Logo link to homepage

Report on Chikurachki (Russia) — May 2023


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 48, no. 5 (May 2023)
Managing Editor: Benjamin Andrews. Edited by Kadie L. Bennis.

Chikurachki (Russia) New explosive eruption during late January-early February 2023

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Chikurachki (Russia) (Bennis, K.L., and Andrews, B., eds.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 48:5. Smithsonian Institution.



50.324°N, 155.461°E; summit elev. 1781 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Chikurachki, located on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, has had Plinian eruptions during the Holocene. Lava flows have reached the sea and formed capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows are also present on the E flank beneath a scoria deposit. Reported eruptions date back to 1690, with the most recent eruption period occurring during January through October 2022, characterized by occasional explosions, ash plumes, and thermal activity (BGVN 47:11). This report covers a new eruptive period during January through February 2023 that consisted of ash explosions and ash plumes, based on information from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

According to reports from KVERT, an explosive eruption began around 0630 on 29 January. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 3-3.5 km altitude and drifted 6-75 km SE and E, based on satellite data. As a result, the Aviation Color Code (ACC) was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). At 1406 and 1720 ash plumes were identified in satellite images that rose to 4.3 km altitude and extended 70 km E. By 2320 the ash plume had dissipated. A thermal anomaly was visible at the volcano on 31 January, according to a satellite image, and an ash plume was observed drifting 66 km NE.

Occasional explosions and ash plumes continued during early February. At 0850 on 1 February an ash plume rose to 3.5 km altitude and drifted 35 km NE. Satellite data showed an ash plume that rose to 3.2-3.5 km altitude and drifted 50 km NE at 1222 later that day (figure 22). A thermal anomaly was detected over the volcano during 5-6 February and ash plumes drifted as far as 125 km SE, E, and NE. Explosive events were reported at 0330 on 6 February that produced ash plumes rising to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifting 72-90 km N, NE, and ENE. KVERT noted that the last gas-and steam plume that contained some ash was observed on 8 February and drifted 55 km NE before the explosive eruption ended. The ACC was lowered to Yellow and then Green (the lowest level on a four-color scale) on 18 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Satellite image showing a true color view of a strong ash plume rising above Chikurachki on 1 February 2023. The plume drifted NE and ash deposits (dark brown-to-gray) are visible on the NE flank due to explosive activity. Courtesy of Copernicus Browser.

Geological Summary. Chikurachki, the highest volcano on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, is a relatively small cone constructed on a high Pleistocene edifice. Oxidized basaltic-to-andesitic scoria deposits covering the upper part of the young cone give it a distinctive red color. Frequent basaltic Plinian eruptions have occurred during the Holocene. Lava flows have reached the sea and formed capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows are also present on the E flank beneath a scoria deposit. The Tatarinov group of six volcanic centers is located immediately to the south, and the Lomonosov cinder cone group, the source of an early Holocene lava flow that reached the saddle between it and Fuss Peak to the west, lies at the southern end of the N-S-trending Chikurachki-Tatarinov complex. In contrast to the frequently active Chikurachki, the Tatarinov centers are extensively modified by erosion and have a more complex structure. Tephrochronology gives evidence of an eruption around 1690 CE from Tatarinov, although its southern cone contains a sulfur-encrusted crater with fumaroles that were active along the margin of a crater lake until 1959.

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/); Copernicus Browser, Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem, European Space Agency (URL: https://dataspace.copernicus.eu/browser/).