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Ash clouds over Sakura-Jima

NASA Earth Observatory

The volcano Sakura-Jima on the Japanese Island Kyushu emitted a dense ash cloud. Currently, it is the most active volcano in Japan, erupting several hundred times per year. Normally, these eruptions are fairly small, but sometimes a great eruption can form an ash cloud of 3.8 km in height.


Cloud Whirls above the Galápagos Islands


The thirteen Galápagos Islands are located in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1000 km west of Ecuador. This archipelago is famous for its unique diversity of animals and plants and has become a part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Due to the works of Charles Darwin, whose journey to the islands in 1835 furthered his theory of evolution, the Galápagos Islands have become widely known.


Location: Galápagos Islands
Picture taken on September 8, 2010
Sensor: Terra MODIS

Artificial Islands in Qatar

NASA/JSC; ISS Crew Earth Observations; Link:

This digital camera image was taken at the international space station ISS and shows Doha, the capital city of the state of Qatar in the Persian Gulf. Ring roads surrounding the centre give an idea of the gradual extension of the city starting from the historical city centre.

Underwater Hill

NASA/GSFC (Jeff Schmaltz); Link:

The water off the coast of the Bahamas shimmers in light blue since it is partly only less than ten metres deep. Therefore, it might be regarded as an extension of the islands below the surface of the water. Since the underwater hill of the Great Bahama Bank steeply descends as deep as 400 metres, this is marked in the satellite image by a strong colour change to dark blue. The white structures above the islands indicate convective clouds: The land areas of the islands force the moist air to rise and to condense in the cold air aloft.


Artificial Islands in Dubai

NASA/JSC; ISS Crew Earth Observations; Link:

Dubai is famous for its large-scale urban development projects and its architectural buildings. The artificial archipelagos “Palm Jumeirah”, “Palm Jebel Ali” and “The World” are striking. In order to “lift” the islands belonging to Palm Jumeirah (bottom left corner of the picture) above sea level, more than 50 million cubic metres of sand were dredged. The construction of the 300 islands forming “The World”, which can be seen in the top right corner of the picture, required approximately 320 million cubic metres of sand and took about six years.