I am pretty excited this week. Next week I am flying back to Kamchatka (Russia) for field work. I get to join a team of Russian scientists to look at deposits on Tolbachik volcano which produced a beautiful flank fissure eruption over 9 months, starting November 2012.
|Tolbachik erupting on 22 December, 2012. Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.|
Yes. Yes there are. And they are amazing!
So first off, Kamchatka is the eastern-most peninsula off Russia which sits on top of a subduction zone. Here the Pacific plate moves westward underneath Kamchatka - hence all the volcanic activity.
Here, the Map of Active Volcanoes in Kamchatka and Northern Kuriles shows the current activity levels using the aviation color codes.
|Map of active volcanoes of Kamchatka and Northern Kuriles. Note the subduction zone to the east shown by the Kurile-Kamchatka trench. Courtesy of the KVERT website, link given above.|
Here is a screenshot of the KVERT Current Activity of the Volcanoes page showing a good selection of 36 of their volcanoes.
|36 of Kamchatka's volcanoes. Date corresponds to last updated image.|
|NASA Earth Observatory MODIS satellite image of Karymsky, Bezymianny, Klyuchevskoy, and Shiveluch volcanoes on 2nd April, 2010.|
Here are a few of the more famous active (or recently active) volcanoes.
If I was going to pick a personal favorite I would have to go with Shiveluch, the northernmost active volcano. Shiveluch produces regular ash plumes and large pyroclastic flows from the active dome that deposit on top of the 1964 debris avalanche deposit - think of the Mount Saint Helens collapse without the lateral blast. Shiveluch is currently undergoing explosive/extrusive dome building activity and is on Orange Alert.
|Eruption of Shiveluch on 24th February, 2015. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk.|
Sitting just south of Shiveluch is the Klyuchevskaya group. Klyuchevskoy is one of the Kamchatkan superstar volcanoes, producing long, narrow lava flows and frequent ash emission. Klyuchevskoy is currently on Yellow Alert with gas/steam emissions.
|Bezymianny, Kamen, and Klyuchevskoy volcanoes on 15th February 2015. Photo courtesy of volkstat.ru.|
|Klyuchevskoy volcano on 1st January, 2015. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk.|
|Eruption of Bezymianny on 1st September, 2012. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk.|
Kizimen is compared a lot to the pre-1980 Mount Saint Helens, with the beautiful classic volcano shape. Kizimen was active from 2010 to 2013 with ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows. Kizimen is currently on Green Alert.
|Kizimen volcano steaming on 9th February, 2013. Photo by Alexander, Bichenko.|
|Karymsky volcano, note the thick lava flows.|
Any trip in Kamchatka begins in Petropavlovsk, the city of Kamchatka, which has beautiful views of Avachinsky and Gorely volcanoes - both on Green Alert (which I hope to see without cloud cover next week!)
The helicopter trip to the field site - well back from the field site since the way there was complete cloud cover - took us past volcano after big, beautiful volcano.
Zhupanovsky was lightly puffing away. Zhupanovsky is currently on Orange Alert with moderate activity continuing, and ash explosions possible at any time.
|Plume from Zhupanovsky volcano.|
|Closer view of Zhupanovsky volcano.|
|Avachinsky (left) and Koryaksky (right).|