Return to Earth From Space Home
Earth from Space logo Image Information Earth from Space logo

Display a Screen Layout for Printing

IMAGE: gray corner       IMAGE: gray corner
  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: STS046-75-79A Date: Aug. 1992
Geographic Region: PHILIPPINES

Ordering information for space photography
IMAGE: gray corner     IMAGE: gray corner

Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner
  View Low-Resolution Image  
  STS046-75-79A Mt. Pinatubo, Luzon, Philippines

This spectacular, near-vertical photograph of Mt. Pinatubo can be used to map out the distribution of ash, mud and debris flows around the mountain after the catastrophic 1991 eruption. Subsequent heavy rains have remobilized the thick, unstable ash and mud deposits on the mountain's slopes and caused massive floods and mudflows downstream. The mudflows (lahars) buried many towns and much cultivated land. Every bridge within 30 km of the mountain was destroyed, and most river valleys are now filled to capacity with mud. The mudflows continue after every heavy rain. Violent secondary explosions also occur as groundwater meets the still-cooling pyroclastic flows from the June 1991 eruption.

Approximately 1.5 million people live in the area encompassed by this photograph. This photograph, taken shortly after the July 1992 eruption, shows several important changes on and around the mountain:

1) The crater lake inside the 2 km wide caldera is clearly visable, as is the newly formed lava dome (the small islet in the middle of the lake). Philippine volcanologists estimated the dome (at this stage) to be about 300 m wide and 100 m high.

2) A newly-formed muddy lake appears near the headwaters of the Pasig River (upslope from Clark AFB). Drainage was completely disrupted after the June eruption. Pyroclastic flows buried the divide between the Pasig and Sacobia River and diverted water from the Sacobia River into the Abacan River (which flows just south of Clark AFB). The resulting floods and mudflows eroded through the city of Angeles, a large city on the outskirts of Clark, and buried part of the major highway which runs north from Manila.

3) The large, year-old lake at the junction of the Mapanuepe and Marella Rivers is easily visable (south of the mountain). This is the largest of the new lakes formed from clogged drainages. Should the dam (formed from loosely consolidated ash and debris) fail, a large amount of flooding will occur downstream.

4) Fresh lahar deposits can be identified in the Bucao, Balin Baquero and O'Donnell Rivers (late July deposits). Other new lahars were deposited in the Sacobia and Pasig drainages.

5) A large area appears flooded/buried near Poonbato (Bucao River).

6) One can identify and map the distal end of lahars along the mountains eastern slope where the rivers enter into the central valley.

Mt. Pinatubo on the island of Luzon (15.0N, 120.0E) erupted catastrophically in June 1991 after over 600 years of inactivity. In this vertical view, the full extent of the eruption is obvious. Thick layers of ash completely surrounds the crater and the effect of mudflows in this previously heavily forested and agricultural region can be traced as ribbons flowing downhill. Clark AFB, once the crossroads of the SW Pacific can only partially be seen.
Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 405k
Mission: STS046  
Roll - Frame: 75 - 79 A
Geographical Name: PHILIPPINES  
Center Lat x Lon: 15.0N x 120.0E
Film Exposure: N   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 20
Camera: HB
Camera Tilt: NV   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 250  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction:   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?: N   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number:  
Date: 199208__   YYYYMMDD
Nadir Lat: N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: E  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth:   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude:   nautical miles
Sun Elevation:   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Water Views: RIVER, SEDIMENT  
Atmosphere Views:  
City Views:  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

NASA Human
Space Flight
Home Page
Home Page
Image eXchange
JSC Digital
Image Collection
Earth Science &
Remote Sensing

This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
NASA meatball logo
ESRS logo