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article imageRussian volcano eruption attracts tourists (video)

By Anne Sewell     Dec 18, 2012 in Environment
­Plosky Tolbachik on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula has been dormant since its most notable eruption in 1975. Now it is active again a spewing clouds of ash nearly 3,000 meters into the air, and attracting some extreme tourism.
The volcano, located in Russia's Far East, has become a tourist hotspot. Crowds of thrill-seeking tourists are visiting, eager to see the clouds of ash and flows of lava.
The volcano, dormant for so long, is spilling up to 1,200 metric tons of lava every second which is a record amount. On top of this, local seismologists estimate that the volcano is spewing clouds of ash nearly 3,000 meters into the air.
Despite the fact that the road leading to the 3,085 meter Plosky Tolbachik runs through the frozen Studenka river, making it a very risky route, there are around 100 cars full of tourists traveling there every day to view the excitement.
Ignoring warning signs and the very evident dangers of hot falling rocks, leaking lava and the clouds of ash, tourists are paying top prices to take a 10-hour car ride to view the eruption. Apparently the trip is costing them about 20,000 rubles (around $650) for locals, and almost $1000 for Moscow tourists.
Due to such an inrush of tourists, rescue teams have been forced to set up a camp at the foot of a hill, from which people can take photographs.
In the video you will see tourists literally standing close enough to the lava to melt their boots. Apparently this lava can reach an internal temperature of up to 300 degrees Celsius, so they are really taking their chances.
Plosky Tolbachik volcano erupting in Russia  December 2012.
Plosky Tolbachik volcano erupting in Russia, December 2012.
Some have said that the large number of eruptions around the world might be an ill omen. Scientists however have rejected such prognoses, saying that rumors about the huge volumes of lava and possibilities of the annihilation of mankind are exaggerated.
Leading volcanologist and seismologist, Aleksey Ozerov told RIA Novosti, "Typical, predictable and nowadays sufficiently studied activity of the most active volcanoes in Kamchatka – Shiveluch, Kluchevsky, Bezymyanny ('Nameless') and others – does not exceed in their activity the peak of activity recorded in the past.”
The current eruption at Plosky Tolbachik has been ongoing since November 27, and has caused a forest fire and has destroyed buildings at two research bases located close to the mountain.
In total, since records began in 1740, the volcano has erupted 10 times, with the most dramatic event happening in 1975, where the volume of ash and lava was the largest in the recorded history of Kamchatka.
More about Russia, Volcano, Eruption, Plosky Tolbachik, Kamchatka peninsula
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