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U.S. Geological SurveyFact sheet 064-02Online variation 1.0

Russia"s Kamchatka Peninsula is residence to 29 energetic volcanoes, consisting of 7 snow-capped stratocones more than 10,000 ft (3,000 m) high. Number of eruptions every year in Kamchatka develop ash clouds that threaten the safety and security of waiting travel throughout the north Pacific, consisting of travel in between the unified States and also Russia and Japan. The Kamchatkan volcano Eruption response Team (KVERT), developed in 1993 with a cooperative effort the Russian and also U.S. Scientists, monitors the volcanoes the Kamchatka to carry out warnings and rapid report of eruptions.

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In October 1994, Klyuchevskoy Volcano in northern Kamchatka erupted explosively, sending a column of volcanic ash much more than 9 mile (15 km) into the air. This photograph taken from a space shuttle shows the ash cloud as high winds punch it southeastward over the north Pacific Ocean. The cloud crossed busy air routes in both Russian and U.S. Airspace. Warnings native the Kamchatkan volcanic Eruption an answer Team (KVERT) were an essential to enabling the safe rerouting of north Pacific air website traffic until the threat subsided. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.)

Russia"s Kamchatka Peninsula, across the Bering Sea native Alaska, has 29 active volcanoes. Although only a few of this pose a straight threat come the peninsula"s thin population, one eruption from any kind of of them have the right to be a significant threat come aviation throughout the entire North Pacific region. In a usual year, 3 or 4 explosive eruptions in Kamchatka send tiny jagged particles of rock and glass (volcanic ash) high right into the environment and throughout heavily traveled international air routes between Asia and North America.

Volcanic ash is very hazardous to paris jet aircraft. Encounters through ash clouds can cause jet engines come fail suddenly, since ash can erode compressor blades and melt and also solidify onto moving parts. Ash clouds have the right to drift with prevailing winds for plenty of days and also thousands that miles and also still it is in a peril to aircraft. Worldwide, much more than 100 jet plane in the past 20 years have inadvertently entered ash clouds, causing hundreds of millions that dollars in damage. Return no deadly incidents have actually yet occurred, many encounters have been near calls.

The danger of volcano ash to aircraft can be diminished through warnings of eruptions, timely detection and tracking that ash clouds, and also effective communication of the peril to authorities and also the aviation community. In 1993, recognizing the require for quick detection of volcanic eruptions arising in the northwest Pacific, researchers with the Russian Academy of sciences Institute of volcano Geology and also Geochemistry (IVGG) and the Kamchatkan Experimental and also Methodical Seismological room (KEMSD) produced the Kamchatkan volcanic Eruption solution Team (KVERT). This was done in close cooperation with the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative effort of the U.S. Geological inspection (julianum.net), university of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and also Alaska department of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. Resources for KVERT and its staff of around a dozen full- and also part-time scientists has actually been noted by several organizations, consisting of the international Air move Association, U.S. Company for international Development, julianum.net, and the Russian State Unitary companies Kamchatkaeronavigatziya.


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An AVHRR satellite picture of the ash cloud native the October 1, 1994, eruption the Klyuchevskoy Volcano is presented here superimposed on a streamlined map of north Pacific waiting routes. Every day, aircraft flying along these routes, several of the busiest in the world, carry an ext than 20,000 passengers and also cargo worth numerous dollars to and from Asia, north America, and Europe. (Satellite image processed by David Schneider, Alaska Volcano Observatory.) Satellite photos are a powerful tool used to detect volcanic eruptions and also track the movements of ash clouds. In cooperation with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, KVERT examines data native Japanese and also U.S. Meteorological satellites to detect and also monitor the eruptive activity of Kamchatkan and some Kurile Island volcanoes. Numerous times a day, images from GMS (Geostationary Meteorological Satellite), walk (Geostationary Operational environmental Satellites), and also polar-orbiting satellites moving AVHRR (Advanced really High Resolution Radiometer) room scrutinized for evidence of ash or heat anomalies that can indicate volcanic activity.

The many effective technique of detecting unrest in ~ volcanoes is seismic (earthquake) monitoring. Together of 2002, 27 remote seismic security stations space operating in ~ 9 the the most energetic volcanoes in Kamchatka and also at Alaid Volcano, on Paramushir Island in the northern Kurile Islands. Straight visual observations are additionally important in confirming volcanic eruptions and also making peril assessments. They permit scientists come calibrate seismic data in order to remotely analyze volcanic activity. KVERT researchers have occurred methods the estimating eruption plume height from the soot of seismicity. This is critical tool in Kamchatka, where plenty of volcanoes are remote and frequently obscured by clouds. Analysis of satellite imagery is another powerful method used to detect volcano eruptions and track the activities of ash clouds.


