Flights threatened as huge Shiveluch volcano erupts in Russia spewing massive ash cloud 12 MILES into the sky

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A MASSIVE volcanic eruption has sent an ash cloud 12 miles into the sky, threatening aircraft.

The Shiveluch volcano on Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula erupted just after midnight and spewed ash over 41,700 square miles.

APLava pouring down the Shiveluch volcano after it erupted[/caption]

The ash cloud reached 12 miles into the atmosphere

APThe volcano is in the far east of Russia[/caption]

Lava flows tumbled from the volcano, which had been threatening to erupt for the past year, melting snow and prompting a warning of mud flows along a nearby highway.

Villages were carpeted in drifts of grey ash as deep as 3.5 inches, the deepest in 60 years.

The threat to aircraft has echoes of eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland which forced 16,000 flights to be cancelled in one day.

The Kamchatka Peninsula lies on the air routes between Asia and North America, which are some of the world’s busiest.

“The ash reached 20 kilometres (12 miles) high, the ash cloud moved westwards and there was a very strong fall of ash on nearby villages,” said Danila Chebrov, director of the Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical Survey.

“The volcano was preparing for this for at least a year and the process is continuing though it has calmed a little now.”

The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team issued a red notice for aviation, saying “ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft”.

Some schools in the Kamchatka peninsula, about 4225 miles east of Moscow, were closed and residents ordered to stay indoors said the head of the Ust-Kamchatsky municipal region,

“Because what I have just seen here with my own eyes, it will be impossible for children to go to school, and in general, the presence of children here is questionable,” Oleg Bondarenko said in a Telegram post.

Shiveluch is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has had an estimated 60 substantial eruptions in the past 10,000 years, the last major one being in 2007.

It has two main parts, the smaller of which, Young Shiveluch, which scientists have reported as being extremely active in recent months.

Shiveluch is 60,000 to 70,000 years old and has a peak of 9,186 feet that protrudes out of the 10,700 feet-high Old Shiveluch.

The Kamchatka Peninsula is sparsely populated, with the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program estimating that fewer than 12,000 people live within a 60 mile radius of Shiveluch.

Roads were soon covered in ash after the eruption

ReutersThe volcano is one of the world’s most active[/caption]

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