Zhupanovsky erupts sending a plume of ash more than 7 km a.s.l., Russia

Zhupanovsky erupts sending a plume of ash more than 7 km a.s.l., Russia

Zhupanovsky volcano, Kamchatka, Russia erupted on January 19, 2016, after almost two months of being relatively calm. The explosion sent a plume of ash more than 7 km (22 966 feet) above the sea level, KVERT reported.

The ash explosion was observed at 04:36 UTC, between Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, according to visual data from Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FED RAS). A height of ash plume was estimated between 7 and 8 km (22 966 and 26 246.7 feet) above the sea level.

Ash drifted 20 km (12 miles) eastward. According to volcanologists, the ash column could be seen with a naked eye from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and other nearby settlements.

MODIS sensor heat sources last 7 days Image credit: University of Hawaiʻi

KVERT reported moderate explosive eruption continues, and ash explosions up to 6-8 km (19 700-26 240 feet) could happen at any time. The volcanic activity could affect international and low-flying aircrafts in the region, and an orange level aviation alert was issued signalizing volcano is exhibiting heightened unrest with increased likelihood of an eruption.

Zhupanovsky volcano entered a period of heightened activity on June 6, 2014, with an eruption sending ash plumes up to 6 km (19 900 feet a.s.l, according to Tokyo VAAC and UHPP notices. The Aviation Color Code was raised to yellow on the occasion. Satellite images on June 9 revealed ash plumes rising to altitudes of 3-4 km (9 800-13 100 feet) a.s.l. and drifting 60 km (37.3 miles) E.

Zhupanovsky volcano eruption plume, November 30, 2015. Image credit: Ирина Юркова via Facebook

Based on satellite images, KVERT reported that on November 28, 2015, ash plumes from Zhupanovsky rose to altitudes of 5-6 km (16 400-19 700 feet) above the sea level and drifted 285 km (177 miles) E. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange on the occasion. IVS FED RAS observed an ash explosion at 03:56 UTC on December 1 and the Tokyo VAAC reported that the resulting ash plume rose to an altitude of 9 km (29 500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 60 km (37.3 miles) SE.

An explosive eruption that began at Zhupanovsky on June 6, 2014, likely ended on November 30, 2015, GVP reported. Only moderate levels of fumarolic activity were observed in early-to-mid December period. On December 17 the Aviation Color Code was lowered to green.

Experts stated the populated areas are currently not threatened. However, travel companies have been advised not to organize tours in the vicinity of the volcano.

Geological Summary

The Zhupanovsky volcanic massif consists of four overlapping stratovolcanoes along a WNW-trending ridge. The elongated volcanic complex was constructed within a Pliocene-early Pleistocene caldera whose rim is exposed only on the eastern side. Three of the stratovolcanoes were built during the Pleistocene, the fourth is Holocene in age and was the source of all of Zhupanovsky's historical eruptions. An early Holocene stage of frequent moderate and weak eruptions from 7000 to 5000 years before present (BP) was succeeded by a period of infrequent larger eruptions that produced pyroclastic flows. The last major eruption took place about 800-900 years BP. Historical eruptions have consisted of relatively minor explosions from the third cone.

Featured image: Zhupanovsky volcano eruption plume, November 30, 2015. Image credit: Ирина Юркова via Facebook


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