February 1, 2016 - KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - A HUGE volcano has seen a massive eruption of toxic ash and gas just hours after a major earthquake rocked the region, causing shopping centre evacuations.
The Karymsky volcano in Russian Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone spewed ash up to 3km into the air, according to the Regional Emergencies Ministry.
Airlines have been placed on an "orange" warning to avoid the area following today's eruption.
It came less than 48 hours hours after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake tore through the region, followed by a series of at least seven less powerful aftershocks.
Terrified shoppers fled from a shopping mall after feeling the tremors inside.
The epicentre of the earthquake was within about 20 miles of the 1,486 metre-high magma mountain, prompting fears seismic activity is on the rise and there could be a catastrophic earthquake, volcanic eruption or both.
The quake struck an area close to the Ring of Fire, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean.
It suffers many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the National and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centers have said there is no current risk of a tsunami from the powerful quake.
The area has seen much volcanic activity this month.
|The earthquake epicentre shown as a star on the map and the volcano site in red. EARTHQUAKE.USGS.GOV|
On January 19 Express.co.uk reported how the nearby Zhupanovsky volcano sent an ash cloud five miles into the sky, within hours of a major eruption in Indonesia, also on the Ring of Fire and on an interconnecting fault line.
In a report nine days earlier Sputniknews.com reported how the Shiveluch volcano, also within the Kamchatka range, sent ash four miles high.
Its article back then raised fears the big one was coming and said "Seismologists have previously predicted that volcanic activity in the area would continue to rise over time."
Shoppers who fled Saturday's nearby quake in fear, tweeted their reactions.
One of them, Ksenya Maksimova, on Twitter described an "unpleasant feeling ... when everything is shaking."
Others said they "almost died of fright."
Posting a smashed bottle of drink, Marina Brovkina, tweeted: "The earthquake broke our bottle of Bacardi."
Senya Mikhaylitskaya seemed less concerned, tweeting: "Cool earthquake! Our telly nearly fell over."
|The Shiveluch volcano erupts in a powerful ash explosion. |
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said: "The epicentre was located in the region of Yelizovo, 84 km northwest of Yelizovo and 87 km northwest of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
"Inhabitants of populated areas felt the tremor at magnitude of 5.0." The US Geological Survey said: "A strong, deep 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Saturday."
It struck 64 miles north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the capital city of Russia's Kamchatka Krai.
Anything over a seven magnitude is classed as a major earthquake, but due to the remote location, as yet there are no reports of casualties or significant damage.
The earthquake was reported as starting 91 miles below ground.
Buildings in the area have been built to withstand a force nine quake, but rescue teams still carried out searches in case.
An emergency services spokeswoman said: "There have been no reports of damage yet.
"We saw furniture and doors shake as well as swinging chandeliers."
Today's volcanic eruption is also in a remote location.
The ash cloud moved southwards by 66 miles towards Avacha Bay.
Karymsky is one of the most active volcanoes of a series of volcanoes in the central part of the Eastern volcanic belt of Kamchatka and is just 18 miles from the Pacific coast and 75 miles from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Scientists say the world is currently in volcano season, and that the Earth should expect a world-changing catastrophic eruption from one of the super volcanoes across the planet within the next 80 years.
They worryingly added world leaders are woefully unprepared for the consequences.
WATCH: Karymsky's eruption in early 2015.