Major volcanic eruption sends ash cloud 12 miles into the sky threatening planes and turning day into night in ‘doomsday scenes’ in eastern Russia
- Shivluch volcano erupted shortly after midnight on the Kamchatka Peninsula
- Lava flowed from the volcano, melting snow, and raising warnings of mudflow
One of Russia’s most active volcanoes erupted Tuesday, spewing a huge cloud of ash into the sky, choking villages in drifts of gray volcanic dust, prompting an aviation warning around the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east.
Shivluch volcano erupted shortly after midnight and reached its peak about six hours later, spewing a 108,000 square kilometer cloud of ash, according to the Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical Survey of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Lava gushed from the volcano, melting snow triggering a mudflow warning along a nearby highway while villages were carpeted in drifts of gray ash up to 8.5cm deep, the deepest in 60 years.
“The ash cloud reached a height of 20 kilometers, the ash cloud moved west and there was a very strong ash fall on nearby villages,” said Danila Cheprov, director of the Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical Survey.
“The volcano has been preparing for this for at least a year … and the process is continuing, although it has calmed down a bit now,” Cheprov said.
View showing Shivluch volcano spewing volcanic ash and smoke, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Lava flowed from the volcano, melting snow leading to the mudflow warning in last year’s eruption in November
The volcano will likely calm down now, he said, but more major ash clouds cannot be ruled out. He said that the lava flows should not reach the local villages.
The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) has issued an aviation red notice, saying that “ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft.”
Some schools on the Kamchatka Peninsula, some 6,800 kilometers east of Moscow, have been closed and residents have been ordered to stay home, said the head of the Ust-Kamchatsky municipal district, Oleg Bondarenko, in a post on Telegram.
“Because of what I just saw here with my own eyes, it would be impossible for children to go to school, and in general the presence of children here is questionable,” Bondarenko said.
He said that electricity has been restored to residents and drinking water is running.
A satellite image shows the Shivluch volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula in November 2022
The eruption sent a cloud of ash 12 miles into the sky. The volcano was photographed in November last year
Shiveluch is one of Kamchatka’s largest and most active volcanoes and has experienced an estimated 60 major eruptions in the past 10,000 years, with the most recent in 2007.
It consists of two main parts, the smallest of which – Young Shiveluch – has been very active in recent months, scientists report, with a 2,800-meter (9,186-foot) peak jutting out from the 3,283-meter Old Shiveluch.
Scientists have posted images of the rapidly flowing ash cloud over forests and rivers in the far east and villages covered in ash. Someone posted a picture of the depth of the ash fall – over 8cm in depth.