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It has been awhile since we’ve had an unexpected eruption, but last night Raikoke in the Kuril Islands off Russia had an impressive explosion. Most people (and volcanologists) are likely unfamiliar with this remote volcano and rightly so — only ~140 people live within 100 kilometers and the last known eruption was in 1924. However, the last two eruptions (1924 and 1778) were both VEI 4 events.
Raikoke Island, seen here from the SE, lies 50 km SW of Shiashkotan Island and 16 km across the Golovnin Strait to the NE of its closest neighboring volcano on Matua Island. The summit of the low, 551-m-high Raikoke contains a steep-walled crater, 700 m wide and 200 m deep, that is highest on the SE side.