One of the places in this world I would most love to live is Russia’s astoundingly beautiful Kamchatka peninsula. Few places on earth can compare with it’s primeval beauty and dramatic geography, and better still it’s loaded with volcanoes! Currently three of them are quite active, and they are also quite beautiful.
Our currently active volcanoes on the peninsula are Karymsky, Kizimen, and Sheveluch. The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) tells us that Kizimen has been very active, with continuously increasing seismic activity of increasing magnitude with over 1000 seismic events daily.
Strong ash explosions up to 32,000 ft. are expected any time. Fumarole activity has been strong and sustained, and a lava flow continues down the eastern flank of the volcano. Satellites have noted a large thermal anomaly all over the volcano this week, together with a 37 mile gas and steam plume. A new and quite long fissure was noted at the top of the volcano just this week via video surveillance. .
Moving on to our next attraction, Karymsky is perhaps less active, but certainly doing enough to get our attention, with moderate harmonic tremor and ash plumes up to 9,000 ft. all week. Satellites have observed a strong thermal anomaly over the volcano, Karymsky could affect international air traffic and low flying aircraft in the area. Karymsky is a quite dramatically formed volcano that appears to have built up rather quickly. Construction of the Karymsky stratovolcano began about 2000 years ago, and has been erupting frequently over the last 500 years, after a quiet period of about 2300 years. That Karymsky has been continuously active is evidenced by it’s completely un-vegetated cone, covered with lava flows under 200 years old.
Next up is Sheveluch, which is undergoing continuing moderate seismic activity and produced ash plumes up to 28,000 ft on August 28th. Moderate fumarole activity has been observed as well, with a thermal anomaly having been observed by satellite on Aug. 26, 28, 29, and 31. I would very much like to get at the thermal data from those satellites but as yet I’ve not been able to hunt it down online.
Sheveluch is the most vigorous andesitic volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula and has produced at least 60 large Holocene eruptions. Frequent collapses of the many lava dome complexes on it’s flanks have resulted in large avalanches of debris and pyroclastic flows. I suspect that the activity of these three volcanoes of late is in some way connected with the recent swarm of earthquakes in the Fox Islands of Aleutian arc near the Cleveland volcano.
Today there was a magnitude 5.2 quake just off the east coast of Kamchatka.