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Activity at Tolbachik Volcano
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Tolbachik Volcano is not a single peak, but a complex of volcanic features superimposed on one another. The varied shapes result from differences in the chemistry, gas content, and temperature of lava. Over time the composition of magma feeding a volcano may change, generating volcanoes with complex shapes.
The current eruption, which started in late 2012, is on Tolbachinsky Dol, a lava plateau marked by small volcanic cones that formed during earlier eruptions. These cones stretch southwest from the summit of Plosky Tolbachick, a gently sloping shield volcano formed from layers of fluid lavas. Just to the west of Plosky Tolbachik lies Ostry Tolbachik, a steep-sided stratovolcano composed of layers of thick lava, ash, tephra, and other volcanic debris.
This April 5, 2013, natural-color image of Plosky Tolbachik, Ostry Tolbachik, and Tolbachinksy Dol was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.