A plume of white steam and ash extends from the summit crater of Ulawun on the island of New Britain, the largest in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea. Astronauts on the International Space Station observed the action on Nov. 30, 2012, while orbiting above the 7,657-foot stratovolcano.
Numerous volcanoes contribute to the landmass of New Britain, and Ulawun is one of the most active. This astronaut photograph was taken during the most recent phase of volcanic activity at Ulawun. The plume of white steam and ash extends from the stratovolcano’s summit crater toward the northwest and begins to broaden as it passes the southwestern coast of Lolobau Island, approximately 23 kilometers downwind (note the image is oriented so north is toward the lower left).
Ulawun is known as “The Father,” while the Bamus volcano to the southwest is known as “The South Son.” In this image, the summit of Bamus is obscured by white cumulus clouds (not of volcanic origin). Although Ulawun has been active since at least 1700, the most recent activity at Bamus occurred in the late 19th century.
Image courtesy of William L. Stefanov, Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC.