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Volcano warning for city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky amid ‘very likely’ eruption

By Olga Gertcyk
09 December 2019

City of 180,000 is just 26 km from ‘waking’ Avachinsky on Pacific’s ring of fire.

A red glow and smoke is seen exuding from the crater. Picture: Artyom Vinogradov

Avachinsky - also known as Avacha - and its big sister volcano Koryaksky tower over the Kamchatka capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, giving it one of the most spectacular city views anywhere in the world. 

Recent days have seen signs of activity on stratovolcano Avachinsky - 2,741 metres (8,993 ft) - prompting warnings to locals and tourists to stay away.

A red glow and smoke is seen exuding from the crater.

Avachinsky volcano


Avachinsky volcano


Avachinsky volcano

Recent days have seen signs of activity on stratovolcano Avachinsky - 2,741 metres (8,993 ft) - prompting warnings to locals and tourists to stay away. Pictures: Evgeny Karpov 

Vulcanarium website warned: ‘Today, December 9, early in the morning, the first outbreaks were recorded in the crater of the volcano.

‘Avacha has high gas contamination, you cannot get to the top.’

A group of volcanologists were prevented from climbing beyond a height of 2,100 m (6,890ft) by the gas.

Climbing the volcano, as well as being within a radius of 5 km from it, is not recommended.

‘We remind you that visiting the Avachi cone is currently dangerous,’ said the site.

Fumes


Fumes


Fumes


Fumes


Vulcanologists team

A group of volcanologists were prevented from climbing beyond a height of 2,100 m (6,890ft) by the gas. Pictures: Vulcanarium Kamchatka

The Kamchatka branch of the Russian Expert Council for Earthquake Prediction, Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment has already warned that the risk of an eruption has increased in the next month. 

This is based on data provided by the Kamchatka branch of the Unified Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB REC). 

On Friday, the regional department of the Ministry of Emergencies used these findings to issue its own warning. 

Valentin Yakovenko, an engineer with the service, said: ‘We restored a station that is very useful and needed right now.

The glow at the summit of the volcano is an observable sign of a possible eruption. Video: Artyom Vinogradov

‘I think now we will have more data about the upcoming eruption.

‘There is a strong gas contamination on the crater.’

The team needed to wear respirators and he said ‘we are waiting’ for an eruption. 

Danila Chebrov, chairman of KB REC, said: ‘A gradual increase in seismic energy released in the volcanic structure has been observed for about a month. 

‘The energy class of individual earthquakes exceeds 5. 

‘For this volcano, these are significant events.’

Avachinsky volcano


Vulcanologists climb to Avacha


Vulcanologists climb to Avacha


Vulcanologists clean the equipment

‘We restored a station that is very useful and needed right now.' Pictures; Valentin Yakovenko

The glow at the summit of the volcano is an observable sign of a possible eruption, he indicated. 

‘This is the output of hot gases, the temperature of which exceeds 800 degrees Celsius. 

‘In social networks there was a picture taken at night with a photosensitive camera. 

‘The photo clearly shows the glow. 

‘Many believe that this is lava in the crater, however, this is not so - it is the glowing gases that escape through the crack at the top. 

‘This is the output of hot gases, the temperature of which exceeds 800 degrees Celsius. Video: Valentin Yakovenko

‘This phenomenon was also recorded by our camera installed on the Avachinsky Pass.’ 

Forecasting of volcanic eruptions has improved in Kamchatka.

‘We cannot say that Avacha will certainly erupt in the next month, but such a scenario is now very likely - be careful,’ he warned. 

In recorded history Avachinsky has erupted at least 16 times - with the largest in relatively recent times in 1945.

There were smaller eruptions in 1991 and 2001.

Comments (2)

We have just had 16 tourists killed in a volcanic eruption on the White Island volcano. Its a popular tourist experience in this contry - which in this case has gone horribly wrong. Be careful -0 Be safe!
Peter May, New Zealand
23/12/2019 06:58
0
0
Great photos!
Stephen, United States
11/12/2019 04:35
5
0
1

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