A volcano erupts on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, spewing vast ash clouds

MOSCOW — A volcano on Russia’s far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula erupted early Tuesday, spewing dust clouds 65,600 feet high and blanketing vast areas with ash.

An ash plume from the eruption of Shiveluch, one of Kamchatka’s most active volcanoes, stretched more than 300 miles to the northwest, engulfing several villages in ash volcanic dust.

Officials closed the area’s skies to planes. Local authorities advised residents to stay indoors and closed schools in several affected communities. Power was cut in two villages for several hours until emergency personnel restored them.

Ash fell over an area of ​​41,699 square miles, according to the regional branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Geophysical Survey. Scientists have described it as the biggest decline in nearly 60 years.

The village of Cluchi, about 30 miles from the volcano, was covered in a 3-inch layer of dust. Residents posted videos showing the ash cloud plunging the area into darkness.

Kamchatka Governor Vladimir Zolotov said there was no need for a mass evacuation, but some residents with health problems could be evacuated temporarily.

Shiveluch consists of two parts, the 10,771-foot Old Shiveluch and the smaller, more active Young Shiveluch.

The Kamchatka Peninsula, which stretches into the Pacific Ocean about 4,000 miles east of Moscow, is the world’s most concentrated area of ​​geothermal activity, with about 30 active volcanoes.

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