The eruption of Italy's Stromboli volcano has been observed from space

The European Earth-observing satellite Sentinel-2 passed above Italy's Stromboli volcano shortly after it began spewing lava on Oct.9, 2022. (Image credit: ESA/Copernicus)

Sentinel-2, Europe's Copernicus Earth-observing project, obtained a stunning image of Italy's Stromboli volcano just after it erupted early on Oct. 9. The true-color photograph depicts lava spilling into the sea and massive plumes of smoke and ash towering above the volcano. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the eruption triggered the partial collapse of the volcano's crater terrace, prompting Italian civil protection officials to issue an orange alert owing to the ongoing condition of exacerbated volcanic imbalance.

The Stromboli volcano and its eponymous island are located in southern Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, close off the northern tip of the island of Sicily. On the island, there are around 300 full-time residents, the most of whom live in the settlement of Ginostra, which can be seen in the satellite picture to the southwest of the volcanic cone. The volcano has erupted often during the last 90 years, making it one of the world's most active volcanoes.

On the same day as the last eruption began, the Sentinel-2 satellite detected "hot areas" on Mount Etna in Sicily, which is just around 60 miles (100 kilometers) away from Stromboli. Satellites saw a hot plume but no lava spewing from Etna, which is as active as Stromboli. The two volcanoes erupted on the same day in May 2021, implying a connection between the two, yet experts think the two volcanoes are different, disconnected systems, each with its own pattern of erupting and magma creation.

The Sentinel-2 mission comprises of the Earth observation satellites Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, which are part of the Copernicus Program sponsored by the European Union and ESA. The Sentinel-5P satellite assisted in determining the magnitude of the recent Nord Stream gas pipeline leak.

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