Soufriere Hills Volcano
After 10 months of relative quiet, Soufriere Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat blasted ash into the sky in early October 2009. This natural-color satellite image shows a plume of ash extending westward from Soufriere Hills on October 6, 2009, a day after eruptive activity resumed on October 5th. According to the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency, ash extended 280 kilometers (170 miles) at an elevation of approximately 3,600 meters (12,000 feet).
Soufriere Hills is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of hardened lava, solidified ash, and rocks ejected by previous eruptions. After the seventeenth century, the volcano experienced no recorded eruptions until 1995, when a series of major eruptions eventually forced the evacuation of the Montserrat’s former capital city, Plymouth.