Featured Volcano: Sheveluch

Today’s featured volcano is one of Kamchatka’s largest and most active volcanic centers.  It has been active recently, throwing out ash and oozing out some lava.  This volcano is a favorite for geologists and archaeological types in Kamchatka- its frequent, widespread ashfalls create nice time markers.

Sheveluch Volcano

(Also Shiveluch or in Russian: Шивелуч)

Ash plume from Sheveluch volcano on September 03, 2011.

Ash plume from Sheveluch volcano on September 03, 2011. Photo by Yuri Demyanchuk.

Sheveluch at a Glance:

Located: Central Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano (both ash and lava eruptions)
Summit Elevation: 3283 m (10, 771 feet) 
Last Known Eruption: 2011 (continuing since 1999)

Most Recent Activity (Week of November 4-11, 2011):  Moderate seismic activity was detected at Shiveluch during 4-11 November, and indicated that possible ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. Ground-based observers noted that a viscous lava flow continued to effuse in the crater formed during a 2010 eruption. Strong fumarolic activity at the lava dome was observed during 2-3 and 5-9 November; cloud cover prevented observations on the other days. Satellite imagery showed a daily thermal anomaly over the lava dome and gas-and-steam plumes containing small amounts of ash that drifted 25 km E on 5 November.

What’s it doing right now? WEBCAM

Lots of lovely photos of Shiveluch

Historic large plinian eruptions:

1964  Eruption included a large-scale slope failure, small phreatic explosion and a powerful plinian eruption resulting in pyroclastic fall and flows accompanied by mudflows (lahars).  A 1.5 x 3 km explosion crater was formed during this eruption.

1854 Large eruption with explosivity index of 5

Geologic History: Shiveluch is a massif – a complex pile of overlapping stratocones, domes, lava fields and craters.  It has a history of large flank failures.  Recent Shiveluch activity includes the two large plinian eruptions above, and more than 10 moderate dome-associated events, which produced minor pyroclastic flows and ashfalls. The last eruption of this kind in May 2001 caused 30-km long lahars. Due to its frequent and large explosive eruptions, Shiveluch poses a hazard not only to the nearby towns of Kliuchi and Ust’-Kamchatsk, but also for aviation pathways between the USA and all of the Far East.

Info from KVERT and the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Network.


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