in the morning and for a 10-minute episode in the early afternoon. According to reports form the U.S. Geological Survey, the steam was likely produced by hot rock pushed up onto the mountains glacier that melted the ice and generated steam. Mt. St. Helens is located to the left of the center of this image, and the ash and steam plume are visible drifting away from the volcano to the southeast, toward the glacier-covered peak of Mt. Adams. Other large mountains in the scene are Mt. Rainer (top) and Mt. Hood (bottom). The Columbia River cuts east-west through the lower part of the image, and the city of Portland appears as a gray patch along its banks at lower left. Other signs that an eruption is likely in the near future are a bubbling (boiling) lake that has formed in the vent where the ash and steam were released on October 4, a quick return to earthquake activity following the emission episodes, the continued rising of part of the glacier and the south flank of the lava dome, opening cracks in the lava dome, and the detection of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gases at numerous sites. For more information on the current status of the volcano, please visit the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory Website.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

Washington’s Fawn Peak Complex Fire was actively burning on multiple fronts on July 29, 2003, when this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image was captured by the Aqua satellite. The locations of active fire detections have been marked in yellow in the image, and a large plume of smoke is visible as well. This fire has been burning for a month in the Pasayten Wilderness Area near the Washington-British Columbia border.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Northwest United States

On the Colville Indian Reservation in northeastern Washington, the Rattlesnake Canyon Fire began on July 4, 2003, of undetermined causes. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from the Aqua satellite on July 9, 2003, shows the active fire at the far right of the image, marked with a red dot. As of July 9 reports were that the fire was more than 10,000 acres. The fire has destroyed at least one residence and numerous outbuildings, and is threatening others. The water source for the suppression efforts is 24 miles away, adding to the firefighters’ difficulties. The smoky fire to the west is the Fawn Complex Fire. Along the Pacific Coast, a bloom of phytoplankton is coloring the water bright blue and green.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Fawn Peak Complex Fire, Washington

This series of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from the Aqua and Terra satellites shows the Fawn Peak Complex Fire in Washington in July 2003. The Fawn Peak Compmlex is the largest cluster of red dots in the images. This complex consisted of three fires—the Fawn Peak, Farewell Fire, and Sweetgrass Fire—that were started by lightning on June 29, 2003. By July 16, the Fawn Peak and Sweetgrass Fires were under control, but the Farewell Creek Fire continues to grow rapidly in the steep, dry, and rugged terrain of the Pasayten Wilderness in north-central Washington, right near the Canadian Border. The fire had grown to more than 60,000 acres by July 27.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC