Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023
Eurasia’s Tallest Volcano Erupts, Sending Ash Cloud Miles into the Sky

Eurasia’s tallest volcano, Klyuchevskoy, located in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, has recently experienced a violent eruption. NASA satellite images have captured the eruption, showing a massive cloud of dust and ash stretching over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) into the air.

Klyuchevskoy, also known as Klyuchevskaya Sopka, is an active stratovolcano and stands at an elevation of 15,584 feet (4,750 meters) above sea level, making it the tallest volcano in Asia and Europe. The volcano has been erupting continuously since mid-June, but on November 1, a massive explosion released a plume of smoke and ash that reached a height of 7.5 miles (12 km) above the Earth’s surface.

The eruption prompted the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) to raise the aviation alert level to red, causing grounded planes in the area. Additionally, schools were evacuated due to increased air pollution.

Satellite images, including a false-color image captured by the Landsat 8 satellite and a true-color image captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite, show the magnitude of the eruption. The smoke and ash plume was estimated to be around 1,000 miles long, but it may have stretched up to 1,400 miles (2,255 km), according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.

It appears that the eruption has now ended, with Klyuchevskoy no longer erupting, according to KVERT. The Kamchatka Peninsula is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a tectonic belt that encircles the Pacific Ocean and is home to many active volcanoes.

While the eruption of Klyuchevskoy was significant, it does not compare to some of the largest eruption plumes in history. The tallest eruption plume recorded was from an underwater volcano near Tonga in January 2022, which rose to an astonishing height of 35.4 miles (57 km) above sea level.

Klyuchevskoy’s eruption plume is not expected to have a significant impact on the ozone layer, unlike the Tonga eruption which released a record amount of water vapor into the stratosphere and caused a large ozone hole above Antarctica.