Hundreds of Kilometers of Hot Terrain: Volcanoes of Kamchatka

On Kamchatka, everything is fuming, boiling and gurgling, as if thousands of cooks are working tirelessly underground. Big volcanoes and small colorful geysers, hot lakes, emerging here and there squirts of steam and gases … Kamchatka is the only place on the planet where you will find almost every form of volcanism. Probably this is what our planet looked like at the beginning of times.

Hot Giants

Long, stretched out Kamchatka peninsula at the eastern tip of Russia is literally covered with volcanoes. There are more than 300, and about 30 of them are active. Most of these “living” volcanoes are in the Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve. Each volcano has its own shape, height and activity periods. Some erupt with fiery lava, others with pillars of ash, toxic gases, or entire blocks of abyssal rock.

The highest volcano on Kamchatka, KlyuchevskayaSopka, is almost 5,000 meters. Last time it erupted in 2013. Every year up to 5 eruptions occur in the region. Most predictable is the Nameless volcano. It erupts twice a year at exactly the same time.

The most mysterious is the Flat Tolbachik volcano. It erupts with hot viscous lava, which upon cooling creates startling landscapes. Here several decades ago, the first Soviet moon rovers were tested. After the recent eruption of Tolbachikdiamond placers were found on the slopes.

Great Grandfather – Super Volcano

In the 1930s scientists began to study a unique caldera, i.e. a huge basin formed by the eruption of a supervolcano almost 40 millenniaago. It is 9 by 12 km in size. Uzon caldera is a unique natural creation. It has a thousand of hot springs, steam jets, mud pools, thermal lakes and mud geysers. In the Bannoelake, underwater, molten sulfurwas found; not far from it –deposits of sulfide arsenic-antimony-mercury ores, and further out – oil seeps. In Uzon a unique mineral was found – arsenic sulfide, named Uzoniteafter its place of origin.

Sunrise on the Chloride Lake

The caldera of the Uzon volcano splashed with autumnal hues. You can go on an unforgettable virtual journey created by Airpanogroup with support of Kronotsky Reserve and Russian Geographical Society: link

Life on Volcanoes

The ash scattered around is full of chemical elements. That’s why at the foot of the biggest volcanoes locals get great garden crops.

People of Kamchatka have learned long time ago to use the power of volcanoes: several villages live entirely on geothermal heating.

Volcanoes are beautiful and dangerous when erupt. Volcanic ash can disrupt transportation, toxic gases are health hazards. Ash falls, when ash falls from the sky like dark snow, happen in some places of Kamchatka several times a year. Yet locals have long got accustomed to it all and are proud of their unique region.

Welcome to Kamchatka – a wonderful land of volcanoes!

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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