Logo link to homepage

Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — March 2005


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

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian eruptions and lava flows during January-March 2005

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 30:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200503-300260



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

From April to November 2004, the hazard status (Concern Color Code) remained at Yellow, with seismicity at background levels throughout this time, and occasional fumarole activity. Around 26 November 2004, the status was reduced from Yellow to Green, the lowest level. During November 2004, seismicity remained at background levels. Gas-and-steam plumes were seen up to 5 km altitude on 24 November 2004 and weak fumarolic activity was observed on several days. Kliuchevskoi was last reported on in April 2004 (BGVN 29:04) and this report covers the interval through 31 March 2005.

On 14 January 2005 the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) raised the status at Kliuchevskoi from Green to Yellow as seismic activity at the volcano increased. On 12 January, around 21 shallow earthquakes of M 1.0-1.7 and weak volcanic tremor were recorded. According to visual observations, weak gas-and-steam plumes were noted during 6-8 and 12 January. The plumes extended E from the volcano on 7 January and SW for 5 km on 12 January.

On 16 January 2005 KVERT raised the status again, from Yellow to Orange, as seismic activity increased significantly. During 13-14 January, 15 shallow earthquakes of over M 1.25 were recorded, along with an increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor. Visual observations on 14 January noted a weak gas-and-steam plume that extended N from the volcano. Satellite data showed a bright thermal anomaly over the summit on 15 January.

During the third week of January, the total number of shallow earthquakes continued to increase. Gas-and-steam plumes rose to ~ 800 m above the lava dome. Incandescence was visible in the volcano's crater on several nights.

Strombolian eruptions occurred during 20-23 and 27 January. Explosions sent volcanic bombs 50-300 m above the crater on several nights. Gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum height of 1.5 km above the crater. On 21 January a gas-and-steam plume with small amounts of ash extended as far as 23 km NE of the volcano. Throughout January seismicity was above background, with a large number of shallow earthquakes recorded daily. Gas-and-steam plumes that rose to ~ 1 km above the volcano's crater drifted SW on 29 January and NW on 31 January. A small amount of ash fell in the town of Klyuchi, about [30 km to the NNE], on 31 January.

On 1 February around 1000, a mudflow carrying large blocks and trees traveled ~ 6 km down Kliuchevskoi's NW flank into the Kruten'kaya River. The mudflow reached a height of a few meters and trees were covered with mud to ~ 1.5 m. On 6, 8, and 9 February, ash plumes rose ~ 2.5 km above the volcano's crater. Gas-and-steam plumes rose to ~ 3 km during 6-9 February. A cinder cone was noted in the volcano's crater on 6 February. Fresh ash deposits were seen on the SW flank of Ushkovsky volcano (NW of Kliuchevskoi) on 7 February, and in Klyuchi on 9 February.

Throughout the first week of February there were Strombolian eruptions in the terminal crater of Kliuchevskoi, and a lava flow traveled into Krestovsky channel on the volcano's NW flank. Phreatic bursts occurred in this channel when the lava contacted glaciers during 6-9 February and 12-13 February. Ash plumes rose ~ 3 km above the volcano's crater during 12-14 February. During 12-16 February, volcanic bombs were hurled 300-500 m above the crater, Strombolian eruptions occurred in the crater, and lava again traveled into the Krestovsky channel. On 16 February, a mudflow extended 27 km. According to a news report, a lava flow from Kliuchevskoi melted a large section of Ehrman glacier on 21 February 2005.

Moderate seismic and volcanic activity continued at Kliuchevskoi during 24 February to 4 March. On 24 February lava continued to travel down the Krestovsky channel. Strombolian activity during this time sent plumes to ~ 1 km above the volcano. Ash fell in the village of Icha, about 275 km to the SW on 26 February, and in Kozyrevsk, about 25 km to the W, on 1 March. Ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery on several days. During the first two weeks of March 2005, eruptions continued. Strombolian explosions occurred intermittently from a cinder cone in the summit crater. Lava flows extend from this cone down the NW flank. Occasional vigorous explosions from the summit crater and along the path of the lava flow produced ash plumes as high as 7-8 km and traveled many tens or hundreds of kilometers downwind. Ash-and-gas plumes rose up to 3.2 km above the crater on 10-16 March and extended up to 150 km in various directions. Ash fell at Kozyrevsk on 11 March. Strombolian bursts rose about 500-1,000 m above the summit crater. Two lava flows were observed on the volcano's NW slope on 15 March. Clouds obscured the volcano at other times. According to satellite data, a large thermal anomaly was registered at the volcano during the second week of March.

During 11-18 March, Strombolian explosions occurred intermittently from a cinder cone in the summit crater. Lava flows extended from this cinder cone down the NW flank. Occasional vigorous explosions from the summit crater and along the path of the lava flow produced ash plumes that reached as high as 7-8 km altitude and drifted many tens or hundreds of kilometers downwind. Seismicity was above background at this time. On 11-12 March ash-and-gas plumes rose to 3.2 km above the crater. Ash fell in the town of Kozyrevsk, 30 km to the W, on 11 March. Strombolian bursts rose 500-1,000 m above the summit crater. On 15 March two lava flows were observed on the NW slope. The amplitude of volcanic tremor was about 12-13 x 10-6 m/s on 18-21 March and increased to about 46.0 x 10-6 m/s on 22 March. From 1730 till 1900 on 23 March it was up to 62 x 10-6 m/s.

On 24 March KVERT raised the hazard status to Red (the highest level) due to increased seismic and volcanic activity. A gas-and-steam plume containing ash rose to ~ 7.5 km altitude on 22 March and ~ 8.5 km altitude on 23 March, extending NW. Ash fell in the town of Klyuchi during 23-24 March. According to data from AMC (Airport Meteorological Center) at Yelizovo, 340 km S, an ash plume that rose to ~ 7 km altitude and extended 70-80 km to the NW was observed by pilots on 23 March. The amplitude of volcanic tremor decreased from 62 x 10-6 m/s on 23 March to 26-22 x 10-6 m/s on 25-26 March. Satellite data indicated a 2- to 6-pixel (through the clouds) thermal anomaly over the volcano throughout the last week of March. Ash-and-gas plumes extended from the volcano 35 km N and 80 km W on 25 March. Seismometers detected a great number of shallow earthquakes and 27 earthquakes of Ml = 1.5-2.1.

During about 27-28 March seismic activity at Kliuchevskoi decreased, leading KVERT to reduce the status to Orange. According to visual and video data during 27-28 March, a gas-and-steam plume containing some ash rose ~ 200 m above the crater and extended W. Ash-and-gas plumes rose to 2,500-3,000 m above the crater and extended SE on 28 March, and NE on 29 March. Incandescence above the summit crater was observed on 28 March. According to the data from the AMC at Yelizovo, an ash-and-gas plume rising about 2,000 m above the crater at 1420 on 31 March was observed by pilots. Ash-and-gas plumes extended 250 km SE on 28 March, 270 km NE on 29 March, and 100 km NW on 31 March.

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), 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.