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Russian volcano spills record amount of lava

Posted on Dec 12, 09:44AM | IANS

The erupting Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula is spilling a record 1,200 tonnes of lava every second, seismologists said Tuesday.

The 3,085-metre Plosky Tolbachik, part of a volcanic complex located 343 km from the region's capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, erupted Nov 27 for the first time in 36 years.

"During the Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption in 1975, the volcano spilled on average 40 cubic metres of magma per second while at present its productivity is about 400 cubic metres or 1,200 tonnes per second," said Gennady Karpov, deputy director of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology under the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The volcano has been spewing lava from two fissures along its southern slope. The flow from the upper fissure has descended 6,000 metres and from the lower to 13,600 metres.

The flow from the upper fissure has almost stopped but could resume at any moment as the volcano continues to produce magma, Karpov said.

Lava spewing from the volcano earlier caused a forest fire and destroyed buildings at two research bases located 10 km from the mountain.

The Plosky Tolbachik erupted 10 times since records began in 1740, with the most notable eruption in 1975, commonly known as "The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption".

The 1975 eruption dramatically changed the local landscape and became an ecological disaster as the volume of lava and ashes emitted was the largest in recorded history of Kamchatka. There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 30 of them active.