On 27 November 2012 at 1715 local time, a focused swarm of earthquakes was interpreted as the start of a new ongoing eruption on the south flank (Tolbachinsky Dol) of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in east central Kamchatka, Russia (Figure 1a) [Samoylenko et al., 2012]. Visual observations on 29 November showed ash shooting from two fractures as well as long, rapidly moving lava flows. Although the initial ash clouds reached 6 kilometers in height, subsequent ashfall has been limited to the area around the main vents, and no permanent settlements are in danger from advancing lava flows (the closest settlements are about 40 kilometers from the volcano). Including this eruption, six different volcanoes are presently active in Kamchatka.
Edwards Benjamin R., Belousov Alexander, Belousova Marina, Melnikov Dmitry Observations on lava, snowpack and their interactions during the 2012–13 Tolbachik eruption, Klyuchevskoy Group, Kamchatka, Russia // Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 2015. Vol. 307. P. 107 - 119. doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.08.010.
Abstract Observations made during January and April 2013 show that interactions between lava flows and snowpack during the 2012–13 Tolbachik fissure eruption in Kamchatka, Russia, were controlled by different styles of emplacement and flow velocities. `A`a lava flows and sheet lava flows generally moved on top of the snowpack with few immediate signs of interaction besides localized steaming. However, lavas melted through underlying snowpack 1–4 m thick within 12 to 24 h, and melt water flowed episodically from the beneath flows. Pahoehoe lava lobes had lower velocities and locally moved beneath/within the snowpack; even there the snow melting was limited. Snowpack responses were physical, including compressional buckling and doming, and thermal, including partial and complete melting. Maximum lava temperatures were up to 1355 K (1082 °C; type K thermal probes), and maximum measured meltwater temperatures were 335 K (62.7 °C). Theoretical estimates for rates of rapid (e.g., radiative) and slower (conductive) snowmelt are consistent with field observations showing that lava advance was fast enough for `a`a and sheet flows to move on top of the snowpack. At least two styles of physical interactions between lava flows and snowpack observed at Tolbachik have not been previously reported: migration of lava flows beneath the snowpack, and localized phreatomagmatic explosions caused by snowpack failure beneath lava. The distinctive morphologies of sub-snowpack lava flows have a high preservation potential and can be used to document snowpack emplacement during eruptions.
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A subaqueous eruption in Karymsky lake in the Academii Nauk caldera dramatically changed its water column structure, water chemistry and biological system in less than 24 h, sending major floodwaves down the discharging river and eruption plumes with ash and gases high into the atmosphere. Prior to the eruption, the lake had a pH of about 7, was dominated by bicarbonate, and well stocked with fish, but turned in early 1996 into a stratified, initially steaming waterbody, dominated by sulfate with high Na and K levels, and devoid of fish. Blockage of the outlet led to rising waterlevels, followed by dam breakage and catastrophic water discharge. The total energy input during the eruption is estimated at about 1016 J. The stable isotope composition of the lake water remained dominated by the meteoric meltwaters after the eruption.