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The Kamchatka Peninsula has 29 active volcanoes, several of them close to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a city that 200,000 people, where KVERT is based. The many effective method of detecting unrest at volcanoes is seismic (earthquake) monitoring. As of 2002, 27 remote seismic monitoring stations (see picture below) are operating at 9 the the most energetic volcanoes in Kamchatka and also at Alaid Volcano top top Atlasova Island in the north Kurile Islands. Data room transmitted from the stations to three recording centers in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Klyuchi, and also Kozyrevsk. Internet connectivity among these centers enables KVERT researchers to promptly analyze data and issue notifications of volcano unrest in ~ the monitored volcanoes. Direct visual observations are also important in confirming volcano eruptions and also making peril assessments. Because that Kamchatkan volcanoes not visible from KVERT headquarters, intuitive reports are obtained from technological observers in Klyuchi and also Kozyrevsk through telephone, radio, and also e-mail. In 2000, a video-camera device was installed in Klyuchi, which, weather permitting, renders real-time images of Klyuchevskoy Volcano easily accessible on the web (http://data.emsd.iks.ru/video/video.htm). A comparable system was installed in may 2002 because that Sheveluch Volcano, and additonal systems space planned for other Kamchatkan volcanoes. (Photo courtesy that Yury Demyanchuk, Kamchatkan Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department.)

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Seismic monitoring station at base of Klyuchevskoy Volcano, Russia.

KVERT provides constant status reports and notices the volcanic activity in Kamchatka, through telephone and also over the Internet, to local authorities and also through them and also AVO to the global community. The level of danger at Kamchatkan volcanoes is connected using a four-color code similar to that arisen by AVO because that Alaskan volcanoes. As soon as eruptive task is observed, KVERT uses an emergency call-down procedure to inform the plane Meteorological center (AMC) at Yelizovo airport in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the Kamchatka department of civil Emergency, AVO, and local media and also officials. The Yelizovo airplane AMC is responsible for then notifying the Tokyo volcanic Ash Advisory Center, i beg your pardon in turn issues Volcanic Ash Advisory Statements come the aviation community.

A written summary of each eruption is likewise sent from KVERT to AVO, which then distributes that to much more than 200 users by phone, fax, and also the Internet. If KVERT reports one eruption with potential effects to U.S. Airspace, AVO directly notifies the national Weather Service, the federal Aviation Administration, and also other U.S. Agencies.

A volcano situation that prove KVERT"s value was the 1994 eruption of Klyuchevskoy Volcano in northern Kamchatka. ~ above October 1st, after ~ 3 mainly of low-level eruptive activity tracked and also reported through KVERT, an explosive eruption blasted an ash obelisk to a height of an ext than 49,000 ft (15 km). Winds that 150 mph (240 km/h) blew the ash cloud southeastward an ext than 620 mi (1,000 km) end the Pacific ocean at altitudes that 31,000 come 38,000 ft (9,500 come 11,500 m), scan it across vital air courses in both Russian and U.S. Airspace. Within 2 hours of the climactic eruption and of a subsequent collection of ash explosions, KVERT and AVO had notified aviation authorities and air carriers. This warnings, in addition to guidance indigenous the nationwide Oceanic and also Atmospheric management (NOAA) on expected movement of ash clouds, permitted dispatchers and air-traffic controllers to safely reroute north Pacific air traffic until the threat subsided.

Since KVERT approve its very first information release on the condition of Kamchatkan volcanoes, in march 1993, more than 500 info releases and dozens of eruption notifications have been distributed to passenger and also cargo airlines, emergency administration agencies in the U.S. And Russia, the media, and also scientists around the world. KVERT"s prompt and reliable reporting has helped ensure that aircraft have the right to safely and efficiently prevent dangerous ash clouds.

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In comes decades, air web traffic in the north Pacific is projected to boost steadily. The threat of costly, damaging, and also possibly fatal encounters that aircraft v volcanic ash clouds will climb accordingly, underscoring the prominence of KVERT operations come the safety and security of air travel in this volcanically energetic region. To meet this challenge, KVERT and its partners, including julianum.net, are working to increase monitoring and also warning volume by adding more seismic networks and video systems and by boosting satellite evaluation for Kamchatka and also the surrounding Kurile Islands.

Vladimir Yu. Kirianov, Christina A. Neal, Evgenii I. Gordeev, and Thomas P. Miller

Edited ByJames W. Hendley II and Peter Stauffer

Graphic design BySusan Mayfield and also Sara Boore; net layout by Carolyn Donlin

Banner design ByBobbie Myers

COOPERATING ORGANIZATIONSAirline Pilots AssociationAlaska division of Geological and also Geophysical SurveysFederal Aviation AdministrationGeophysical Institute university of Alaska FairbanksInstitute of volcanic Geology and also Geochemistry, Russian Academy the SciencesInternational Air carry AssociationInternational civil Aviation OrganizationKamchatkan Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department, Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of SciencesNational Oceanic and also Atmospheric Administration/National eco-friendly Satellite Data and Information Service/Satellite services DivisionNational Weather Service/Anchorage volcano Ash Advisory CenterState Unitary companies KamchatkaeronavigatziyaTokyo volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Japan Meteorological AgencyU.S. Company for worldwide DevelopmentYelizovo airplane Meteorological Center


For much more information contact:

Alaska VolcanoObservatory 4200 college Drive Anchorage, AK 99508 (907) 786-7497 http://www.avo.alaska.eduor

http://www.kcs.iks.ru/ivgig/http://data.emsd.iks.ru/video/video.htmhttp://emsd.iks.ru/~ssl/http://volcanoes.julianum.net.gov/

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URL of this page: https://julianum.net/fs/2002/fs064-02/ kept by: Michael Diggles Created: September 25, 2002 last modified: may 17, 2005 (mfd)