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Rays of Ash: Earth Image of the Week May 11, 2012
Satellite image of Russia's Shiveluch volcano.
Ash paths across the Kamchatka Peninsula resulted from ash blowing at slightly different directions during each eruption in late April and early May.
Streaks of ash radiated across parts of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula in early May from a series of eruptions at Shiveluch volcano.

The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team reports that the 10,394-foot mountain produced several blasts in late April and the first few days of May.

The resulting ash plumes were carried in various directions by the prevailing winds at the time.

As the ash fell to the ground, it created dark streaks across the still snow-covered landscape of Kamchatka, mainly to the east of the volcano.

The image to the right of those streaks was captured at midday on May 4, 2012, by NASA’s Terra satellite.

Shiveluch has produced at least 60 large eruptions over the past 17,000 years.

Catastrophic eruptions occurred in 1854 and 1956, when the lava dome collapsed and generated a devastating avalanche of debris down Shiveluch’s slopes.

It is one of the largest and most active in a string of volcanoes that dot southeastern areas of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The nearest settlement to the volcano is Klyuchi, located about 30 miles to the southwest of the summit crater. The community is said to be small enough to evacuate rapidly should another major eruption occur.

Image: NASA's MODIS Rapid Response System