Russia’s Kamchatka volcano eruption destroys science camps

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow: Lava flows from the slope of erupting volcano Plosky Tolbachik in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula have destroyed two nearby scientific camps, a local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said on Friday.

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The 3,085-meter Plosky Tolbachik, which is part of a volcanic complex located 343 km from the region’s capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, erupted Nov 27 for the first time in 36 years.

The two camps were located 10 km from the volcano.

The eruption has been already assigned a Red Code status as the volcano is throwing clouds of ash to the height of 3,000 meters with the potential for ash explosions up to 10 km.

Residents of nearby villages have been advised not to leave their homes as massive ash falls in the area are filled with toxic sulfur fumes.

The clouds of volcanic ash could also pose threat to air traffic because the tiny particles cause problems with aircraft engine turbines.

The Plosky Tolbachik erupted 10 times since records began in 1740, with the most notable eruption in 1975, commonly known as The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption. Soviet scientists successfully predicted the eruption because it was preceded by a series of earthquakes.

The 1975 eruption dramatically changed the local landscape and became an ecological disaster as the volume of lava and ashes emitted by the Plosky Tolbachik was the largest in recorded history of Kamchatka.

There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 30 of them active.