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    ASH CLOUD OVER KAMCHATKA

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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - As a result of the Shiveluch volcano eruption, a large ash cloud is hanging over Kamchatka and the Okhotsk Sea.

    The Kamchatka experimental seismological crew reports that the ash cloud stretches for 700 km to the west of the volcano, covering the peninsula and neighboring offshore waters of the Okhotsk Sea in a 150 km-wide stripe.

    Ash covering snow on an area of 310 by 150 km can be seen in the photographs from space provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The snow-and-ash layer is up to 8 cm thick, and ash is still falling.

    The northernmost active volcano on the peninsula splashed into action on Sunday night. The seismological stations located dozens of kilometers from it detected paroxysmal volcanic tremor. The Shiveluch seismological station, located 8 km off the volcano, went off the air, probably was put out of action by a 10 km pyroclastic flows (scorching fragmental avalanche) going down southwards in the direction of Klyuchi settlement.

    Video observation of the volcano is complicated by bad weather caused by a cyclone. But experts think that the ash emissions from the Shiveluch crater are commensurate with the 10 km emissions registered on May 10, 2004. On that day, the regional Emergencies Ministry Directorate prohibited visits to the Shiveluch (its height is 3,283m) and neighboring area.

    At present the volcano represents no danger for local settlements. Ash emissions represent danger to aircraft: ingress of ash into aircraft turbines may provoke breakdown, and unexpected emissions complicate navigation.

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