Kamchatka – volcanic eruption causes flow of tourists | Polarjournal
The Kljutschewskoi volcano is the highest active volcano in Eurasia at 4,750 meters and also one of the most active in the area. (Photo: Artem Gromov, Boris Smirnov, Alexey Kulayev)

The eruption of the Kljutschewskoi volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula began at the end of last year. After an interruption of activity in the main cone, a new eruption occurred on February 8, 2021 in a side cone at 2,850 metres. Authorities in Kiyuchi, 30 kilometers away, are warning adventure tourists not to visit the volcano. The Klyuchevskoy volcano measuring 4’0750 meters is the highest active volcano of both Europe and Asia. It is about 8’000 years old and belongs to the pacific ring of fire.

The flow of tourists is almost unstoppable. Daredevils can even reach the crater rim. (Photo: Andrey Andreev)

On March 6, the first ‘adventurers’ reached the side cone and reported on their ‘excursion’ with photos and videos. Since then the stream of visitors can hardly be stopped and almost gets out of control. However, leaflets and warning signs at the important access points could not stop the flow of tourists.

The trend alerts Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies as tourists put their lives in danger.

“As more and more photos of tourists in front of the erupting volcano appear on social media, even more adventurers will be encouraged to come over,” the region’s emergency ministry warned.

Very close to the action! (Photo: Maxim Fesyunov)

“It took us eight to nine hours to reach the eruption site,” Boris Smirnov said. “We set up our tent on the Erman Glacier. The whole time we were there it was very cold. The thermometer showed minus 47 degrees in the morning.” They filmed the eruption of the new cone on March 7 and 8 from a remarkably short distance.

They tried to take pictures with a drone, but it was too cold and the batteries failed after only two minutes. In addition, a ‘volcanic bomb’ had almost hit the drone.

“Of course, this is a breathtaking sight. Flowing lava that glows at night, hot rocks flying out of the volcano cone, bursts of steam, something constantly moving on the cone,” he said.

Spectacular footage records the formation of a new second cone on the highest active volcano in Eurasia.   (Video:   Artem Gromov, Boris Smirnov, Alexey Kulayev)

The authorities again remind that a volcanic eruption is an extremely dangerous phenomenon for humans. “The danger not only comes from the lava flow itself, but also from steam explosions that can occur when hot magma comes into contact with snow and ice. In this case, steam gas emissions with ash are possible, as well as emissions of large lava fragments. However, it is impossible to predict the location of such an explosion,” warn the safety experts.

The Kljutschewskoi volcano is located on the Kamchatka peninsula in the very east of Russia. (Graphic: Heiner Kubny)

It is feared that lava flowing under the Erman Glacier may cause cracks to appear at depth, causing the frozen structure to “collapse”.

The ministry said, “Mud flows created by the melting of the glacier and snowfields are extremely dangerous for people in the region. The creeks pose an extreme risk to snowmobiles: They can get into fast-moving unstable ice layers and collapse.”

Toxic gas emissions also pose a risk of illness or death.

“Flights over the volcano in small aircraft are also extremely dangerous,” officials warned. All travel agencies in the region have been warned not to bring tourists near the area, and residents have been told to “be careful and do not come near the erupting volcano

Very close to the action – the glowing rocks literally fly around your ears. (Photo: Andrey Andreev)

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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