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Report on Sheveluch (Russia) — January 2008

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 33, no. 1 (January 2008)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Sheveluch (Russia) Lava-dome growth and block-and-ash flows continue April-December 2007

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Sheveluch (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 33:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200801-300270.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin



56.653°N, 161.36°E; summit elev. 3283 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Shiveluch (also spelled Sheveluch), the scene of lava-dome growth, is one of the most active volcanoes on Kamchatka. It was last reported here discussing events through early April 2007 (BGVN 32:03). The following report covering the interval early April-December 2007 came from multiple sources.

Shiveluch's eruptions are of an explosive nature and the volcano has been in a state of heightened activity since 5 December 2006. Vigorous activity continued to the time of this report (March 2008). Small lava-dome collapse events produced ash plumes and short block-and-ash flows, which in turn generated mudflows when snow was present. This activity was recorded in shallow volcanic earthquakes and tremor and a large, ever-present thermal anomaly on satellite imagery.

The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange throughout this report period (early April through December 2007). The Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) is monitoring the volcano and believes that it poses little danger for nearby populated localities.

During April 2007 growth of the lava dome continued, and hot lava extruded at the top of the dome. Hot avalanches from the top of the dome occurred daily. Ash and ash-and-steam plumes rose to altitudes of ~ 4.6-6.5 km. Some plumes were seen on satellite imagery drifting E, SE, and S. According to satellite data, ash plumes extended ~ 60 km on 28-29 April, mainly to the S and SW, and ~ 50 km to the E on 5 and 7 May. During 27-28 May, plumes were seen on satellite imagery drifting SW.

A large thermal anomaly was conspicious during the last week of April 2007, and hot avalanches originating from the dome were noted on 30 April, 4 May, and 6-7 May. Gas-steam emissions occurred repeatedly. On 7 May a mudflow traveled down Shiveluch's slope, reaching ~ 20 km beyond the lava dome and blocking ~ 30 m of a road, isolating the district center Ust-Kamchatsk on the E of the peninsula. There were no vehicles on this portion of the road when the mudflow descended, and no casualties occurred. Figure 12 contrasts the dome in 2006 and 2007.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The dome at Shiveluch as seen from the SW at two points in time, July 2006 and July 2007. The dome grew to substantially fill the active crater. The most active lava dome growth took place along in the dome's E sector. Photo by Natasha Gorbach (from Gorbach, 2007).

During July, gas-steam plumes frequently reached 4.0-6.1 km altitude. Ash was not always identified on satellite imagery because clouds obscured visibility; however, on 16 July satellite imagery detected gas-steam and ash plumes that extended for about 7-40 km to the S and SW of the volcano. Seismic data suggested that gas-and-ash emissions were concurrent with hot avalanches (figure 13).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. The lava dome of Shiveluch volcano as seen from the SW on 11 July 2007. The dark dome contrasts with glowing zones where hot avalanches descended. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk.

On 25 September 2007, video observations indicated ash plumes rising to 6 km altitude and drifting E. According to video for 27 September and 2 October 2007, gas-steam plumes rose up to 4.5 and 3.5 km altitude, respectively. Weak fumarolic activity was noted on both 1 and 8 October. KB GS RAS noted that there was no significant variation in the previous ongoing activity through December 2007 that might indicate any impending activity of greater significance. Frequent MODIS thermal alerts continued throughout 2007 into 2008.

Reference. Gorbach, N., 31 July 2007, Bulletin of activity at Sheveluch volcano, issued 31 July 2007 [title approximate (translated from Russian); available in Russian at URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/volcanoes/inform_messages/2007/Sheveluch_072007/Sheveluch_072007.html).

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Yuri Demyanchuk, Natasha Gorbsch, and theKamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS), Russia (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); 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/), 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.