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Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — April 2017


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 42, no. 4 (April 2017)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke. Research and preparation by Paul Berger.

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Mixed explosive and effusive eruption ongoing from August 2015 through March 2017

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Klyuchevskoy (Russia) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 42:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN201704-300260



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Klyuchevskoy has been quite active for many decades, with eruptive periods alternating with less active times (BGVN 35:06, 38:07, and 39:10). Recent eruptions took place during August-December 2013, with another period of activity beginning in January 2015 and continuing at least into March 2015 (BGVN 39:10). MODVOLC thermal alert pixels, based on MODIS satellite data, were frequent starting on 3 January but had stopped after 26 February 2015. Moderate activity continued until 10 May 2015, when the eruption that began in January ended. Eruptive activity was again observed in late August 2015, and fluctuating activity has continued through March 2017. The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) is responsible for monitoring this volcano, and is the primary source of information. Times are in UTC (local time is UTC + 12 hours).

Activity during April-July 2015. KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Green, the lowest of four levels, on 6 April 2015, although moderate gas-and-steam activity continued. On 13 April, gas-and-steam emissions increased at 0840, and continued at least through 1215 on 14 April, with incandescence at the summit possibly indicative of renewed Strombolian activity. KVERT raised the ACC from Green to Yellow. Strong gas-and-steam activity continued through the rest of April; the plumes sometimes contained small amounts of ash. Satellite data showed a weak thermal anomaly when not obscured by clouds, and incandescence at the summit was occasionally observed. On 18 April, KVERT reported that Strombolian activity was continuing, and that a webcam had recorded a narrow ash plume rising 1-2 km and drifting 100 km SE; the ACC was raised to Orange. Satellite images showed a weak thermal anomaly during 16-17 and 23 April; a gas plume containing a small amount of ash drifted 147 km E on 21 April. On 26 April the ACC was lowered to Yellow; KVERT noted that gas-and-steam activity and tremor continued.

Satellite data showed ash-bearing plumes during 2-5 May that drifted more than 450 km SE, and moderate activity continued through 9 May. The ACC was briefly raised to Orange before again being set at Yellow on 12 May. Moderate activity prevailed though the rest of the month. Satellite data showed occasional gas-and-steam plumes, sometimes containing small amounts of ash; weak thermal anomalies were often observed over the volcano when clouds did not obscure viewing.

On 22 May, KVERT described activity as weak. This remained the case through 27 August 2015. Gas-and-steam emissions continued, and satellite data often showed a thermal anomaly when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. Gas-steam plumes drifted 20 km SE on 26-27 May. On 20 July, the ACC was lowered to Green.

Activity during August 2015-March 2016. On 27 August, KVERT reported that a moderate Strombolian explosion had occurred, which continued into 28 August. At 1544 UTC on 27 August, incandescence of the crater was observed. The ACC was raised to Yellow.

Thereafter, through 17 September 2015, KVERT described activity as moderate, with moderate gas-steam activity. Strombolian explosions occurred on 27-28 August and 8-10 September. Satellite data showed occasional weak thermal anomalies when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. On 13-14 September, a diffuse ash plume rose to about 1.5 km and drifted E.

During 24 September-30 November 2015, KVERT described the activity as a "weak explosive eruption." According to video data, moderate gas-and-steam activity continued and a weak thermal anomaly was sometimes observed when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. Occasionally, incandescence of the summit volcanic crater was noted.

KVERT again described activity as moderate during December 2015-March 2016, with strong gas-steam emissions, although the volcano was usually either quiet or obscured by clouds. KVERT reported thermal anomalies each month, ranging from two during December 2015 to 12 during both January and February 2016. Video often recorded incandescence at the summit during the latter part of December.

Activity during April 2016-November 2016. On 3 April 2016, activity increased with Strombolian explosions. Detection of very frequent thermal anomalies by the MODVOLC system began again on 8 April and continued being reported almost daily through 2 November 2016. Thermal data identified by the MIROVA system showed strong anomalies over the same time period (figure 18). The MIROVA data also indicated a steady increase in radiative power beginning in the second half of May 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Plots of MODIS thermal data detected at Klyuchevskoy during the year ending on 23 March 2017. The data analyzed by the MIROVA system is presented as radiative power (top) and log radiative power (bottom). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strong gas-steam emissions continued, and plumes extended to about 100 km SE on 10 April and about 55 km NE on 14-15 April. Satellite data by KVERT through June showed persistent intense thermal anomalies when not obscured by clouds. On 24 April, activity increased again. According to video and satellite data, a lava flow began to effuse on the S and SE flank of the volcano (along Apakhonchich chute). An ash plume drifted about 500 km SW on 23-24 April. The ACC was raised to Orange.

The explosive-effusive eruption continued from May through September 2016. Lava continued to effuse along the SE flank. Satellite data showed an ash plume extending 88 km SE on 2 May, up to 80 km E and SE on 13 May and 16 May, 47 km W on 13 June, about 30 km E on 18 June, and 60 km W and E on 27-28 June. Gas-steam plumes drifted about 60 km W and E on 27 and 28 June. On 24 June, at 2115 and 2350 UTC, video data showed two rock collapses into the Apakhonchich chute and ash plumes drifted W, then NW. According to video and satellite data, Strombolian activity of the summit crater continued on 24 June.

