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Plosky Tolbachik eruption may continue for 110 days-expert

December 19, 2012, 17:52 UTC+3

The eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano poses no danger to the local population

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, December 19 (Itar-Tass) — The eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano that began on Kamchatka on November 27, may continue for a period from one month to 110 days. “There are different views of scientists on this matter, but we will see the New Year in with still erupting volcano,” Deputy Director for Research of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Gennady Karpov told Itar-Tass.

He noted that the eruption of the giant mount continues. Its nature has somewhat changed, but there are still no signs that the activity of the volcano is declining. An active centre in the fissure that formed in the Tolbachik dale on the southern slope of the volcano continues to eject lava. If earlier the lava was quickly moving down the slope, increasing the flow length and destroying everything on its path, then now it has stopped.

The hot volcanic material comes to the surface only in the most active zone. Part of the lava has “gone underground” and part – is moving under the surface of a solidified stream, erupting in the weakest places. The so-called “tongues” of lava, which “like tentacles” are spreading in different directions, increasing the area of ·· the lava fields, have formed along the perimeter of the main stream. The maximum length of the lava flows from the eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano has now reached 18 kilometres. The total area of ··the lava fields is 14 square kilometres. The volume of the lava poured out by the volcano is estimated at 0.3 cubic kilometres and this volume will likely be growing.

Experts have also drawn the attention to a certain periodicity of eruptions of this volcano. The 1975 eruption was preceded by the Flat Tolbachik fissure eruption in 1941, which took place roughly in the same area. That is, the giant mount’s two most recent eruptions occurred at the intervals of 34 - 36 years.

The eruption of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano poses no danger to the local population, said Gennady Karpov. He drew attention to the fact that populated localities are situated very far from the volcano, as well as to the fact that the lava flows spread away from the nearest Kozyrevsk settlement, which is located about 40 kilometres from the foot of the giant mount.

Plosky Tolbachik awakened on November 27 after being dormant for 36 years from the moment of its great fissure eruption that was observed in 1975-1976. In Tolbachik dale, south of Plosky Tolbachik at an altitude of about 1.7 kilometres above sea level, a fissure zone with two active centres formed. The lava has been pouring from there. The lava flows have destroyed a station of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in the area of the Vodopadny creek, the Leningradskaya research base and a base of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka natural park. Trees were burning near the lava fields. The erupting volcano in Russia's Far East has become a sightseeing hotspot for crowds of thrill-seeking tourists eager to see flows of lava and clouds of ash.

The volcano eruption is under continuous monitoring of experts. 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.

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