On 24 November 2005, some 2,000 people fled their homes hoping to escape the latest eruption of the Karthala Volcano. The volcano covered nearby villages in ash and locals had little means of protecting their lungs beyond covering their faces with scarves.
Karthala is one of two volcanoes that make up Grande Comore (or N'gazidja) Island in the Comoros archipelago. These islands lie in the Indian Ocean, between Africa and Madagascar. In this image of 25 November 2005, Grande Comore appears only in outline as material from the eruption completely obscures the satellite's view of the land surface. The volcanic ash ranges in color from tan to beige; it has spread out around the volcano in all directions, but moves primarily eastward.
With an altitude of 2,361 m (7,746 ft), Karthala is a shield volcano, with smooth slopes built from hardened lava. Comprising the southern portion of Grande Comore Island, Karthala is a regular troublemaker in its neighborhood. The volcano has erupted about 20 times in the last century. Photo courtesy of NASA.