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Koryaksky causing alarm 29 December 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Kamchatka, Koryaksky, Russia.
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Koryaksky volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula has been showing signs of heightened activity recently, as we reported here at The Volcanism Blog on 26 December. Now comes news that Petropavlovsk-Kamchatky Airport has been closed to flights and that the Russian volcanological authorities are warning of a possible explosive eruption. A report from RIA-Novosti quotes Alexei Ozerov of the Volcanology and Seismology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences:

‘Compared to the eruption of 1956 – the only one to have been observed in this volcano’s history – the eruption under way now began much more rapidly and powerfully … the authorities in the province and the city of Petropavlovsk must be prepared for more powerful eruptions and take steps to monitor the volcano and aviation safety.’

The same report indicates that the reason for the heightened alert is a new vent about 3.1-3.3 kilometres above sea level (Koryaksky’s summit elevation is 3.456 km), at a point where fumarolic activity has been observed over a long period. The current alert level is given by KVERT as orange, which is the second-highest level, and the most recent KVERT bulletin on Koryaksky reports a moderate explosive eruption, ash plumes rising to 4.0km, no seismic data ‘for technical reasons’, and expects the activity of the volcano to increase.

Russian news reports speak of a volcanic ash hazard for aircraft: a local news report today says that dark ash emissions are rising to 4.0km above sea level. The Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center has no current ash alerts for Koryaksky, but ash at low altitudes could well be dangerous for the operation of airports in the vicinity of the volcano, hence the closure.

With neigbouring Avachinsky, Koryaksky has been designated a Decade Volcano because of its history of explosive eruptions and its proximity to populated areas.

[N.B. You’ll also see this volcano called Koryak. The cataloguers at the Global Volcanism Program call it Koryaksky, and as with other volcanoes it’s the GVP nomenclature that is used on this blog.]

Thanks to AS for her translations from the Russian.

Eruption of Koryak volcano might be dangerous – Russia InfoCentre, 29 December 2008
Fears of explosive volcano eruption closes Kamchatka airportAviation Herald, 28 December 2008
Извержение Корякского вулкана может усилиться – RIA Novosti, 28 December 2008 (Russian)
На Камчатке активность вулкана Корякский представляет опасность для местной авиации – Regions.ru, 29 December 2008 (Russian)

Global Volcanism Program: Koryaksky – information about Koryaksky (1000-09=)
KVERT: current volcanic activity – current activity for the Kamchatkan volcanoes (English)
Current activity of Koryaksky volcano – current status of Koryaksky and many images (Russian and English)

The Volcanism Blog