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Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — November 2003


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

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Ash explosions and Strombolian activity through early December

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 28:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200311-300260



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Significant activity from Kliuchevskoi continued throughout 1 August to 5 December 2003, so the hazard status remained at Color Code Orange. Activity included ash explosions that generated long plumes, Strombolian activity in the central crater, thermal anomalies seen in satellite imagery, relatively strong shallow seismicity, and continuous spasmodic tremor. Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) reports obtained via the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) provided detailed reports of significant daily activity that is summarized below.

Gas-and-steam plumes, sometimes with ash, were frequently seen rising above the crater to heights of less than 1,500 m. However, on some days plumes were seen rising as high as 2,500-3,000 m. Most of the plumes dissipated after reaching distances described as greater than 10 or 20 km downwind. Satellite imagery showed that on 8-9 September ash-and-gas plumes extended 172 km to SW and 153 km to W. Long ash plumes to distances of 18-63 km SE were seen on 4 October. During mid-October (12, 16, 17, and 18) gas-and-steam plumes reached distances of 25-70 km in many directions. On 24 October an airline pilot reported an ash plume at ~6,800 m altitude extending to the NNE. A gas-and-steam plume approximately 50-55 km long extending to the ESE was noted on 10 November, and another with minor ash extended ~40 km E on the 16th.

Strombolian activity at the central crater was detected on 26 August, when volcanic bombs rose up to 200 m above the crater and explosions occurred at intervals of about 5 minutes. More Strombolian activity was seen by observers in Klyuchi and Kozyrevsk on 25 and 30 September, 2-4, 6-8, and 10-11 October, and 9-10, 14-15, 21, 27, and 29 November. Thermal anomalies were detected every week by USA and Russian satellites, sometimes as large as 8-9 pixels.

Recorded earthquakes at 30-km depth usually ranged up to 9/day through early November, with up to 18/day the week of 1-7 August, and 30 on 3 October; magnitudes were 1.6-2.6. Continuous spasmodic tremor had geophone velocities below 8 x 10-6 m/s until 4 October, when velocities increased into the 8-20 x 10-6 m/s range. Geophone velocities dropped again to 5-11 x 10-6 m/s during 22 November-2 December, then rose to 18 x 10-6 m/s through 5 December. Large shallow seismic events (M 1.7-2.6) were first reported during the week of 11-17 October. Nine such events that week were followed by totals of 4, 22, 48, and 43 per week over the next month. Counts increased to 75 for the week of 15-21 November, 80 during 22-28 November, and 130 for the week ending on 5 December. Large numbers of weak shallow earthquakes (counts not reported) were also recorded every week.

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 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.