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Plosky Tolbachik volcano seismic activity declines

December 03, 2012, 13:03 UTC+3

According to the expert, the current eruption of the volcano is similar to that which occurred in 1975–1976, but its intensity is lower

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, December 3 (Itar-Tass) — The seismic activity on the Plosky Tolbachik volcano that “awakened’ in Kamchatka on November 27 has declined, but the eruption continues, the Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) told Itar-Tass on Monday.

Head of the Kamchatka volcanic station of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the RAS Far East Department in the Klyuchi settlement (63 km from the volcano) Yuri Demyanchuk said that the giant mount is currently in thick cloud cover, but judging by the seismic data, the intensity of its eruption has declined, compared with the peak recorded on the night from November 28 to 29.

The scientist told Itar-Tass that there has been ash fall in Klyuchi on Monday from the eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano, but it was insignificant. If during the peak of activity the roar from the eruption was spreading over tens of kilometres and was heard more than 60 kilometres from its foot, then now the situation has changed dramatically. There is even no vibration of window glasses in houses that was earlier registered and ripples in the water bodies. “Perhaps the eruption is waning,” he added.

According to the expert, the current eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano is similar to that which occurred in 1975–1976, but its intensity is lower.

A fracture with the length of about 5 kilometres has formed on the southern slope of the giant mount (Tolbachik dale) roughly in the same area as 36 years ago, but at a higher level – about two thousand metres above sea level. There are two active centres in it (top and bottom), with gushing liquid lava. The lava that has flown down for about 10 kilometres has destroyed the base of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on the Vodopadny creek, as well as the Leningradskaya station of the institute. A base of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka natural park has also been wiped out in the same area.

According to recent reports, the work of the upper active centre of the fracture has stopped, and the lower centre “continues to work.” There is no threat to nearby settlements, however, people should abstain from hiking in the area of the eruption, Demyanchuk said.

Plosky Tolbachik awakened late on November 27. Before the current eruption it was dormant since December 1976. A powerful burst of seismic activity was recorded on the volcano. Glow and gushing lava were observed during the night over its summit caldera. The giant mount spewed ash that stretched in a plume for at least 65 kilometres to the northwest.

The Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical Service of RAS reported earlier that the fall of up to 4 cm of volcanic dust has been recorded around the Maiskoye and Krasny Yar settlements that are located at a distance of 50–65 kilometres from the volcano.

According to earlier reports from Maiskoye, there was no ash fall in the settlement. The local population calmly took the news about the beginning of the eruption. All the local enterprises and institutions are operating normally, the EMERCOM informed.

However, residents of Maiskoye were advised to tightly shut the doors and windows in their homes and not to come out into the street without urgent need. The recommendation is given in connection with the fact that volcanic ash, getting into the respiratory tract may cause allergic reactions, the ministry’s press service explained.

The height of Plosky Tolbachik is 3,085 metres above sea level. It is located in the south-western sector of the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes in the east of Kamchatka 63 kilometres from the Klyuchi settlement and 343 kilometres from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The volcano eruption is under continuous monitoring.

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