17 Apr 2023 11:46

Dome of Shiveluch volcano in Russia collapses amid eruption

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY. April 17 (Interfax) - The Shiveluch volcano erupting in Kamchatka has formed a one-kilometer crater, while most of its dome has collapsed, the Volcanology and Seismology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Far Eastern branch said in a statement.

A better weather allowed scientists to see the volcano on Saturday, April 15, for the first time since the eruption began four days ago.

"Apparently, there was an explosion directed towards the southeast. Most of the active dome's structure has collapsed. A huge crater with a diameter of more than a kilometer has formed. We are observing highly intensive fumarole activity related to degassing in the crater," the statement quoted Yury Demyanchuk, an employee of the Klyuchi volcanology station, as saying.

In his words, pyroclastic flows have leaked over 20 kilometers from the volcano.

"The Shiveluch eruption will be continuing for long enough. There will be ash in the atmosphere for even longer. Yet the main eruption stage is over," Volcanology and Seismology Institute Director Alexei Ozerov said.

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.

There was also ash fall in Maiskoye and Kozyrevsk. The ash cloud billowed for over 500 kilometers northwest of Shiveluch.

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.