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Report on Ebeko (Russia) — August 2009


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 34, no. 8 (August 2009)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Ebeko (Russia) Occasional steam plumes with ash from mid-2005 to mid-2009

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Ebeko (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 34:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200908-290380



50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Our most recent report on Ebeko described minor seismic events between January-June 2005, accompanied by occasional plumes sometimes depositing minor ash (BGVN 30:06). Ebeko lacks a dedicated seismometer; therefore, the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) generally monitors the volcano with visual and satellite observations. The town of Severo-Kurilsk, ~ 7 km E of the summit, has been subjected to considerable environmental stress due to emissions in the past several years (Kotenko and Kotenko, 2009). The volcano is located at the N end of Paramushir Island, just S of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The island hosts five other volcanoes active in the Holocene, including Chikurachki, which was active in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and as recently as September 2008.

About 29 July 2005, KVERT raised the Concern Color Code from Green (the lowest level) to Yellow. During 22-29 July new fumaroles were noted in the active crater, and there was one explosion reported. This types of activity had not been observed since 1982. During 3-9 August fumarolic activity continued. During the week of 5-12 August 2005 weak fumarolic activity was noted, but no volcanic activity was visible on satellite imagery. Strong fumarolic activity occurred during 9-16 September, and gas temperatures reached 480°C. During the week 22-28 February 2006, KVERT reported that no significant changes in activity had been seen on satellite imagery or via ground observations for several months, so the Concern Color Code was reduced to Green. A weak scent of hydrogen sulfide and chlorine gas was sometimes noted in Severo-Kurilsk.

No additional information was available about Ebeko until March 2007. According to a news article in RIA Novosti, on 22 March gas-and-steam clouds from the volcano rose to an altitude of 1.3-1.5 km. Nearby residents smelled sulfur and chlorine.

Ebeko was not reported on again until February 2009. According to the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and KVERT, between 11 February and 18 June 2009, the volcano emitted a series of gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash (table 3, figure 1). During 29 January-23 February, the cumulative ashfall was 80 g/m2.

Table 3. Gas-and-steam plumes from Ebeko containing some ash between 11 February 2009 and 18 June 2009. Information was provided by the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center based on an analysis of satellite imagery and information from Yelizovo Airport, and KVERT.

Date Max. plume altitude (km) Plume drift direction
11 Feb 2009 0.6 NE
17 Feb 2009 1.2 SW
13 Mar 2009 0.6 E
01 Apr-10 Apr 2009 3.2-3.4 Various
10 Apr-17 Apr 2009 1.5-2.7 SE
17 Apr-19 Apr 2009 2-3 NE
24 Apr-01 May 2009 1.2-3.5 Various
09 May-11 May 2009 2.1-2.4 SW, SE
22 May 2009 2.4 SE
09 Jun-10 Jun 2009 2.7 --
13 Jun 2009 2.1 SW
13 Jun-18 Jun 2009 1.7 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Ash layers from Ebeko deposited in ~ 70 cm of snow and excavated and photographed on 26 February 2009. The layers were thin. More layers were deposited later (see text below). Courtesy of Leonid Kotenko (IV&S).

Ashfall deposits in Severo-Kurilsk on 13-14, 18, 29, and 31 March 2009 (figures 2 and 3) were up to 2 mm deep. The town also experienced light ashfall on 5 and 22-23 April. Accordingly, on 3 April 2009 the Level of Concern Color Code was raised to Yellow. On 31 July, KVERT reported that activity had remained low since 13 July, and thus lowered the Level of Concern Color Code to Green.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Ash cloud from Ebeko blowing towards Severo-Kurilsk, Paramushir Island, on 14 March 2009. Photographed by Tania Kotenko (IV&S).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A photo showing an Ebeko explosion on 18 March 2009. Photographed by Leonid Kotenko (IV&S).

Hazards and impacts on Severo-Kurilsk. Kotenko and Kotenko (2009) discussed the environmental impacts of Ebeko on Severo-Kurilsk. Threats include lahars, ashfalls, atmospheric poisoning from volcanic gases (particularly during periods of strong fumarolic activity), and the pollution of potable water supplies. Narrow river gorges descending the volcano can direct volcanic gas into Severo-Kurilsk, which lies in a lowland, accentuating the air pollution problem. The study noted the stresses on inhabitants during strong fumarolic activity of the kind seen during the 2- to 3-year-long intervals leading to eruptions. Historical eruptions occurred in 1793, 1833-34, 1859, 1934-35, 1967-71, and 1987-90.

Reference. Kotenko, Tatyana, and Kotenko, Leonid, 2009, Status of Ebeko volcano (Paramushir Island) and environmental impact of its eruptions, [in Russian] in Volcanism and Geodynamics: Content of 4th Russian symposium on volcanology and paleovolcanology: Yevgeny Gordeev (chief editor), IV&S Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23-29 September 2009, v. 2, p. 613-617 [ISBN 978-5-902424-05-5].

Geological Summary. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/); Olga Girina (KVERT); Leonid Kotenko, Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IV&S); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); RIA Novosti (URL: http://en.rian.ru/).