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Kamchatka volcano eruption given top code of hazard to aviation

November 29, 2012, 9:54 UTC+3

Specialists warn that the volcano may at any moment start to discharge ash to an altitude of up to 10 km above sea level

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, November 29 (Itar-Tass) — An eruption of the Plosky (flat) Tolbachik volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula has been given the top "red" colour code of hazard to aviation, the Kamchatka-based group for response to volcanic eruptions (KVERT) of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced on Thursday.

Specialists warn that the volcano may at any moment start to discharge ash to an altitude of up to ten kilometres above sea level. The trails of gas and volcanic ash may pose a hazard to air flights along both local and international airways in the area of Kamchatka.

The volcano grew active on Tuesday night after a 36-year dormancy, ever since December 1976. According to the data of the Kamchatka branch of Russia's Geophysical Service, an increased seismic activity inside the volcano has been recorded. It is so great that, as eye-witnesses say, water in the rivers in the volcano's environs is lopping.

A crack developed on the southern slope of the volcano, with lava bursting out of it. The volcano periodically spews ash to an altitude of up to three kilometres above sea level. An ash fallout has been observed on the outskirts of Maisoye Township and Krasny Yar Settlement.

The volcano eruption rumble is spreading over to tens of kilometres around and is heard in Klyuchi, Kozyrevsk and Maiskoye townships at a distance of about 50-60 km from the volcano's base.

Specialists are closely watching the volcano. A group of experts are to make a helicopter flight over the volcano's slopes on later in the day to estimate the situation. The Plosky Tolbachik is within the view of a Kozyrevsk-based video obseravation camera which earlier monitored the volcano Bezymyanny (nameless).

Experts point out that the Plosky Tolbachik volcano is currently not hazardous to polulated areas.

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