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Report on Bezymianny (Russia) — 29 August-4 September 2012


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
29 August-4 September 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Bezymianny (Russia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 August-4 September 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (29 August-4 September 2012)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Bezymianny had increased in the middle of August. During 24-31 August levels were moderate; 17 events were recorded on 28 August and 71 events were recorded on 31 August. Observers noted weak-to-moderate fumarolic activity during 25-26 and 29 August; cloud cover prevented observations on the other days. A thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery on 25 August.

Based on seismic data analyses, an explosive eruption occurred from 0716 to 0745 on 2 September. Ash plumes rose to altitudes of 10-12 km (32,800-39,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted more than 1,500 km ENE. A thermal anomaly observed in satellite imagery was very bright before the explosion. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange, then Red. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE later that day, then ash emissions ceased. Ash plumes continued to be detected in satellite imagery and drifted 450-600 km ENE and SE. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow. On 3 September seismic activity was low. A viscous lava flow effused on the lava-dome flank, and was accompanied by fumarolic activity and hot avalanches.

Geological Summary. The modern Bezymianny, much smaller than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi on the Kamchatka Peninsula, was formed about 4,700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7,000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3,000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1,000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large open 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.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)