climbers to scale erupting volcano

18 June 2004 | 12:26 Code : 3784 Geoscience events
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A team of 10 Russian climbers launched a daring expedition up the slopes of an erupting volcano in Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Thursday, local emergency officials said.
Vladivostok, Russia, June 17 - A team of 10 Russian climbers launched a daring expedition up the slopes of an erupting volcano in Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Thursday, local emergency officials said. The team, which includes several volcanologists, would scale the 3,283-metre (10,700-foot) Shiveluch volcano which had been erupting almost non-stop since 2001, spewing ash up to five kilometers (three miles) high. "In case the eruption becomes more intense, the expedition would be immediately stopped," emergency officials assured, adding that in case all went well, the team would be back on June 25. Shiveluch, which is Kamchatka's northernmost active volcano and one of the least known, had its last major eruption 37 years ago. The last time it was scaled was 30 years ago, during a period of relative calm. Eruptions are frequent occurrences on the almost-uninhabited Kamtchatka peninsula where there are some 141 volcanos, 28 of them active. The dangerous area has long lured climbers from all over the world. Last year's expedition by Czech mountaineers seeking to scale the Klyuchevskaya volcano ended in tragedy, with one team member dying of a head injury.

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