Lava from a volcano

Eruption of Raung volcano

9 July 2015 06:00 UTC–13 July 06:00 UTC

Lava from a volcano
Lava from a volcano

On 9 July 2015 Mount Raung in East Java province spewed clouds of ash into the atmosphere.

Last Updated

14 September 2022

Published on

09 July 2015

By HansPeter Roesli

The new geostationary satellite Himawari-8, operated by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, entered its operational phase on 7 July. Its imaging capabilities match, or even exceed, those of Meteosat Second Generation.

Among other things, Himawari's imager, AHI, can replicate the standard RGB composites developed for the MSG series. A good example is the RGB that enhances volcanic ash and SO2. By chance, the entry into service of the satellite coincided with an eruption of the Indonesian volcano Raung. The eruption caused the closure of five Indonesian airports, including those in Bali and Lombok, disrupting flights and leaving thousands stranded across the country.

Based on PVG notices, wind data, and satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 8–12 July ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4.3–5.2km (Credit: Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution).

 Himwari-8 Volcanic Ash RGB, 9 July 08:00 UTC
Figure 1: Himwari-8 Volcanic Ash RGB, 9 July 08:00 UTC

Part of the eruption can be seen on the Volcanic Ash RGB (Figure 1) and the long animated sequence (imaging every 10 minutes, spatial resolution 2km) from 6–13 July (MP4, 60 ).

The sequence shows the ash in red. If SO2 had been present it would have shown up as green, but it appears that it was absent in this eruption.

The ash plume generally was straight and slim, however, a strongly diverging plume developed on 8 July. The outflow was originally driven by westerly winds from 6–9 July, which changed to a northerly regime on 10 July.

On the shorter animation of the True Colour RGB, from 13 July 02:50–06:00 UTC (spatial resolution 1km), it is more difficult to follow the brown-coloured ash, due to its low contrast over the backdrop of the land and due to it thinning out over the sea.


Additional content

5 Indonesian airports shut after Mount Raung eruption (Straits Times)
Indonesia's Mount Raung Volcano Erupts, Disrupting Travel for Millions (The Weather Channel)
Satellite view of the Indonesian volcano plume (ABC Science)