Frequent ash emissions in progress at Karymsky volcano, Russia

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The moderate eruptive activity of Karymsky volcano, Kamchatka continues, KVERT reported. Ash plume was observed rising about 1 km (3 280 feet) above the sea level and drifting 111 km (69 miles) NE from the volcano on February 6, 2016.

Tokyo's Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported relatively frequent and often intense explosions at the volcano. KVERT warned ash explosions up to 6 km a.s.l. (19 700 feet) could occur at any time, and the ongoing activity could affect low-flying aircraft. Orange Aviation Color Code is currently in effect.

A dark trace of ash from the Karymsky volcano, clearly visible on the white snow blanket covering Kamchatka, February 10, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Terra MODIS

Several ash plumes up to 4 – 5 km (13 000 – 16 000 feet) in altitude have been reported by Tokyo VAAC at the end of January and beginning of February. Observed activity suggests the volcano's intermittent explosions have been more frequent and relatively intense, according to Volcano Discovery.

On January 7, KVERT reported continuous moderate eruptive activity of the volcano. Satellite data showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano during January 1, 3, 4, 6, and 7, while ash plumes extended for about 200 km (124.3 miles) east of the volcano on January 3, 5 and 6. During other days of the week, the volcano was quiet or obscured by clouds.

Karymsky volcano ash eruption, March 2011. Image credit: Sergey Krasnoshchokov

In the period between December 25, 2015, and January 1, 2016, moderate explosive activity at the volcano was still regular, KVERT reported. Satellite images detected an ash cloud, 56 km (34.8 miles) long and 6 km (3.7 miles) wide, drifting 145 km (90 miles) ENE. The Orange Aviation Alert was steadily in place.

Geological summary

Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide (16 404 feet) caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south.

The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7 600-7 700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2 000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2 300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Featured image: Karymsky volcano ash eruption, March 2011. Image credit: Sergey Krasnoshchokov

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