Russia's Kamchatka volcanoes calm after eruptions

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2010 5:47 AM
Russia's Kamchatka volcanoes calm after eruptions

Two volcanoes that erupted on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, blanketing a town with dust and spreading ash clouds across the Pacific, have mostly stopped spewing ash and flights are no longer diverted, Russian officials said Friday.

Eurasia's highest active volcano, the Klyuchevskaya Sopka, was pumping out insignificant amounts of dust and the Shiveluch volcano, 45 miles (70 kilometers) northeast, had ceased all activity, the Emergencies Ministry reported on its website.

Ash clouds from the remote volcanoes had billowed up to 33,000 feet (10 kilometers) after they erupted Thursday and had spread east across the Pacific Ocean.

Schools in the vicinity of the volcanoes remained closed Friday due to ash buildup. The powder had coated the nearby town of Ust-Kamchatsk, reducing visibility to only a few feet (meters) and turning buildings ghostly white.

Emergency officials said the town's 5,000 residents weren't in any immediate danger but urged them to stay indoors and tightly close doors and windows to avoid inhaling ash particles that could lead to respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions.

Businesses in Ust-Kamchatsk quickly closed and all streets were shut down to traffic. Scientists warned that ashes will likely continue falling on the area for at least 10 days.

Ust-Kamchatsk is 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Shiveluch and 75 miles (120 kilometers) northeast of Klyuchevskaya Sopka, and winds blew ash from both on the town.

Jen Burke, a meteorologist with the Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, said Thursday ash from the Shiveluch eruption _ the larger of the two _ was moving across the Bering Sea at a height of 25,000 feet (7,620 meters).