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Volcano in Russia spewing ash: red alert for aviation

Volcano in Russia spewing ash: red alert for aviation

An ash cloud from Zhiveluch volcano in eastern Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula threatens to hamper air traffic in the area. The Russian volcano observatory KVERT issued a red alert for air traffic on Tuesday morning. “The ongoing activity may affect international and low-flying aircraft,” it added.

A large ash cloud is drifting to the west of the volcano and ash explosions up to 15 kilometers high can occur at any time. Shiveluch is the northernmost and one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Kamchatka. The main air route between the United States and Japan is located along the Russian Peninsula.

The head of the region, Oleg Bondarenko, said in a telegram that the volcano erupted at 6:31 am local time and the cloud spread over the villages of Klyuchi and Kozyrevsk, more than 70 kilometers away. “Residents are advised to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel.”

The Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia is one of the most volcanically active regions on earth. Ash clouds can paralyze air traffic over large areas. Just last Friday, the Bisimani volcano, which is located a little further south, also erupted and also caused an aviation “red alert”.

After the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, large parts of European airspace were closed for six days. More than ten million air travelers were affected at that time. The damage amounted to $1.7 billion (€1.56 billion today).

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