Russian Officials Plead With Tourists to Stop Taking Selfies Next to Erupting Volcano

The Russian Emergencies Ministry was forced to issue a public warning about the mortal danger of getting to close to the crater of an erupting volcano, after photos and videos of daredevils right next to a lava filled volcano cone started showing up online.

Klyuchevskaya Sopka, an active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, recently became a hotspot for adrenalin-seeking tourists, as the spectacular formation of a second volcano hole allowed them to get close enough to actually cook meat and sausages on the hot rock surrounding the erupting volcano. But while the trend may have started with funny pics and videos of sausages sizzling on a natural stove made of volcanic rock, it grew into something a lot more dangerous, with people getting close enough to the cone to film inside it, completely disregarding the lava bombs shooting out of it.

Photo: Pierre-Yves Burgi/Unsplash

“More and more photos of tourists in front of the erupting volcano have begun to appear on social networks,” Kamchatka’s Emergency Minister said. “Rescuers once again remind that a volcanic eruption is an extremely dangerous phenomenon for humans. The danger is not only the lava flow itself, but also phreatic explosions that can occur when hot magma comes into contact with snow and ice.”

All travel agencies in the region have been warned against bringing tourists too close to the recently-formed second cone of the Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano, located at an altitude of 2,850 meters. Warning leaflets were also distributed in Klyuchi village, a key access point to the volcano, but they did little to discourage tourists.

Sites like Instagram are full of photos and videos taken dangerously close to the new volcano cone. So close in fact that you can see bits of molten lava sewing out and over the heads of the tourists. Getting hit by one of those things is no joke as it could probably burn a hole right through a person.


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“In social network footage, people stand on the crater and shoot how volcanic bombs and slag are thrown out of the crater about 60 meters above its edge,” Olga Girina, head of Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Group, told the Siberian Times. “Lava bombs are scattered around. This is dangerous. They were lucky that no one was hit on the head. Volcanic bombs are thrown out at great speed.”

Despite the danger of lava bombs, poisonous gas emissions and even the collapse of the ground around the new volcano cone, Russian media reports that dozens of tourists are visiting the site every day.

“Remember, your safety, your health and your life, first of all, are in your hands,” the emergency minister said in a statement.