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Report on Sheveluch (Russia) — January 2017

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 42, no. 1 (January 2017)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke. Research and preparation by Paul Berger.

Sheveluch (Russia) Ongoing strong explosions and ash plumes during September 2014-February 2015

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Sheveluch (Russia) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 42:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN201701-300270.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption at Sheveluch has been ongoing since 1999, and the activity there was previously described through August 2014 (BGVN 39:08). During 1 September 2014-28 February 2015 the same type of activity prevailed, with periods of strong explosions producing ash plumes as high as 11 km altitude. Most of the following data comes from Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) reports. Views of the volcano are often obscured by clouds.

KVERT reported that the explosive and effusive eruption continued into September 2014 through at least the end of February 2015. Activity was dominated by lava dome growth on the SE flank (N flank after mid-September), moderate ash explosions, fumarolic activity, and hot avalanches. According to KVERT, satellite data showed a thermal anomaly over the dome most days, when weather permitted observation. However, few MODVOLC alerts about MODIS thermal anomalies were recorded during the reporting period: two in September 2014, one in November, one in December, three in January 2015, and two in February.

Occasional strong explosions were reported by KVERT that produced ash plumes that rose as high as 11.5 km and drifted mostly in a northerly and easterly direction (NW to E). Strong explosions were recorded 2-3 times per month during September-November 2014, and about seven times per month during December 2014-February 2015. The Alert Level remained Orange (second highest) throughout the reporting period, except on 24 September, when it was briefly raised to Red due to strong explosions at 1238 that generated a large ash plume (207 x 250 km) that rose 11-11.5 km (figure 38); the Alert Level was lowered back to Orange that same day as the explosive activity subsided.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Photo of strong explosion on Sheveluch on 24 September 2014 that generated ash plumes which rose to at least 11 km in altitude. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk, Institute Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

In addition to the above activity, KVERT recorded a small pyroclastic flow on 7 January 2015 that descended the SE flank of the dome. Ashfall was reported in Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) on 12 January and in in Ust-Kamchatsk (85 km SE) on 4 March.

According to a news article (CNN), strong explosions on 28 February 2015 blew ash plumes across the Bering Sea into western Alaska and caused Alaska Airlines to cancel several flights. The article also indicated that an airlines spokesman mentioned that a similar cancellation had occurred in January.

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: 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/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Cable News Network (CNN), Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (URL: http://www.cnn.com/).