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Report on Bezymianny (Russia) — March 2005


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 30, no. 3 (March 2005)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Bezymianny (Russia) Explosive eruption on 11 January 2005 inferred from seismic data

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Bezymianny (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 30:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200503-300250



55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Bezymianny was reported on in BGVN 29:05, covering the June 2004 eruption that was characterized by viscous lava flows and large ash plumes. This report covers the interval from July 2004 through February 2005. From July 2004 to December 2004, unrest and fumarolic activity were virtually continuous. The Concern Code Color (hazard status) remained at Yellow throughout much of this time, and seismicity was at or below background levels. The lava dome of the volcano continued to grow, and satellite data frequently indicated a thermal anomaly over the dome. Gas-steam plumes were observed almost daily from Klyuchi about 50 km away, rising to 3-5 km altitude, and extending in various directions for 10-15 km.

KVERT raised the hazard status from Yellow to Orange on 7 January as seismicity increased. On 11 January, KVERT raised the status from Orange to Red (the highest level). An explosive eruption, inferred from seismic data, began at 2002 on 11 January 2005 and was believed to have produced an ash column to 8-10 km altitude. No visual or satellite data were available as dense clouds obscured the volcano. Seismic activity was above background levels during the first week of January and increased continuously. About 60 earthquakes of magnitude 1.25-2.25, and numerous weaker, shallow events registered during 7-11 January. Intermittent volcanic tremor was recorded on 10 January.

The hazard status was lowered from Red to Orange on 12 January when seismic activity returned to background levels following the eruption of 11 January. Seismicity remained at background levels so the status was lowered from Orange to Yellow on 14 January.

During February 2005 gas-steam plumes were observed frequently, rising 50-1,000 m above the dome and drifting 10-15 km in various directions. Satellite data frequently indicated a thermal anomaly over the dome. The status remained at Yellow as of 29 April 2005.

Geological Summary. The modern Bezymianny, much smaller than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi on the Kamchatka Peninsula, was formed about 4,700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an edifice built about 11,000-7,000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3,000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1,000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large open crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

Information Contacts: Olga A. 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.