The Kamchatka volcanoes

Kamchatka is the most active area of our planet where volcanic activity manifests itself in all its beauty. Almost everywhere the skyline is contoured with volcanoes; there are more than 300 of them in Kamchatka. The volcanic and seismic activity on the area from the Japanese Islands Hokkaido and Honshu, to the Kamchatka peninsula conditioned by the Pacific and Okhotsk tectonic plates movements.
There are 28 active volcanoes in Kamchatka. Most of them are the part of the Eastern Ridge, among them annually erupting Shiveluch, Bezymyanniy, and Karymskiy. The rest are of volcanoes either in the period of preparation for new eruptions or have recently completed to erupt. Just about once in 10-50 years erupt Tolbachinskiy, Avachinskiy, Koryakskiy, Goreliy, and Mutnovskiy volcanoes. Shiveluch (3283 m above sea level) presents the northern extremity of all active Kamchatka's volcanoes. Klyuchevskoy Volcano (4750 m) is the highest active volcano in Eurasia, one of the most active and powerful volcanoes of the world. Climbing to the top of Klyuchevskoy volcano and studying volcanic processes in the crater and on the slopes are of both scientific and adventuresome. Mountaineers and visitors can try organized climbing. Vast wilderness areas and the abrupt landscape, changing from fairytale woods to science-fiction moonlike landscapes are sure to leave a strong and lasting impression.
Bezymyanniy Volcano (2800 m) had the paroxysmal eruption in 1956. The height of the ash cloud was of 40 km. Directed explosion tore down the whole summit of the volcano, its height decreased in 200 m. At present twice a year this volcano has got weak eruptions. Karymskiy Volcano (1536 m) in spite of its own small size demon¬strates a very intensive activity. Within a few kilometers from the volcano there is a mountain lake. In 1996 on its bottom began the eruption which reduced to the formation of the new peninsula with the total area 0,7 squ. km. Volcanoes Avachinskiy (2751 м) and Koryakskiy (3456 m) overlook directly the cities of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and Elizovo. Avachinsky (also known as Avacha or Avacha Volcano or Avachinskaya Sopka) is an active stratovolcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia. It lies within sight of the capital of Kamchatka Krai, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Together with neighboring Koryaksky volcano, it has been designated a Decade Volcano, worthy of particular study in light of its history of explosive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.
Avachinsky's last eruption occurred in 2001. This eruption was tiny compared to the volcano's major Volcanic Explosivity Index 4 eruption in 1945. Avachinsky lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at a point where the Pacific Plate is sliding underneath the Eurasian Plate at a rate of about 80 mm/year. A wedge of mantle material lying between the subducting Pacific Plate and the overlying Eurasian Plate is the source of dynamic volcanism over the whole Kamchatka Peninsula. The volcano is one of the most active volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula, and began erupting in the middle to late Pleistocene era. It has a horseshoe-shaped caldera, which formed 30-40,000 years ago in a major landslide which covered an area of 500 km? south of the volcano, underlying the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Reconstruction of a new cone inside the caldera occurred in two major eruption phases, 18,000 and 7,000 years ago.
Avachinsky has erupted at least 17 times in recorded history. Eruptions have generally been explosive, and pyroclastic flows and lahars have tended to be directed to the south west by the breached caldera. The most recent large eruption (VEI=4) occurred in 1945, when about 0.25 km? of magma was ejected. The volcano has since had small eruptions in 1991 and 2001. The volcano continues to experience frequent earthquakes, and many fumaroles exist near the summit. The temperature of gases emitted at these fumaroles has been measured at over 400°C. In light of its proximity to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Avachinsky was designated a Decade Volcano in 1996 as part of the United Nations' International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, together with the nearby Koryaksky volcano.
Koryaksky lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at a point where the Pacific Plate is sliding underneath the Eurasian Plate at a rate of about 80 mm/year. A wedge of mantle material lies between the subducting Pacific Plate and the overlying Eurasian Plate is the source of dynamic volcanism over the whole Kamchatka Peninsula. The volcano has probably been active for tens of thousands of years. Geological records indicate that there have been three major eruptions in the last 10,000 years, at 5500 BC, 1950 BC and 1550 BC. These three eruptions seem to have been mainly effusive, generating extensive lava flows. Koryaksky erupted for the first time in recorded history in 1890, in an eruption characterised by the emission of lava from fissures which opened up on the south western flank of the volcano, and phreatic explosions. It was thought to have erupted again five years later, but it was later shown that no eruption had occurred; what was thought to be an eruption column was simply steam generated by strong fumarolic activity.
Another brief, moderately explosive eruption occurred in 1926, after which the volcano was dormant until 1956. The 1956 eruption was more explosive than the previous known eruptions, with VEI=3, and generated pyroclastic flows and lahars. The eruption continued until June 1957. On December 29, 2008, Koryaksky erupted with a 20,000 foot plume of ash, the first major eruption in 3,500 years.
Within a few hours of the bus-drive from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, in the South of the peninsula, there is Goreliy Volcano (1829 m). This classical shield volcano is located in the big caldera with the diameter of 12 km. The last eruptions of this volcano occurred in 1980 and 1985. Currently it is calm and in the active crater one could see the peacefully plashing turquoise lake. But the series of the under volcano earthquakes in March 2009 indicated the possibility of the soon eruption of this volcano.
Ksudach Volcano (also known as Voniuchi Khrebet Volcano) is a stratovolcano in southern Kamchatka, Russia. The last eruption of Ksudach was in 1907, which was one of the largest ever recorded in Kamchatka. The summit area comprises overlapping calderas. Two lakes, Balshoe and Kraternoe, are located within calderas at the summit of Ksudach. These lakes, along with hot springs and the surrounding wilderness, make the Ksudach Volcano region a popular trekking destination. In the event of renewed volcanic activity, its remote location minimizes its potential hazard to humans.
Kamchatka is the place where one could watch the way our planet was born. Isn't it worth to be visited for it?
This is one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world, with a high density of active volcanoes, a variety of types, and a wide range of related features. The Kamchatka Volcanoes is a landscape of exceptional natural beauty with its large symmetrical volcanoes, lakes, wild rivers and spectacular coastline. It also contains superlative natural phenomena in the form of salmon spawning areas and major concentrations of wildlife (e.g. seabird colonies) along the coastal zone of the Bering Sea. Kluchevskoy Nature Park contributes very significantly to the site as a whole meeting criterion.
The Kamchatka Volcanoes contain an especially diverse range of palearctic flora (including a number of nationally threatened species and at least 16 endemics), and bird species such as the Stellar’s Sea Eagle (50% of world population), white tailed eagle, gyr falcon and peregrine falcon, which are attracted to the availability of spawning salmon. The rivers inside and adjacent to the site contain the world’s greatest known diversity of salmonid fish. All 11 species coexist in several of Kamchatka’s rivers.
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