Strong explosive eruption at Bezymianny, ash to 10 km (32 800 feet) a.s.l., Aviation Color Code Red

Strong explosive eruption at Bezymianny, ash to 10 km (32 800 feet) a.s.l., Aviation Color Code Red

A strong explosive eruption took place at Bezymianny volcano, Kamchatka, Russia at 16:10 UTC (04:06 local time) on January 20, 2019. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red. The last major eruption of this volcano took place on December 20, 2017. The latest activity period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption.

Explosions sent ash up to 10 km (32 800 feet) above sea level and ash cloud begin to drift northwest, KVERT reported 22:43 UTC. 

Activity at the volcano continued with strong gas-steam plume and some amount of ash at a height of about 3.5 - 4.5 km a.s.l., drifting NW.

Ash cloud from strong explosions continues drifting NW at about 10 - 11 km a.s.l. At the time of their 22:43 UTC report, the cloud was at a distance of about 600 km (367 miles) WNW.

Webcam located in Kozyrervsk, approximately 50 km (31 miles) west of Bezymianny volcano. Credit: Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Survey RAS

Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircrafts, KVERT warns. Moderate eruptive activity of the volcano continues but ash explosions up to 10 km (32 800 feet) a.s.l. could occur at any time.

Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircrafts.

Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange, KVERT reported 02:56 UTC, January 21.

The last time this volcano forced Aviation Color Code Red was on December 20, 2017 when it ejected ash plumes 10 - 15 km (32 800 - 49 200 feet) a.s.l. In terms of ash cloud height, it was the strongest eruption anywhere on the planet that year.

Webcam located in Kozyrervsk, approximately 50 km (31 miles) west of Bezymianny volcano. Credit: Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Survey RAS

Webcam located in seismic station, approximately 7 km (4.3 miles) East of Bezymianny volcano. Credit: Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Survey RAS

Geological summary

Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11000 - 7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years.

The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater. (GVP)

Featured image: JMA/Himawari-8, EUMETSAT/VAM, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers

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