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Report on Karymsky (Russia) — November 2003


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 28, no. 11 (November 2003)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Karymsky (Russia) Intermittent explosions and elevated seismicity through November

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Karymsky (Russia) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 28:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200311-300130



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

From late August through 5 December seismic activity at Karymsky was above background levels (100-230 events per week) and intermittent explosions continued. The Level of Concern Color Code was Yellow through most of September and October, with a week at the higher Orange status during 3-10 October. The color code was raised to Orange again on 31 October and remained at that level through 5 December. Thermal anomalies identified in satellite data were usually 1-4 pixels in size, with a maximum of 6 pixels on 30 August, and 10, 11, 14, and 16 October. However, the weather was frequently cloudy after 12 September, obscuring observations.

Ash explosions rising up to 4.0 and 4.7 km were observed from aircraft on 29 August. About 2 hours of continuous spasmodic tremor (6.0 x 10-6 m/s) on 30 August, followed by the detection of a thermal anomaly (6 pixels) less than an hour later, may have been caused by a pyroclastic flow.

On 9 and 10 September, continuous high-frequency spasmodic tremor and a series of shallow seismic events indicated possible ash-and-gas explosions to heights of 1.5-2.0 km above the volcano. A gas-and-steam plume extending 100 km E was noted on 9 September. On 14 September an ash-and-gas plume was seen rising 500 m above the crater. On 23 September there was an explosive ash plume up to 5 km altitude according to visual data from the Institute of Volcanology.

The number of shallow seismic events increased during 4-24 October to weekly highs of 350; these events indicated possible ash-and-gas explosions to heights of 1-1.5 km. Ash plumes extending 60 and 30 km SE and NE were observed on 4 and 7 October, respectively. An extensive gas-and-steam plume extending 85 km SE was noted on 10 October. Continuous high-frequency spasmodic tremor detected for almost an hour on 10 October probably indicated pyroclastic flows. Ash plumes extending 45-50 km NW were observed on 16 October. On 31 October, a possible plume extending ~65 km NNE was observed in a satellite image. Gas-and-steam plumes with possible minor ash ~40-60 km long were detected on 20, 21, 24, and 26 November; clouds obscured the volcano on other days.

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 Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.