A Russian Volcano Causes Skies to Turn Purple

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A Russian Volcano Causes Skies to Turn Purple


Raikoke is situated on the Kuril Island Chain of the Kamchatka Peninsula, reports Stephanie Pappas of science news platform Live Science. The volcano erupted on June 22, causing steam and gas to rise two kilometers into the air. The Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program notes that it was the first time it erupted since 1924.


Mt. Raikoke in Russia / Photo by: NASA


Aircraft might encounter “the cloud of dust and gas,” which could pose a threat considering the volcano’s remote location. Fortunately, it declined “in the first few days after the event. In a statement published by research and news hub NASA Earth Observatory, the eruption was so big that astronauts could see it from the International Space Station, cites Amanda Jackson and Sara Tonks of American news channel CNN. The volcanic plume rose into the stratosphere about 11 kilometers up over the Kamchatka region. 

Sulfur dioxide was sent into the atmosphere, which in turn led to the creation of aerosols, as found by a team of researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, The said particles scatter sunlight, tinting the skies during sunrise and sunset a gorgeous purple hue. Research associate at CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics Lars Kalnajs states, “This was a relatively small volcanic eruption, but it was enough to impact most of the Northern Hemisphere," according to a statement released by Daniel Strain of university news platform CU Boulder Today. 


Purple sky over Raikoke / Photo by: Glen Randall via Live Science


Raikoke’s eruption “is no cause for concern,” Kalnajs reassures. However, he warns that people may need to “prepare for a bigger one.” “A really big eruption would have a major impact on humanity,” he says. When Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it led to a “year without summer,” as ash and volcanic material lingered in the atmosphere. Crop failures occurred all around the globe. Further, the ice in the rivers of Pennsylvania did not melt until June, Kalnajs adds. 

Hence, this explains Kalnajs and his colleague’s rationale for conducting research in the aftermath of the Raikoke eruption. So far, the data they collected indicates that aerosol layers in the stratosphere are “20 times thicker than normal.” They expect their findings to be published this year.  


Volcanologists at the site / Photo by: University of Colorado Boulder via CNN




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