In many parts of the northern United States and Canada people are reporting more vivid sunsets, especially with the purple shades over the past two weeks. The reason can be attributed to Russian’s Sarychev Peak Volcano that erupted on June 12. The Sarychev Peak Volcano is part of a chain of volcanic islands that run south from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the western Pacific Ocean.
As with most volcanic eruptions, a large plume of volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide (SO2) and other debris was sent into the stratosphere. This mixture of volcanic debris, referred to as volcanic aerosols, will scatter blue light and when combined with the ordinary red colors seen during most sunsets, the sky can become a beautiful lavender color. The deep shades of lavender in the sky is often referred to as "volcanic lavender” because it is usually a telltale sign that a volcanic eruption has occurred somewhere.