La Palma volcano ‘fire’ wins NASA photo contest

The pictures of earth tournament captured from space are associated with the four elements of antiquity: earth, water, air and fire. The 2022 finalists respectively show the Kalahari Desert (Africa), the Weddell Sea (Antarctica), the skies of Sumatra (Asia) and the winning scenario: the erupting Canarian volcano.

On October 4, 2021, an astronaut from the International Space Station captured an image of the Canary Island of La Palma as the plume from the Cumbre Vieja volcano rose above the white clouds below. Now that this photograph has become the winner of the earth tournament organized annually by NASA’s Earth Observatory.

From its archive of more than 16,000 images captured by satellites and astronauts, 32 are selected and submitted to a popular vote via the web. In 2022, the participants gave the triumph to the photo of La Palma.

It is the third time in a decade that the Canary Islands have received the highest honor in this contest, since in 2013 voters awarded an image of the underwater eruption of El Hierro and the following year lightning sun, winds and waves on the archipelago.

The 2022 winning photograph was released in October last year along with another fake reddish color from the eruption of the Canarian volcano. She was ranked number 8 in the “fire” category, and at first she seemed like the underdog, but she gradually knocked everyone out in each of the five rounds of the tournament.


Four Elements of Antiquity

Although modern science only recognizes the 118 elements of the periodic table and uses experimental methods to describe the physical world, this NASA contest categorizes photos according to the four elements considered by ancient philosophers: earth, water, air and fire, as they still do today. help us appreciate the beauty and pure power of our planet.

In addition to the first position of the La Palma volcano in the “fire” category and in the tournament, three other photographs were finalists in this year’s competition: one from the Kalahari desert (South Africa) in the “earth” category, another from the Antarctic Weddell Sea in the ‘water’ section and a cloud over Sumatra (Indonesia) in the ‘air’ category.

the winning photos


photos, contest, NASA, La Palma volcanoSee orange in the Kalahari. /NASA


photos, contest, NASA, La Palma volcanoWindblown beauty in the Weddell Sea. /NASA


photos, contest, NASA, La Palma volcanoCloudscapes over Sumatra. /NASA


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