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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
(NASA Crew Earth Observations)
Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS018 Roll: E Frame: 35716 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS018
Country or Geographic Name: CHILE
Features: MINCHINMAVIDA VOLCANO, CHAITEN VOLCANO
Center Point: Latitude: -42.9 Longitude: -72.5 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
ONC Map ID: JNC Map ID:
CameraCamera Tilt: 40
Camera Focal Length: 180mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
GMT Date: 20090224 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 201245 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -42.4, Longitude: -69.8 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: West
Sun Azimuth: 292 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 198 nautical miles (367 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 35 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number: 2827
CaptionsMinchinmávida and Chaitén Volcanoes, Chile
The Andes Mountains along the western coastline of South America include numerous active stratovolcanoes (steep-sided, cone-shaped volcanoes). The majority of these volcanoes were formed and are still fed by magma generated as the Nazca tectonic plate under the southeastern Pacific Ocean moves northeastward and plunges beneath the South American continental plate—a process known as subduction. The line of Andean volcanoes marks the approximate location of the subduction zone.
This astronaut photograph highlights two volcanoes located near the southern boundary of the Nazca–South America subduction zone in southern Chile. Dominating the scene is the massive Minchinmávida Volcano (image upper right). Charles Darwin observed an eruption of this glaciated volcano during his Galapagos Islands voyage in 1834; the last recorded eruption took place the following year. When this photo was taken, the white, snow-covered summit of Minchinmávida was blanketed by gray ash erupted from its much smaller but now-active neighbor to the west, Chaitén Volcano.
Chaitén Volcano is dominated by a large lava dome within a caldera (an emptied and collapsed magma chamber beneath a volcano). With no recorded history of eruptions, Chaitén roared back to life unexpectedly on May 2, 2008, generating dense ash plumes and forcing the evacuation of the nearby town of Chaitén. Volcanic activity continued at Chaitén in early 2009; several days before this astronaut photograph was taken, a new lava dome partially collapsed and generated a pyroclastic flow (a scalding avalanche of gas, ash, and rock debris). A steam and ash plume extended northeast from the eruptive center of the volcano at the time of this image.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .