The highest active volcano in Eurasia has been very active in recent months, spewing ash at least 7.5 kilometres into the sky, posing a hazard to passing aircraft. Last months its plume spread 734 kilometres west and northwest of the volcano.
The best grandstand view of Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest peak of the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia is here from the volcano’s Aphakhonchich observation station.
Photographer from Yekaterinburg Sergey Makurin decided to go on photo tour to capture one of the greatest volcanoes’ firepower.
‘We were going up the canyon, walking on a hot river that was as white as snow because of volcanic gases and ashes. The temperature on the surface was 40C or 50C, and just half an hour deeper down it was over 100C.
‘As soon as we got closer to the crater, the volcano showed its temper by throwing another cloud of ashes and gas. Luckily, it was a relatively small emission but we rushed back anyway. ‘Three days later volcanologists said that Shiveluch spewed ashes several kilometres high, so that a hot river covered everything around including the canyon that we were carelessly walking in.’
The team waited for a chance to get to Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano for several days and got lucky just as they reached Apakhonchich observation station.
‘It was a clear night and we could take photos of the glowing lava. No picture can express what you feel standing in front of the volcano of this size and might.’
The explosion made a hole of approximately 500 by 500 metres in the side of the volcano’s crater, causing lava to spurt from the eastern side, flowing down to an altitude of 2,500 metres. Volcanic bombs were ejected as high as 600 metres.
The 7,000 year old volcano is located 360 km to the north-west of the capital of Kamchatka region, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The nearest town, Klyuchi,some 30 km away, and home to about 5,000 people. Kamchatka peninsula has 29 active volcanoes.
Klyuchevskaya’s first recorded eruption was in 1697. It has been almost continuously active ever since, as have many of neighbouring volcanoes.
All Images © Sergey Makurin