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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, JANUARY 12, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- Kamchatka's (a peninsula located in the Russian Far East) volcanoes have changed their appearance considerably over the last 12 months; this is proved by a survey, which was conducted by experts from the Volcanology Institute and the Geomagnetic Radiation Institute.

    Talking to RIA-NOVOSTI here today, Alexei Ozerov, a senior research associate at the Volcanology Institute (Russian Academy of Sciences), noted that intensive volcanic activity was registered on the Kamchatka Peninsula last year. The Karymsky, Shiveluch, Klyuchevsky and Bezymyanny volcanoes erupted last year; moreover, greater thermal activity was registered around the Mutnovsky volcano.

    The Karymsky volcano's cone sagged by seven meters over the July-December 2003 period.

    Experts believe this proves that the volcanic caldera receives less magma than before.

    The terrestrial crust annually sags by an average of five millimeters near this volcano.

    The Karymsky volcano became much more active May 10, 2003, what with experts registering some 50-150 local earthquakes each day there. Moreover, volcanic ashes are hurled in the skies above, rising by 100-500 meters above crater levels. Meanwhile some ash clouds reach some 4-5 km into the atmosphere; still this doesn't happen very often.

    The most powerful volcanic explosions hurl crater bombs weighing up to one ton each over 1,700-meter distances.

    A new dome started growing inside the Shiveluch volcano's main crater not so long ago; however, various explosions and landslides reduced the dome's height by 11 meters throughout the 2003 period. That dome is now 483 meters high, with the volcano itself towering 3,283 meters above sea level.

    The Shiveluch volcano remained dormant for many months in a row; however, powerful eruptions have now begun, hurling ash clouds some 4,000 meters into the atmosphere.

    The Klyuchevsky volcano began to erupt December 24, 2002, after lying dormant for eight consecutive years.

    Aerial and visual observations show that the volcano's crater resembled a huge 700-meter wide and 300-meter deep gaping hole prior to eruptions.

    The top crater is now being filled with lava and fragments. It will take some 1-3 years to fill the crater completely; after that, lava will start flowing along the volcano's slopes.

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