According to video data, the eruption intensified on 6 July. Strong explosions sent ash to an altitude of 7.5 km and the plumes drifted about 350 km SW, S, and SE. A large bright thermal anomaly was observed all that week. On 6-7 July, dense ash plumes drifted about 400 km SE and E, and numerous ash plumes were observed thereafter through September. Bursts of volcanic bombs shot up to 200-300 m above the summit crater and up to 50 m above the cinder cone into the Apakhonchich chute along the SE flank. Lava continued to flow on the SE flank along the chute (figure 19). Strong gas-steam activity within two volcanic centers emitted various amounts of ash. On 10, 13 and 15 September, explosions shot ash up to an altitude of 7 km and ash plumes extended for about 50 km SE and NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photo of Klyuchevskoy on 25 August 2016 with ash-containing emissions and lava streaming from the cone into the Apakhonchich chute. Courtesy of Denis Bud'kov/Bernard Duick.

During the second week of September, KVERT reported that lava began to effuse on the E and SW flanks. Explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 7.5 km and ash plumes extended for about 530 km in various directions. Small ash layers were observed over Koryaksky and Avachinsky volcanoes on 8 September. On 10, 13, 15, and 20-22 September, explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 6-7 km and ash plumes extended for up to 165 km in various directions. In their 29 September and 6 October reports, KVERT noted that bursts of volcanic ash that rose above the summit crater and cinder cone fell into Apakhonchich chute.

Explosions during the first week of October sent ash to an altitude of 5-6 km and plumes extended about 260 km E. On 7-8 October, gas-steam plumes containing ash drifted about 390 km E and SE. By 13 October, activity had apparently diminished, with moderate gas-steam emissions containing some ash. A weak thermal anomaly was noted on 7 and 12 October.

By 20 October the explosive-effusive activity had returned with a lava flow on the E flank, a large strong thermal anomaly, and strong gas-steam emissions containing various amounts of ash. Explosions sent ash to 5-6 km altitude and plumes extended for about 300 km E, SE, and NW on 14 and 18-19 October. On 20-21 and 23-27 October explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 5-7 km; gas-steam plumes containing ash extended for about 335 km in various directions. On 30-31 October and 1-3 November, explosions sent ash up to an altitude of 5-8 km and gas-steam plumes containing ash extended for about 277 km E and SE. Strong thermal anomalies detected from satellite by the MODIS instrument decreased significantly in strength after 2 November.

On 3-5 November, ash plumes extended up to 116 km E. KVERT's report on 10 November noted that activity had decreased significantly during the previous week. Lava effusion onto the flanks was last noted on 3 November; the next day the thermal anomaly was weaker. Ash plumes were last detected in satellite images during 3-4 November. The ACC was lowered to Yellow on 7 November. However, moderate activity continued and thermal anomalies and Strombolian activity could still be observed. Strong gas-and-steam emissions continued. On 16 November, an ash plume extended up to 85 km NW. KVERT reported a daily thermal anomaly visible in satellite images during 18-25 November.

Activity during December 2016-March 2017. Thermal anomaly data after early November 2016 was not sufficient to cause alerts on MODVOLC, and was seen to be very weak and fluctuating in MIROVA plots before ending completely in mid-February 2017 (see figure 19). On 26 December KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly had been detected and that gas-and-steam plumes sometimes contained small amounts of ash. Over the next few months the ACC was frequently changed between Yellwo and Orange, depending on the ash plume hazard to aviation.

Explosions on 1 January 2017 generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 5 km and drifted 114 km SE, resulting in KVERT raising the ACC to Orange. Daily satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano during 2-6 January. Gas-and-steam emissions sometimes with minor ash, along with thermal anomalies, continued through 20 January. During 9-10 January ash plumes drifted 160 km ESE, and on 22 January an ash plume rose to 5-5.5 km and drifted 45 km E.

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite data during 25 February and 1-3, 5, and 8-9 March. At 1340 on 2 March a gas, steam, and ash plume recorded by the webcam rose to altitudes of 8-9 km and drifted 110 km NE and NW. Explosions on 8 March produced ash plumes that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted about 20 km NW. As of 24 March gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise from the crater, and a weak thermal anomaly was sometimes identified in satellite images, but no explosions had been detected since 8 March. On 24 March the ACC was lowered to Green.

A gas, steam, and ash plume identified in satellite data on 28 March rose to altitudes of 5-6 km and drifted 108 km ENE, resulting in the ACC being raised to Yellow. Another ash plume the next day that rose to as high as 7.5 km altitude and drifted 75 km SW prompted an Orange ACC status. Additional explosions during 27-30 March generated ash plumes to an altitude of 7 km that drifted 300 km in multiple directions.

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: 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/); 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).