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Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — May 1999


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 24, no. 5 (May 1999)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Series of ash explosions and shallow earthquakes during May

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1999. Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 24:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199905-300260



56.056°N, 160.642°E; summit elev. 4754 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Seismicity at Kliuchevskoi was above background levels during most of May. Earthquakes were concentrated near the summit crater and at depths of 25-30 km. On 29-30 April, a plume rose 200-400 m above the crater. An ash explosion began at 1330 on 1 May and on the evening of 2 May a fumarolic plume rose 2,700 m above the crater. During 3-5 May plumes rose 200-1,500 m above the crater before extending a few kilometers NE.

Short-lived explosive eruptions began at 1143 on 7 May, as seen from the nearby town of Klyuchi [(30 km NNE)]. Activity began with a powerful gas-and-steam blowout that became dark gray as ash mixed with steam rose above the summit. Ash explosions continued to occur every three minutes until the series ended abruptly at 1217. The height of the ash column reached 3,000 m and the plume extended 8 km NW. Authorities increased the color-coded warning level to yellow. Less vigorous gas-and-steam explosions, with plume heights of 400-700 m, occurred during the day at intervals of 7-10 minutes. At 1453 an ash-poor explosion column rose 2,500 m above the crater. Explosions were observed every 3-5 minutes with plumes 200-1,000 m above the crater during much of 8-9 May. A plume released on 8 May extended 30 km to the S and at 1230 on 9 May a plume rose 2,000 m above the crater. Moderate seismic and fumarolic activity returned and continued until the end of May.

Geological Summary. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

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.