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Comparative Look at Hawaiian Volcanoes – February 16th, 2009

February 16th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Volcanoes

Hawaii, USA - January 27th and February 9th, 2009

Hawaii, USA - January 27th and February 9th, 2009

These side-by-side MERIS (full resolution, left) and ASAR (radar, right) images make it possible to have a detailed, complete look at these Hawaiian volcanoes.

Mauna Loa, the large shield volcano below, and Mauna Kea, the tall post-shield volcano above, are two of the five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.

The color image makes it possible to observe the differences in landscape around the volcanoes. The summits of both volcanoes are capped with snow, and the area around them is dark brown, probably due to volcanic rock.

At low elevations, the eastern (windward) side of Mauna Loa often receives heavy rain and is in fact cloud-covered in the image. The rainfall supports extensive forestation, visible as bright green areas beneath the clouds. The western (leeward) side has a much drier climate and appears more brown.

Although the black and white image doesn’t make it possible to see changes in vegetation, it does allow a more precise view of the contours of the volcanoes and their calderas. Some towns are also visible as white dots on the volcanoes’ flanks.

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