NASA satellite captures stunning image of Big Island eruptions from space

NASA satellite captures stunning image of Big Island eruptions from space
This satellite image from the European Space Agency shows a line of lava ending at the sea. (Image: ESA/Twitter)
This satellite image from the European Space Agency shows a line of lava ending at the sea. (Image: ESA/Twitter)

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new striking image from space shows the scope of ongoing eruptions along Kilauea's east rift zone.

The eruptions in lower Puna started May 3 and have continued ever since, spewing into two Big Island subdivisions and forcing thousands to evacuate.

And in recent days, the amount of lava shooting out of nearly two dozen fissures has increased, claiming more homes and covering streets.

NASA's Operational Land Imager satellite shot the new image of the eruptions on Wednesday, as eruptions continued along a two-mile line of fissures and flows continued two miles downslope to the sea.

The false color image combines data on different wavelengths both visible and invisible to the human eye.

In a news release, NASA scientists said magma in the area could continue to emerge from new fissures or older ones.

"Or the eruption could concentrate on some central vent," said Patrick Whelley, a planetary geologist working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "It's uncertain if this is a new phase for Kilauea or if this is just a short-lived escalation, and the activity will go back to Pu'u O'o in a month or so."

Meanwhile, a separate satellite captured a different sort of image, which clearly shows an orange and red line of lava cutting across lower Puna and ending at the sea. The image is from the European Space Agency's Sentinel 2 satellite.

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