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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, March 20, 2004. (RIA Novosti). -The giant Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka (a peninsula in the north-east of Asian Russia washed by the Bering Sea in the east and by the Sea of Okhotsk in the south and west, which is poetically described as the land of geysers and volcanoes) is emitting huge masses of ash from its crater.

    A spokesperson for the Kamchatka seismological station said that the most powerful emission in the latest 24 hours spewed ash to the height of 4,500 meters. The emissions were accompanied by continual surface earthquakes and descent of debris avalanches.

    The activity of Kamchatka's northernmost volcanoes (Shiveluch towers 3,283 meters above the sea level) suddenly increased on January 11, following a long period of relative quiet.

    At the moment the volcano poses no threat for local towns and villages. However, the mudslides coming down the volcano's slopes may disrupt traffic on the peninsula's roads.

    Among other things, the ash plumes spewing from the volcano's crater pose a serious threat for aviation as particles of volcanic ash, when sucked into aircraft engines, may result in a malfunction of the latter. Besides, sudden emissions of ash cause serious navigational difficulties.

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