A slumbering titan in Russia’s Far East could soon awaken. Scientists warn that a long-dormant volcano is showing new signs of activity, and an eruption could spell disaster in Russia and beyond.
Deemed inactive for decades, the Bolshaya Udina volcano has come back to life, according to recent research, prompting concern about a potentially cataclysmic natural disaster.
“When a volcano is silent for a long time, its first explosion can be catastrophic,” said Ivan Kulakov, the head of the seismic tomography lab at the Russian Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, in an article for the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian branch. “A large amount of ash is thrown into the air, it is carried far away, and not only the surrounding settlements, but also large territories all over the planet, can suffer.”
“Recall Pompeii,” the researcher added ominously: the ancient Roman settlement was wiped off the map by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which laid dormant for thousands of years prior. The city was buried in over 10 feet of ash and most of its inhabitants are thought to have been killed in the disaster.
Kulakov headed up a study in 2017 to measure what he called “seismic unrest” around Bolshaya Udina; his team’s findings led to a reclassification of the volcano from ‘extinct’ to ‘active’ the same year.
While the researchers warned of the volcano’s huge destructive potential, it may be too early to begin preparing for the apocalypse. It is impossible to predict whether an eruption would occur, Kulakov said, but added “undoubtedly, now we need to closely monitor Udina.”
Bolshaya Udina makes up half of the Udina volcanic massif, which also includes Malaya Udina (‘big’ and ‘small’ Udina, respectively). It stands at just over 9,500 feet on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.