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Mt. Pinatubo 10 years later
June 18, 2001

June 15, 2001 marked the tenth anniversary of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions of the last century. Found in the Philippines, the volcano had been dormant for 500 years when clouds of sulfur dioxide and tons of ash spewed from the crater. Ultimately over 600 lives were lost in the explosion and its aftermath.

This recent false color Landsat-7 image, from January 2001, shows Mt. Pinatubo as it stands today. The caldera is seen in the middle of the image, underneath clouds. Ten years after the blast, vegetation is re-growing on the slopes of the mountain (in green). Streams of mud, called lahars (resulting from ash from the eruption mixing with water—seen as the lighter sediment), continue to flow down the sides of the mountains, as well as channels of water (darker streams). However, as vegetation grows back, the ash becomes more stabilized and less likely to form the destructive lahars.

image: NASA/USGS/University of Hawaii

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