Logo link to homepage

Report on Karymsky (Russia) — November 1999


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 24, no. 11 (November 1999)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Karymsky (Russia) Eruptive activity gradually decreases, then stops in late December

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1999. Report on Karymsky (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 24:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199911-300130



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 gradually decreased after August until seismicity returned to background levels, and by late December there were no explosions. The eruption began on 2 January 1996 (BGVN 21:01) following an eruption from the Akademia Nauk caldera lake the previous day.

During the week of 9-15 August, steam-and-ash plumes were observed in satellite imagery extending as far as 75 km downwind at an altitude of 500-1,000 m above the crater. The number of gas-and-ash explosions was still more than 300/day the next week, with the plume rising 300-600 m above the volcano. During the last week of August through 5 September, the number of explosions was more than 75/day, with plumes to heights of 300-1,000 m above the volcano. Visual observations by KVERT staff on 1 and 5 September confirmed that explosive activity occurred every 10-20 minutes.

The number of gas-and-ash explosions decreased from 130 on 6 September to 80 on the 12th, but the plumes continued to rise 300-1,000 m above the volcano. That rate continued until the week of 20-26 September, when the average number of daily explosions decreased to 60. The number of explosions was 60-75/day during the next two-week reporting periods, through 10 October. During the week of 11-17 October the explosion rate decreased once again, to 20-35/day, although plume heights remained at 300-1,000 m. The number of explosions increased slightly, to 20-50/day, during 5-18 November, but then dropped the following week to 10-20/day and then only 2-5/day. During the week ending on 2 December, gas and ash explosions numbered 1-10/day.

The nearest seismic station (KRY) was out of order during 4-18 December. According to the regional seismic network, no strong events occurred during that period. The station was restored to operation on 19 December. As of 30 December seismicity at the volcano had decreased to background levels. About 1-2 local earthquakes occur every day and the volcano has returned to its normal state. At the end of December seismicity was at background levels of about 1-2 local earthquakes/day.

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.