Report on Bezymianny (Russia) — 20 August-26 August 2008
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 August-26 August 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Bezymianny (Russia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 August-26 August 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Bezymianny was slightly above background levels during 14 and 16-18 August and at background levels during 15 and 20-21 August. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a thermal anomaly over the lava dome during 14-15 and 18-21 August. The thermal anomaly enlarged just before an explosion on 19 August. The explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 9 km (29,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 1,200 km W. Staff at a seismic station about 50 km W reported ashfall and the smell of volcanic gas. The Level of Concern Color Code was lowered to Yellow.
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.