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Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — August 1994


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 8 (August 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Eruption sends gas-and-ash bursts at least 3 km high; lava fountaining

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199408-300260



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption began on 8 September with lava fountaining and ash plumes that rose to an altitude of at least 8 km on 12 September. Explosive activity increased on 30 September, and on 1 October the ash column rose to >15 km altitude.

During 7-24 July, seismic stations continued to register weak intermediate-depth (10-30 km) earthquakes under the volcano (15-55/day); the duration of volcanic tremor averaged 8-22 hours/day. Weak fumarolic activity from the central crater was observed during the week of 7-14 July. Clouds frequently obscured the volcano through mid-August, but British climbers who visited the summit in early August reported no unusual activity. Seismicity increased from 24 July to 2 August, when 15-149 weak intermediate-depth earthquakes were recorded each day, accompanied by 1-20 hours/day of volcanic tremor. The number of weak intermediate-depth events decreased again during the next three weeks to 8-37 earthquakes/day. Tremor averaged 5-10 hours/day through 11 August, 3-4.5 hours/day the following week, and 5-17 hours/day by 2 September. Weak intermediate-depth earthquakes decreased from 2 to 8 September, averaging only 1-4 events/day. However, volcanic tremor was recorded for an average of 19-22 hours/day. Normal fumarolic activity was observed from the central crater early in September.

Seismic data indicated that an eruption began from the central crater at about 0400 on 8 September. Lava was observed fountaining 200-300 m above the crater from two separate vents. Gas and ash outbursts to 1 km were recorded every 10 minutes. Pilots from American Airlines reported an ash cloud as high as 11 km above sea level around 1445 on 9 September, and at 1010 the next day the cloud was reportedly moving SE at the same altitude.

On 12 September ground observers reported that the eruption sent gas and ash to 1.5 km above the crater. The ash plume reached an estimated 3 km above the 4.7-km-high volcano, to an altitude of ~8 km. The plume extended to the NE for more than 50 km and ashfall was reported in Kliuchi, [30 km NNE]. A 1-km-long lava flow was observed on the SW slope of the volcano; mudflows were also noted. Continuous volcanic tremor was recorded as far as 65 km from the volcano.

Kliuchevskoi was obscured by clouds on 13 September, but gas and ash explosions on 14 September rose 600-800 m above the crater with an ash column extending to 2 km above the crater. The ash plume was carried E for at least 50 km. A new lava flow 1.5 km long was observed on 14 September issuing from two NW-flank vents ~200 m below the crater rim. This flow is in addition to the lava flow on the SW flank of the volcano. Lava fountains were again observed extending to 200 m above the crater rim. Continuous volcanic tremor, with a maximum amplitude of 6.3 µm, was recorded at distances of 11 km from the volcano.

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: V. Kirianov, IVGG; J. Lynch, SAB.