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Satellite Images: Indonesian Volcano Collapsed

The southwestern flank of Anak Krakatau is missing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2018 7:25 AM CST
This combination of synthetic aperture radar images taken by JAXA's ALOS-2 satellite shows Indonesia's Anak Krakatau volcano, center in images, before and after the Dec. 22, 2018, eruption. The images...   (Geospatial Information Authority of Japan via AP)

(Newser) – Radar data from satellites, converted into images, shows Indonesia's Anak Krakatau island volcano is dramatically smaller following a weekend eruption that triggered a deadly tsunami. Satellite photos aren't available because of cloud cover, reports the AP, but radar images from a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite taken before and after the eruption show the volcano's southwestern flank has disappeared. Dave Petley, head of research and innovation at Sheffield University who analyzed similar images from a European Space Agency satellite, said they support the theory that a landslide, most of it undersea, caused the tsunami that killed at least 430 people on Saturday evening. "The challenge now is to interpret what might be happening on the volcano, and what might happen next," he wrote in a blog.

Indonesian authorities on Thursday more than doubled the no-go zone to three miles of the coast and raised the alert status to its second-highest level because of the risk of another tsunami. JAXA's post-eruption image shows concentric waves radiating from the island, which experts say is caused by ongoing eruptions. "There's still a chance of a landslide, even under the sea level or on the sea level," said Rudy Sunendar, head of the energy ministry's geology department. "We don't know exactly because we are not yet gone to the field" due to bad weather, he told the AP at the volcano's monitoring post. "Based on the satellite imagery interpretation, there is collapse of some area of Mount Anak Krakatau." (Video captured the moment a band was swept away.)


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