The Shiveluch volcano, one of Russia’s most active volcanoes, erupted on the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Tuesday, shooting a huge cloud of ash far into the sky that smothered villages in drifts of grey volcanic dust and triggered an aviation warning.
Around 24 hours after the volcano began erupting, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Kamchatka, the geological survey said. Russian scientists said the quake was an aftershock from an April 3 earthquake.
Volcano erupted just after midnight and reached a crescendo about six hours later, spewing out an ash cloud over an area of 108,000 sq.km. (41,700 sq. miles), according to the Kamchatka Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Geophysical Survey.
Lava flows tumbled from the volcano, melting snow and prompting a warning of mud flows along a nearby highway while villages were carpeted in drifts of grey ash as deep as 8.5 centimeters (3.5 inches), the deepest in 60 years.
About 300,000 people live on Russia’s vast Kamchatka peninsula, which juts into the Pacific Ocean northeast of Japan.