Last update: September 18th, 2019 at 6:00 pm
In October 2013, Russia’s Zhupanovsky volcano roared to life for the first time since the 1950s. In the 30 months since then, the volcano has sporadically spewed ash and steam plumes over the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. The complex of four overlapping stratovolcanoes is prone to phreatic eruptions, in which underground water is instantaneously vaporized as it mixes with hot rock beneath the surface.
At 10:55 a.m. local time on February 13, 2016 (23:55 UTC February 12) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of a dramatic ash plume rising from Zhupanovsky in far eastern Russia.
The dusky plume rises from the caldera of the volcano on the snowy Kamchatka peninsula and extends eastward over the Pacific Ocean, in stark contrast to the lacy filigrees of the sea ice floating on the water.
According to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the volcano emitted smaller plumes after minor eruptions on February 5, 7 and 9. In the morning on February 13, 2016, an explosion lofted ash, steam, and gas 10 km (33,000 ft.) above sea level, prompting a code-red warning for airplane traffic in the region. Hot volcanic ash can damage the exterior of airplanes and clog jet engines, causing them to fail. The threat level from Zhupanovsky has since been lowered to orange.