July 26, 2009

Volcanic ash rises to 23,000 feet

Volcanic ash reached 23,000 feet above Petropavlovsk in Russia's Far East as the country's northernmost active volcano continued erupting, a geophysicist said.

The Shiveluch volcano began erupting in December 2006 and hasn't stopped since. The 10,771-foot volcano is on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The local geophysics service registered more than 170 tremors in the area of the volcano between Saturday and Sunday, a spokesman told RIA Novosti.

Some of (the tremors) were followed by powerful ash bursts and avalanches, the spokesman said.

He said the volcanic activity has altered the contour of the volcano, with the crater increasing in size by 50 percent and the slopes having become much steeper.

The news service said there are more than 150 volcanoes on the peninsula, 29 of them active.