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Volcano erupts in Russian far east, followed by an earthquake

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One of Russia's most active volcanoes erupted on the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Tuesday (11 April), shooting a vast cloud of ash far into the sky that smothered villages in drifts of grey volcanic dust and triggered an aviation warning.

According to the Kamchatka Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences' Geophysical survey, the Shiveluch volcano erupted shortly after midnight. It reached a crescendo six hours later.

Lava flows erupted from the volcano melting snow, prompting a warning about mud flows along a nearby road. Villages were covered in grey ash drifts as deep as 8.5 cm (3.5 inches), which was the deepest in 60-years.

Pictures captured the cloud billowing above the forests and rivers in the Far East and villages that were covered with ash.

"The ash rose to 20 kms in height, the cloud moved westward, and there was a strong fall of ash on nearby villages," stated Danila Chebrov (director of the Kamchatka branch) of the Geophysical Survey.

Chebrov stated that the volcano had been preparing for it for at least one year. The process is still ongoing, even though it has cooled a bit now.

According to the geological survey, it occurred around 24 hours after the eruption of the volcano. Russian scientists believe the earthquake was an aftershock to an April 3 earthquake.

Around 300,000 people reside on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula. It juts into Japan's Pacific Ocean northeast.

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Chebrov stated that the volcano, which is one of Kamchatka’s most active and largest, will likely calm down now. However, he warned that there could be more major ash clouds. Chebrov stated that the lava flows shouldn't reach villages.

Although there were no immediate reports of injuries, scientists indicated that the volcano was still erupting approximately 15 hours after its eruption.

ASH DRIFTS

Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team, (KVERT), issued a red alert for aviation, stating that "ongoing activity could impact international and low-flying planes".

Oleg Bondarenko, head of the UstKamchatsky municipal area, stated in a Telegram post that some schools were closed on the peninsula which is located about 6,800 kilometers east of Moscow. He also ordered residents to stay inside.

Bondarenko stated that children will not be able to attend school because of what she had just witnessed.

He stated that residents had their power back and that water was being provided.

In the past 10,000 years Shiveluch has experienced approximately 60 major eruptions. The last one was in 2007.

It is composed of two main parts. The smaller, Young Shiveluch, has been reported by scientists as being very active in recent months. This peak reached 2,800m (9,186ft) and protrudes from the Old Shiveluch, which stands 3,283 metres high.

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