Volcano in Kamchatka Erupts After Killing 9 Last Summer

The highest active volcano in Eurasia erupted on Nov. 20 after a moderate earthquake near the Kamchatka coast.

Klyuchevskaya volcano (4,754m) came to life overnight on Sunday, Polish volcano blogger Wulkany Swiata reported on Facebook, citing Russian media. The account noted that another nearby volcano had also erupted.

The volcanology institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences measured up to 10 explosions per hour during the eruptions, the Union-Bulletin reported. The events resulted in an ash cloud that towered five kilometres.

Images showed that Klyuchevskaya’s surface ruptured somewhere below the summit. That also happened the previous time the volcano erupted in 2021.

At the time, tourists flocked to the actively erupting mountain to take selfies. That chagrined Russian officials, who urged people to stay away from the sparking, smoldering craters.

More recently, the Klyuchevskaya claimed nine lives this September. A team of 12 climbers started a summit push, ExplorersWeb reported Sept. 3, but a fall occurred around 4,200m and killed five team members. Extensive helicopter rescue operations ensued throughout the next three days, but only three expedition members survived the ordeal, including one guide.

The summit of Klyuchevskaya is the highest point on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Along with the conical volcano’s central crater, up to 70 lateral craters and cones perforate its lower slopes.

Klyuchevskaya constantly smokes from its summit crater and has erupted more than 50 times since 1700.

There have been no reports of injuries or property damage related to Sunday’s eruptions. The town of Klyuchi, with about 5,000 people, is the closest inhabited town, about 30km away.

Guide arrested

Meanwhile, the Russian guide who survived the summer’s disaster on Klychevskaya, Ivan Alabugin, has just been detained by Kamchatka investigators. Authorities have accused Alabugin of “providing services that do not meet the requirements of safety of life and health, which resulted in the death of several people,”  according to Russian social media.

Alabugin’s wife confirms the arrest but insists that her husband “did everything possible and impossible” during that tragedy. Another man, the director of the travel agency, has already been in custody since shortly after the event.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.