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Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — September 2000


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 9 (September 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Seismic swarms, fumarolic activity, and gas-and-ash explosions

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200009-300260



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

This report covers the period June-mid-October 2000. KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) resumed operations at the beginning of June, after being shut down due to lack of funding. Reports indicated that fumarolic activity occurred through 23 June, sending plumes up to 700 m above the summit crater. The week of 23-29 June was entirely quiet, with no seismicity above normal or activity from fumaroles.

Weak fumarolic activity began anew on 2 July and continued to the middle of the month. A fumarolic plume rose 100-200 m above the volcano on 15-18 July, and extended 2-5 km to NW, W, and S. On 21 July, a M2 earthquake occurred, and at 0330 on 24 July, continuous volcanic tremor began. Strong tremor occurred from 1550 to 1730, but afterward returned to background levels although shallow earthquakes continued to be registered. No thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery during that time. On 28 July at 0815, residents in Kliuchi, a town 30 km NE of the summit, observed a short-lived explosive eruption that sent a gas-and-ash plume to 3 km above the volcano. The plume extended to the S, and increased seismicity occurred. The eruption caused KVERT to increase the Level of Concern Code for Kliuchevskoi to Yellow. At 0703 on 31 July, seismic data indicated that an even more vigorous short-lived gas-and-ash explosion occurred, because a series of shallow earthquakes was registered with a greater signal amplitude than those on 28 July.

Seismicity during the first week of August was above background levels with both shallow and deep earthquakes. Seismic data indicated a possible short-lived gas-and-ash explosion at 1047 on 8 August. Estimates of the plume height using seismic data suggest that it was no higher than the 28 July eruption. Shallow seismic activity was recorded during the middle of August, but no visual data were available because the volcano was largely obscured by clouds. KVERT decreased the Level of Concern Color Code from Yellow to Green on 18 August. At the end of August, weak fumarolic activity was observed above Kliuchevskoi's summit crater. On 29 August, a gas-and-steam explosion sent a plume 100 m above the crater and was blown SE.

The beginning of September was marked by heightened seismicity. A continuous fumarolic plume rose to a height of 50-100 m during 1-5 September. Fumarolic and seismic activity decreased on 6 September. On 11 September, another fumarolic plume from the summit crater rose 200-300 m. Activity diminished to weak fumarolic emanations a day later. KVERT recorded several shallow and weak seismic events on the night of 12 September, indicating a small gas-and-ash explosion. Kliuchi residents observed a darkened crater rim and a new zone of ashfall the next morning.

A fumarolic plume rose to 100-200 m above the volcano on the night of 16 September and into the next morning. Seismic activity increased significantly at 1230 on 17 September with a swarm of intense shallow earthquakes until 1300; these were registered at a station more than 130 km away. Although no volcanic activity was observed visually, the KVERT Level of Concern Color Code for Kliuchevskoi was increased from Green to Yellow. Seismic activity decreased in intensity for the rest of the week. Weak fumarolic activity occurred on 20-21 September, but otherwise the volcano was quiet.

On 22 September, the residents of Kliuchi observed a 500-m-high ash plume at 1715, which drifted toward the S. Fumarolic emissions during 22-27 September sent plumes up to 100 m above the summit. Seismicity was at background levels and the eruptions ceased for the remainder of the month, causing KVERT to decrease the hazard status back to Green on 29 September. Near-background level seismicity continued into October. Minor fumarolic discharges occurred into mid-October with no further significant volcanic activity.

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.