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Ash plumes Kizimen and Shiveluch Kamchatka Peninsula eastern
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Ash plumes Kizimen and Shiveluch, Kamchatka Peninsula, eastern Russia

March 5, 2011
Twin plumes of volcanic ash rise from the volcanic spine of the Kamchatka Peninsula on February, 23 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed over the region, capturing this true-color image. To the north, a cloud of white steam and gray ash can be seen billowing from the peak of Shiveluch, one of the largest and most active volcanoes in the peninsula. The Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that on February 22, Shiveluch produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 3.4 km (11,000 ft) ASL. In this image, the gray ash plume streams towards the southeast, reaching well over the waters of the Bering Sea. In the south, a gray plume of volcanic ash rises from Kizimen, darkening the snow and sea as it drifts over to the southeast in a spreading veil. Kizimen is a conical stratovolcano that rises to 2,376 meters and lies on the western edge of the volcanic chain. According to the Tokyo VAAC, a possible eruption was detected on February 22, with a plume that rose 2.7 km (9,000 ft) ASL. Ash plumes extending over 200 km (124 mi) from the volcano were noted on February 21-24. The snow around both volcanoes appears gray in large patches. This is likely the result of the gray volcanic ash which broadly covers the snowfields around active volcanoes. Local newspapers report a layer of ash from Kizimen has covered the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 265 km south of the volcano. The town is home to 60 percent of the Kamchatka Peninsula residents live. Both volcanoes are considered quite active, and gas-steam eruptions are expected to continue. Ash explosions up to 10 km (or 32,800 ft) could occur at any time. Because ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft, the Aviation Color Code remains at Orange for both Kizimen and Shivulech.