Kamchatka volcano eruption intensifies
The intensification of the eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka has been recorded, head of the Kamchatka Volcano Observatory, based in the Klyuchi settlement, Yuri Demyanchuk, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
The intensified volcano activity has been recorded over the past three days, it is manifested in increased lava flow volumes from the main crater of the volcano, the scientist said.
According to him, volcanologists working in the area of the eruption have registered a lava flow with the width of 15 metres and depth of about 3 metres. The fresh lava inflow rate at it ranges from 60 to 100 cubic meters per second. The lava flow speed is 3 to 5 metres per second.
According to Demyanchuk, the main lava flows from the active crater are moving towards the Tolud base. One lava flow is moving south towards the Lazo settlement. “It poses no threat to the settlement,” the scientist stressed. There is at least 50 kilometres of cross-country from the lava flow to the settlement and also the Tolbachik River. There is no probability at all that the lava will get close to the settlement, he said.
Demyanchuk informed that currently there are no signs that the Plosky Tolbachik volcano’s activity is subsiding. Two craters are active on it with different intensity. A lava lake has formed in the main crater. Spews of hot volcanic material are observed there to a height of 100 metres. The second crater is less active, it periodically spews steam and gases. There is a fiery glow visible over the lava flows during the dark hours.
Experts of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far Eastern Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences are on duty at the Tolud base in Tolbachinsky dale in the area of the eruption. They conduct continuous monitoring of the volcano. They periodically take samples of fresh lava and gases emitted by the giant mount for analysis.
Plosky Tolbachik awakened on November 27, last year, after being dormant for 36 years from the moment of its great fissure eruption that was observed in 1975-1976. In Tolbachik dale, south of Plosky Tolbachik at an altitude of about 1.7 kilometres above sea level, a fissure zone with two active centres formed. The lava has been pouring from there. The Plosky Tolbachik eruption was assessed by scientists as outstanding. A lava lake has formed in the active zone. The lava flows have destroyed a station of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in the area of the Vodopadny creek, the Leningradskaya research base and a base of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka natural park. Trees were burning near the lava fields. The erupting volcano in Russia's Far East has become a sightseeing hotspot for crowds of thrill-seeking tourists eager to see flows of lava and clouds of ash.
However, scientists believe that the eruption is a real present for the 50th anniversary of the Institute that was marked in 2012. The eruption was given its own name – “Fissure Eruption of the 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Tolbachik Dale.”
The height of Plosky Tolbachik is 3 thousand 85 metres above sea level. It is located in the south-western sector of the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes in Kamchatka in the east 343 kilometres from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The volcano poses no threat to nearby populated localities. Emergencies Ministry officers have been on duty in the volcano area whose task is to ensure safety of people going to the foot of the giant mount. There are five populated localities at distances from 50 km to 68 km from the foot of the volcano – the settlements of Klyuchi, Maiskoye, Kozyrevsk, Lazo and Atlasovo with the total population of more than 8.1 thousand.