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Russian Volcano: Shiveluch

Context:

The Shiveluch volcano in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula may be gearing up for its first powerful eruption in 15 years, scientists say.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Kamchatka peninsula:
  2. About Shiveluch
  3. About the Ring of Fire

About Kamchatka peninsula:

  • Kamchatka is home to 29 active volcanoes, part of a vast belt of Earth known as the “Ring of Fire” which circles the Pacific Ocean and is prone to eruptions and frequent earthquakes.
  • Most of the peninsula’s volcanoes are surrounded by sparsely populated forest and tundra, so pose little risk to local people, but big eruptions can spew glass, rock and ash into the sky, threatening aircraft.
  • According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), these kinds of eruptions typically happen three or four times a year in Kamchatka, requiring air traffic to be rerouted.
  • Six volcanoes in Russia’s northeast are currently showing signs of increased activity, including Eurasia’s highest active volcano Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which began erupting last Thursday.

About Shiveluch

  • Shiveluch is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Kamchatka, having erupted at least 60 times in the past 10,000 years.
    • It has two main parts:
      • Old Shiveluch, which tops 3,283 metres (10,771 ft),
      • oung Shiveluch – a smaller, 2,800-metre peak protruding from its side.
  • Young Shiveluch lies within an ancient caldera – a large crater-like basin that likely formed when the older part underwent a catastrophic eruption at least 10,000 years ago.
  • Domes are mounds that form from accumulating lava, and fumaroles are openings through which hot sulphurous gases emerge.
  • The volcano has been continuously erupting since August 1999, but occasionally undergoes powerful explosive events, including in 2007.

About the Ring of Fire

  • Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction. And most of the planet’s subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire
  • It is a string of at least 450 active and dormant volcanoes that form a semi-circle, or horse shoe, around the Philippine Sea plate, the Pacific Plate, Juan de Fuca and Cocos plates, and the Nazca Plate.
  • There is a lot of seismic activity in the area.
  • 90 per cent of all earthquakes strike within the Ring of Fire

Why are there so many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire?

  • The tectonic plates move non-stop over a layer of partly solid and partly molten rock which is called the Earth’s mantle.
  • When the plates collide or move apart, for instance, the Earth moves, literally.
  • Mountains, like the Andes in South America and the Rockies in North America, as well as volcanoes have formed through the collision of tectonic plates.
  • Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire were created through a process of subduction. And most of the planet’s subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire

-Source: Indian Express


February 2023
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