Kambalny Erupts, Sakurajima Reactivating?

The Volcano Kambalny has started an eruption in southern Kamchatka, the highly active volcanic peninsula in Russia.

Kambalny Volcanic Eruption: Image from the Kronotsky reserve at http://www.kronoki.ru/

Currently, the eruption does not seem to be particularly explosive, with ash going no higher than around 6 kilometers, although that doesn’t mean things can’t change. The ash column looks somewhat reminiscent of Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano that grounded flights in 2011 across Europe.

Watch Kambalny Erupting With This Video

Watch the embedded youtube video for footage of the eruption. Quality isn’t perfect, but it does give a good visual of the eruption.

Kambalny Volcano Eruptive History and Information

Kambalny Volcano sits within the Southern Kamchatka Wildlife preserve, just south of the famous Kurile Lake volcano, which is the source of one of the largest eruptions in the last 10,000 years.  While Kurile Lake has had some very large eruptions, Kambalny hasn’t been nearly as prolific.

The Global Volcanism page does not list many eruptions on Kambalny, although that is likely a result of lack of research rather than lack of activity. There are numerous young cinder cones on the flanks of this volcano that have produced young looking lava flows.

This type of activity is likely similar to what we are seeing in the current eruption (also likely influenced by lava and snow interaction).

According to other sources, Kambalny last had a significant eruption approximately 250 years ago, so the current activity represents the first eruption in over 200 years (which isn’t super long in geological time).

Flank Collapses at Kambalny

In the top photo, you can see a large scarp cut out from the volcano. There is evidence for numerous flank collapses at Kambalny, and these types of collapses are likely the most dangerous scenario that could occur here.

I would personally consider a flank collapse in the current eruption unlikely. The reason for this being that volcanic flank collapses such as the famous eruption at Mt. St. Helens often occur when a viscous dome pushes up into a stratovolcano, causing a large amount of instability as the dome deforms and pushes the sides of the edifice outward.

Since that magma has already reached the surface and is in eruption, there likely will not be enough deformation inside the volcanic cone to cause an other flank collapse event. Of course, things are always subject to change, and no possibility can be ruled out here.

Sakurajima Reactivating?

Further south on the Pacific ring of fire, the volcano Sakurajima has finally reawoken (credit to Mike Ross @eruptionschaser for noticing this) from a slumber that was uncharacteristic for the highly active volcano.

The Tokyo VAAC has reported a small eruption:


This is interesting because Sakurajima was frequently highly active, erupting small belches of ash almost every day for over 50+ years. After an intense earthquake swarm in 2016, the eruptive behavior seemed to change, and the frequent eruptions puttered to a halt. The new eruption also seems to have occurred from a different crater than had been previously erupting. What this signifies is difficult to know. It may not progress into anything, or it could be a progression in some of the changes that have occurred at Sakurajima.

Sakurajima can be watched live at our Sakurajima Webcam Page.

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