Phenomena

Bullseye

Satellite image of a bullseye-shaped cloud over the Cumbre Vieja eruption in La Palma.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands began erupting in mid-September 2021. This satellite image, captured October 1st, shows a peculiar bullseye-like cloud over the volcano. Hot water vapor and exhaust gases rose rapidly from the erupting volcano until colliding with a drier, warmer air layer at an altitude of 5.3 kilometers. The warm upper layer, known as a temperature inversion, prevented the volcanic gases from rising any further, so they instead spread horizontally. The outflow from the volcano varies and is non-uniform, and its fluctuations generated gravity waves that are visible here as the expanding rings of clouds. (Image credit: L. Dauphin; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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