One of Central America’s most active volcanoes – Feugo – produced an explosive eruption on June 3 that sent ash billowing thousands of meters into the air, as seen in the first and second images. Flows from the volcano can move at speeds greater than 50 miles per hour and can easily topple trees, homes or anything else in its path. One of our Earth observing satellites acquired this image of the ash plume, while another has been making frequent observations of sulfur dioxide levels.
In addition to ash, the plume contains gaseous components invisible to the human eye, including sulfur dioxide (SO2). The gas can affect human health—irritating the nose and throat when breathed in—and reacts with water vapor to produce acid rain. Sulfur dioxide also can react in the atmosphere to form aerosol particles, which can contribute to outbreaks of haze and sometimes cool the climate. Swipe to see the third image, which shows measured levels of sulfur dioxide.
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