12 Apr 2023 15:02

Shiveluch volcano's eruption to continue but on lesser scale - Russian scientists

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY. April 12 (Interfax) - The active phase of eruption of the Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka is over, Alexei Ozerov, director of the Volcanology and Seismology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Siberian branch, said.

"The Shiveluch eruption will continue but on a lesser scale. There will be ash in the air for a fairly long time and it will fall on trees, bushes and soil as drifts," Ozerov said at a meeting of the operative headquarters for mitigation of Shiveluch's eruption effects on populated localities in the Ust-Kamchatka district.

The eruption has taken the best-case scenario, he said.

"Most of the initial ash plume from the volcano was carried away by the wind towards northwestern Kamchatka. Pyroclastic flows never reached roads and bridges. Turbulence caused by easterly winds has set in motion the volcanic ash, which fell in Klyuchi, Kozyrevsk and Maisky. Indeed, the ten-centimeter ash blanket in Klyuchi and the eight-centimeter blanket in Kozyrevsk is a lot of ash. Yet the cold weather is another favorable factor in this situation. According to forecasts, it will soon start snowing in the ash-covered populated localities, and the snowfalls will last for several days and will cover the ash. That will help minimize possible unfavorable consequences for human respiratory systems," Ozerov.

He noted that scientists predicted a strong eruption of Shiveluch. The institute kept saying for the past nine months that the volcano had entered into a new stage, an eruption had begun, the process would soon reach its climax, and ash would be spewed out 15 to 20 kilometers above the ground.

The paroxysmal stage of the Shiveluch eruption began early in the morning on April 11. The eruption reached its climax by Tuesday morning, and the volcano spewed out an ash column to a 20-kilometer altitude. Ash fall was observed in the Ust-Kamchatsk, Milkovo and Bystrinsky districts of Kamchatka. It was the heaviest in the Ust-Kamchatsk district. Klyuchi, the settlement nearest to Shiveluch, was hit by the heaviest ash fall in 60 years.

Shiveluch is one of the largest volcanoes in Kamchatka. It has three main elements: the Old Shiveluch volcano, the ancient caldera and the active Young Shiveluch volcano. The lava dome of Young Shiveluch is 2,500 meters high. The volcano is located at the intersection of the Kuril-Kamchatka and Aleutian island arcs at a distance of 50 kilometers from the village of Klyuchi in the Ust-Kamchatsk district and 450 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Its age is estimated at 60,000-70,000 years.