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On the night of June 4, 2001, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) captured this thermal image of the erupting Shiveluch volcano. Located on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, Shiveluch rises to an altitude of 2,447 meters (8,028 feet). The active lava dome complex is seen as a bright (hot) area on the summit of the volcano. To the southwest, a second hot area is either a debris avalanche or hot ash deposit. Trailing to the west is a 25-kilometer (15-mile) ash plume, seen as a cold " cloud"streaming from the summit. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred here during the last 10,000 years; the largest historical eruptions were in 1854 and 1964. Because Kamchatka is located along the major aircraft routes between North America/Europe and Asia, this area is constantly monitored for potential ash hazards to aircraft. The area is part of the " Ring of Fire,"a string of volcanoes that encircles the Pacific Ocean. The lower image is the same as the upper, except it has been color-coded: red is hot, light greens to dark green are progressively colder, and gray/black are the coldest areas. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products. The primary goal of the ASTER mission is to obtain high-resolution image data in 14 channels over the entire land surface, as well as black and white stereo images. With revisit time of between 4 and 16 days, ASTER will provide the capability for repeat coverage of changing areas on Earth's surface.
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