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Eruption of the Karymsky volcano in Kamchatka, Russia

Eruption of the Karymsky volcano in Kamchatka, Russia

Eruption of the Karymsky volcano in Kamchatka, Russia.

Just off Kamchatka Peninsula, which curves down from the Russian mainland, the Pacific Plate plunges under the North American Plate, giving rise to dozens of active volcanoes. Jonathan Lees, an associate professor of geological sciences, has been studying the area and its surrounding volcanoes for years, setting up an array of seismic instruments on Kamchatka.

A large earthquake triggered the initial eruption of the Karymsky volcano on Jan. 1, 1996. After the initial eruption, Karymsky started a three-year period of intermittent explosive activity. Small explosions were observed every five to 15 minutes, with varying lava flows and considerable harmonic tremor. In the distance, Karyasky and Avachinsky volcanoes can be seen to the south. The city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky lies behind these very active volcanoes.

This work was supported by National Science Foundation grants EAR 96-14639, "Side Edge of Kamchatka Slab" [6/1/97-7/31/00], and EAR 94-18990, "Supplement to: Collaborative Research: RUI--Paleogene Collision and Obduction of the far-traveled Olyutorsky Island Arc, Northern Kamchatka, Russian Far East" [7/1/96-6/30/07]. [Image 1 of 2 related images. See Image 2.]

Credit: Photo by Jonathan M. Lees

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