Yesterday, NASA released this dramatic satellite photo of Wolf Volacano on Isabella Island. In May, it erupted for the first time in 33 years, sending volcanic gasses and ash over 50,000 feet into the sky and raising concerns for the safety of endangered pink iguanas and giant tortoises that reside on the mountain’s flanks. It has been determined since then that all of the animals are safe and that their habitat has been largely unaffected.
At 5,609 feet above sea level, Wolf is the tallest volcano in the Galapagos archipelago. Its caldera, which is clearly visible in the photo, is four miles wide and about 2,100-feet deep.
According to NASA, the image was taken on June 11 using the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra satellite. It is a “false-color image” that combines near infrared, red, and green light, which makes vegetated areas appear red and lava covered areas look black or charcoal covered. According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor, “ASTER is one of five sensors on the satellite, and is used primarily to monitor volcanic activity and changes to Earth’s land masses due to climate shifts and changes in ecosystem dynamics.”