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Report on Sheveluch (Russia) — April 2000

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 4 (April 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Sheveluch (Russia) Intermittent ash explosions from January through March

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Sheveluch (Russia). In: Wunderman, R. (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200004-300270.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Sheveluch

Russia

56.653°N, 161.36°E; summit elev. 3283 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


This report covers the period January-April 2000. As of 28 April 2000, KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) temporarily suspended operations because of a lack of funding. Seismic activity was at or near background level throughout this period. Occasional weak fumarolic activity occurred, accompanied by fumarolic plumes that rose from 50 m to several hundred meters above the volcano and extended to 10 km in various directions. The volcano frequently was obscured by clouds, which prevented both visual and satellite observations. The hazard level was Green throughout most of the period except for a few days in late January and a period in March when seismic events caused the level to be raised to Yellow.

At 0329 on 9 January, seismic data indicated that a short-lived ash explosion may have occurred. An 81-minute-long series of shallow events was recorded. However, no ash plume was seen on the satellite images at 0513. At 0100 on 23 January, and again at 0428 on 26 January, 20-minute episodes of shallow earthquakes and tremor indicated that brief gas-and-ash explosions may have occurred. The hazard level was raised to Yellow. The volcano was obscured by clouds on 23-26 January; however, on the morning of the 27th the volcano was quiet but its W flanks were covered with gray ash, perhaps from dome explosions. The hazard level was returned to Green.

During the first week of February, seismicity under the volcano was mainly at background levels with occasional fumarolic plumes. At 1653 on 7 February, visual sightings from Klyuchi town reported short-lived, explosive eruptions that sent an ash-poor plume to heights of 1,500 m above the dome. An accompanying increase in seismic activity occurred. At 1800 a plume rose 700 m above the dome and extended 5 km to the NW.

On 9 March, there was a possible ash-gas plume and the nature of the seismicity suggested that this plume may have risen 3-4 km above the crater, but the volcano was obscured by clouds. Again during the week ending on 17 March, seismic data suggested a short-lived explosive eruption sending a plume to 3-4 km above the dome. On 11-13 March, shallow earthquakes and volcanic tremor were registered, but the volcano was obscured by clouds the entire week. During 17-23 March, a steam-and-gas plume rose 500-1,000 m above the volcano, spreading up to 10 km to the NE and E. Visual sightings from Klyuchi at 1752 on 17 March revealed that a short-lived explosive eruption sent an ash-poor plume to about 1,000 m above the dome; it drifted 7 km to the W. This event was accompanied by increased seismicity. At 1345 on 18 March, seismic data indicated another short-lived weak explosive eruption. At 0249 on 24 March, in contrast, seismic data indicated a short-lived but vigorous explosive eruption. The hazard level was raised to Yellow during most of this two-week period but was returned to Green after the seismicity returned to background levels, where it remained throughout April.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.