A volcanic eruption of Shiveluch in Russia’s Far East has sent ash up into the stratosphere as high as 26,600 feet, according to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team.
The volcano has been restless for decades, spewing steam regularly. But explosions are now occurring continuously, and the suspended ash ultimately may impact aviation in Alaska.
Ash has covered 41,699 square miles of Russian territory, according to a report from the of the Russian Academy of Sciences Geophysical Survey, which reports it as the biggest ash fall in 60 years. The village of Klyuchi, 30 miles from the volcano, is covered with three inches of ash and is currently experiencing low visibility, the agency said.
Although Russia is off limits for international aircraft due to its war on Ukraine, Russian aircraft still will have to be wary of the hazards. It’s also likely the winds will push the ash plume to the east and over the Pacific Ocean, where it could become an international air traffic concern.
Shiveluch is a a steep-sloped volcano composed of alternating layers of solidified ash, hardened lava, and volcanic rocks, according to NASA. It is one of the peninsula’s most active volcanoes, with 60 substantial eruptions in the last 10,000 years. A major eruption of a volcano like this can have dramatic impact on weather, warming or cooling the climate down for years to come.
“When Indonesia’s Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano’s massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years,” a researcher at the University of Illinois reports.