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Holiday calendar: Blast from the past

There's a terrible beauty to volcanic eruptions, as we've seen over the past few days during an upsurge in activity at Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano. Over the weekend, villagers near Tungurahua fled their homes because of an eruption that spewed rocks and ash into the air. Ecuador's "Throat of Fire" has roared spectacularly at least three times in the past year -- and there have been many other flare-ups since the volcano awoke in 1999.

This false-color image, captured by NASA's Terra satellite in shortwave infrared, near-infrared and green wavelengths, shows the volcano belching ash in August 2006. The satellite image also records the impact of earlier eruptions. Deep purple rivulets of rock make their way through green vegetation. The rock is from previous lava flows that have solidified. Arcing around the west side of the volcano is the bright blue ribbon of the Chambo River.

Today's "blast from the past" is the ninth offering in our Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar. Every day until Christmas, you can look forward to another image of Earth as seen from space. Here are the previous pictures in the set, as well as links to three other Advent calendars with space themes:

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