Report on Bezymianny (Russia) — November 2005

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 30, no. 11 (November 2005)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Bezymianny (Russia) Ash plumes to 10 km altitude in 2005, hot avalanches from the dome

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Bezymianny (Russia). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 30:11. Smithsonian Institution.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin



55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

This report mentions a series of noteworthy events during mid-January through late December 2005. On 11 January 2005 an explosive eruption was inferred from seismic data; it was thought to have produced an ash column to 8-10 km altitude (BGVN 30:03). Seismic activity returned to background levels following this eruption and the Concern Color Code was lowered from Orange to Yellow on 14 January and remained at Yellow until the end of November 2005.

On 6-7 May 2005, weak gas-and-steam plumes were observed, but clouds frequently obscured the volcano. Thermal anomalies at the dome were detected in satellite imagery on 6-8, 10, and 12 May.

On 30 November, KVERT reported that seismicity at Bezymianny had increased during the previous two weeks. Seismic signals indicated that hot avalanches from the lava dome had begun on 29 November and the intensity of the thermal anomaly at the dome had increased. Strong fumarolic activity was captured on video of 29 November.

An explosive eruption began on 30 November at 2400 according to seismic data. Ash plumes were subsequently seen in satellite imagery extending SW at an altitude of about 6 km. The Concern Color Code was raised to Orange.

After the eruption on 30 November, seismic activity at the volcano decreased to background levels. On 2 December the Concern Color Code was reduced from Orange to Yellow. On 9 December, KVERT reported that based on past experience with Bezymianny, a viscous lava flow was probably active at the summit lava dome and there were no indications that an explosive eruption was imminent.

A gas-steam plume was visible on 9-11 December and fumarolic activity at the lava dome continued through December. Thermal anomalies were registered at the dome on 9, 17, 21, 24-25, and 27-29 December.

Geologic Background. 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 11,000-7000 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.

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL:, the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.