Ash Rises From Russian Volcano

An explosive eruption is taking place at Russia’s Shiveluch volcano (sometimes called Sheveluch or Sopka Shiveluch), located in the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, prompting no fly zones to be imposed in the region.

Ash plumes have risen to 34,500 ft (10.5 km) while seismic activity is ongoing. The official Itar-Tass news agency reported on Monday that the highest-level warning has been issued for aviation.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Anchorage, Alaska, reported that ash falls are possible at Klyuchi (50 km to the south-west from the volcano); Ust’-Kamchatsk (90 km to the east-southeast from the volcano); and Ust’-Khairyuzovo (280 km to the west-northwest from the volcano).

The NOAA-operated VAAC added: “Moderate potential hazards are caused by ash plumes, ash falls, pyroclastic flows, hot avalanches and lahars. The volcano constitutes a potential hazard to international and local airlines at Kamchatka because its eruptive clouds can rise to a height of 3-20 km ASL and extend for hundreds of kilometers from the volcano.”

The Japanese VAAC, managed by the Japan Meteorological Agency, has issued a Red Alert for Shiveluch.

Shiveluch, standing 3,283 meters above sea level, began forming about 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, and it has had at least 60 large eruptions during the Holocene. During this era, the most intense period of volcanism — including frequent large and moderate eruptions — occurred around 6500–6400 BC, 2250–2000 BC, and AD 50–650. This coincides with the peak of activity in other Kamchatka volcanoes.

Intermittent explosive eruptions began in the 1990s from a new lava dome that began growing in 1980. The largest historical eruptions from Shiveluch occurred in 1854 and 1964.

Meanwhile, the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) has warned that activity of the nearby Kizimen volcano is gradually decreasing but strong ash explosions up to 32,800 ft (10 km) ASL could occur at any time. Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft.

KVERT says explosive activity of the Karymsky volcano also is continuing and that ash explosions up to 19,700 ft (6 km) ASL could occur at any time.

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