Ash clouds from the Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula (the Russian Far East) stretch for more than 300 kilometers and have already reached the Bering Island (Commander Islands in the Pacific Ocean), Alexei Ozerov, a senior scientist at the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
According to him, the ash could is clearly seen in a picture taken from space. Ash continues to rain down in Ust-Kamchatsk, the regional center.
The same photographs show a mudflow, consisting of pumice fragments (up to one meter in diameter), soil and melted snow. The flow is 20 kilometers long and five kilometers wide has come from the volcano toward a local road.
The seismic stations have registered strong volcanic tremors and a series of surface earthquakes in the area of the active dome. Frequent thermal ejections from the crater reach heights of up to 1,500 meters.
After a quiet period, the volcanic activity of the Shiveluch volcano (3,283 meters high), the northernmost active volcano in Kamchatka, began to increase in January 2004. However, such strong activity has not been registered until now.
Visits to the volcano and the surrounding area have been completely banned.
Experts said that the peak of the volcano's activity has passed, but the increased activity may resume in one or two weeks.
However, the volcano is not dangerous for the inhabited areas of Kamchatka, the closest of which is the town of Klyuchi. The town is located 50 kilometers from Shiveluch.