Explosive volcanism. Mount Pinatubo is a large volcano in the Philippine islands. It stands 5,770 feet (1760 m) tall in the middle of a three-mile wide depression. On June 15, 1991, it erupted for the first time in 600 years. The eruption blasted 25 miles 40 kilometers of sulfur dioxide into the air. A gigantic cloud mixed with water vapor and circled around the planet in three weeks. It caused temporary temperature decreases by blocking out 2 percent of all the sunlight the Earth received.The explosion will have harmful effects on the ozone layer. Sulfur dioxide particles entered the stratosphere after the eruption, and will deplete the ozone layer for many years into the future. Despite the early warning, 900 people were killed by the volcano. However, many more would certainly have died had it not been for the predictions. 200,000 were moved, and 42,000 homes were destroyed. The Philippines lost over US $1 billion as a result of the explosion, and many people continue to suffer from its effects. On the right, false color images from El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo. This composite shows false-color images of the SO2 clouds on the second day after each eruption.
Source: NASA