Russian Volcano Eruption Attracts Tourists, Sparks 'Apocalypse' Fears
An erupting volcano in Russia's Far East has become a sightseeing hotspot for crowds of thrill-seeking tourists eager to see flows of lava and clouds of ash. Others, however, saw in the natural phenomenon an omen heralding the end of the world.
Plosky Tolbachik on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, dormant since its most notable recent eruption in 1975, is spilling up to 1,200 metric tons of lava every second - a record amount - and spewing clouds of ash nearly 3,000 meters into the air, local seismologists estimated.
The road to the 3,085-meter Plosky Tolbachik runs through the frozen Studenka River. Despite the risky route, up to a hundred cars full of tourists brave the crossing every day to get to the nearby mountain.
The tourists - who ignore warning signs and the dangers of leaking lava, hot falling rocks and clouds of ash - pay top prices and take a 10-hour car ride to see the volcano. The trip reportedly costs 20,000 rubles (about $650) for locals and close to $1000 for Moscow tourists, nearly equal to the average monthly wage in the capital.
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