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18 July 2024

Russian volcano spews ash across Kamchatka Peninsula


Russia's Shiveluch volcano erupted on Tuesday, spewing a cloud of ash across a vast swath of the Kamchatka Peninsula and potentially posing a risk to flights, according to local volcanology authorities.

The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), which monitors eruptions in the region, issued an aviation code red after the eruption, reporting that the ash cloud had drifted hundreds of kilometres to the north and southwest of Shiveluch.

"An extrusive eruption of the volcano continues. Ash explosions up to 15 km (49,200 ft) a.s.l. (above sea level) could occur at any time. Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft," the KVERT notice said.

A video of the eruption posted to Telegram by the head of the local Ust-Kamchatsky administration, Oleg Bondarenko, showed a wall of dense grey ash billowing from one end of the horizon to the other.

In a separate post, Bondarenko said locals were "advised to stay at home, do not leave the premises unnecessarily".

According to KVERT, Shiveluch is 60,000 to 70,000 years old, and is one of the largest volcanoes in Kamchatka.

The Kamchatka Peninsula is sparsely populated, with the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program estimating that fewer than 12,000 people live within a 100 km radius of Shiveluch.