Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Kamchatka Volcano “Flexes its Muscles” in Record Lava Spill

00 Tolbachik Volcano. December 2012. 07.12.12


On Tuesday, local seismologists reported that the erupting Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East is spilling a record 1,200 metric tons (1,323 US tons) of lava every second. The 3,085-metre-high (10,122-feet-high) Plosky Tolbachik, which is part of a volcanic complex located 343 kilometres (213 miles) from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of Kamchatka Krai, erupted on 27 November for the first time in 36 years.

Gennady Karpov, a deputy director at the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the RAN, said, “This year’s eruption is very powerful. During the Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption in 1975, the volcano spilled on average 40 cubic metres of magma per second, at present, its ‘productivity’ is about 400 cubic metres (14,125 cubic feet) or 1,200 tons per second”. The volcano has spewed lava from two fissures along its southern slope, with the upper flow descending 6 kilometres (3.75 miles) and the lower flow descending 13.6 kilometres (8.5 miles). The flow from the upper fissure has almost stopped, but it could resume at any moment as the volcano continues to produce magma, Karpov said at a meeting with local officials, adding, “If the activity at the upper fissure resumes, we’ll face a real danger”, noting that the eruption is already at Red Code status.

Lava flows spewing from the volcano earlier caused a forest fire and destroyed buildings at two research bases located 10 kilometres (6.25 miles) from the mountain. Volcanic ash fell in nearby communities forcing local residents to take shelter in their homes. The Plosky Tolbachik erupted 10 times since records began in 1740, with the most notable eruption in 1975, commonly known as The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption. Soviet scientists successfully predicted the eruption because a series of earthquakes preceded it. The 1975 eruption dramatically changed the local landscape; it became an ecological disaster, as the volume of lava and ashes emitted by the Plosky Tolbachik was the largest in recorded history of Kamchatka. There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 30 of them active.

11 December 2012




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