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Report on Karymsky (Russia) — July 1999


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 24, no. 7 (July 1999)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Karymsky (Russia) Ongoing explosions resume 7 August after brief quiet

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1999. Report on Karymsky (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 24:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199907-300130



54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The low-level Strombolian eruptive activity that has characterized the volcano for more than three years continued from 24 May through 26 July. Earthquakes and gas explosions ranged over 25-70/day until 5 July when seismicity began decreasing to just above background levels. During the week of 5 July to 12 July, the number of earthquakes and gas explosions decreased to ~5-10/day. Probable pyroclastic flows occurred on 24 and 25 July. Overall activity continued to decrease and on 2 August, after more than 3 years of eruptive activity, the volcano returned to its normal state.

However, on 5 August, seismicity under the volcano increased and more than 70 weak to moderate gas explosions were recorded. On 7 August, after 10 days of quiescence, eruptive activity was renewed and the number of explosions exceeded 300/day.

Eco-tourists visited the volcano between 8 and 10 July (guided by Guy de Saint-Cyr of Aventure et Volcans of Lyon, France and Alexei Choustrov of Top Sport Travel, St. Petersburg, Russia) and reportedly made helicopter flights above the crater and a landing at their base camp. For 8 July the group reported no visible activity in the central crater and a very viscous lava flow (Merapi type) with some incandescent zones escaping from the collapsed part of the crater. But at 1705 on 9 July, they noted a violent detonation with simultaneous explosions on the two summit craters and a ~200-m-diameter eruptive column rising vertically to ~700 m altitude. All of Karymsky volcano disappeared under an ash cloud with a shower of 1-m3-sized blocks crashing down and rolling to the foot of the cone and halting less than 100 m from their base camp. According to their report, from 2000 on 9 July to 0600 on 10 July, an active lava flow accumulated at the foot on the W side of the crater.

Geological Summary. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

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.