VOLCANOES OF KAMCHATKA
Pyroclastic flow from Kizimen Kamchatka is the only part of Russia located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. It boasts 300 conical volcanoes, crater lakes and natural hot springs and has more volcanic earthquakes and eruptions than almost anywhere on earth. It is home to Asia's largest and most active volcano. The lava fields that surround many of the volcanoes served as training areas for the Soviet Union's planned missions to the moon. Life is found in the boiling springs on Kamchatka Peninsula. The springs are not just hot. Some are as acidic as battery acid. Some are alkaline. Some have high concentrations of arsenic. [Sources: Bryan Hodgson, National Geographic, April 1994; Jeremy Schmidt, National Geographic, August 2001.
According to volcanodiscovery.com: The Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) is one of the most volcanically active volcanic places on earth, second only perhaps to Iceland and Hawaii. In this part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", there are over 100 active volcanoes (the Smithsonian Institution lists 109) and about 30 volcanoes that have erupted recently, in addition to hundreds of smaller monogenetic vents (i.e. that have formed during one single eruption) The active volcanoes form a 700-km long volcanic belt from Shiveluch in the north to Kambalny in the south. The vigorous volcanism on Kamchatka, like that of the adjacent Aleutian and Kurile island arcs, is produced by the subduction of the Pacific plate under the E margin of the Eurasian plate. [Source: volcanodiscovery.com]
Volcanoes of Kamchatka attract scientists and tourists from around the world. The peninsula is a zone of modern volcanism. Tenth part of all the fire-breathing mountains of the planet is located here. There are about 1000 volcanoes in Kamchatka, 30 of them are active. There are giants with different types of eruptions on the peninsula: some giants pour out fiery lava, others throw out pillars of volcanic ash to the sky, others squeeze viscous magma blocks out of the bowels. The Itelmen, a group of people indigenous to Kamchatka, believed that volcanoes were occupied by gomuls ("ghosts") who caused eruption s when they became hungry and left the mountain in search of a whale to eat. The fire and smoke is caused by the massive bonfire used to cook the whale.
See Separate Articles VOLCANO COMPONENTS, STRUCTURE AND ACTIVITY factsanddetails.com ; TYPES OF VOLCANOES factsanddetails.com ; VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS: TYPES, PHASES AND CAUSES factsanddetails.com ; DESTRUCTIVE ERUPTIONS: LAHARS, PYROCLASTIC FLOWS AND GLACIAL BURSTS factsanddetails.com ;
Websites and Sources on Volcanoes: USGS Volcanoes volcanoes.usgs.gov ; Volcano World volcano.oregonstate.edu ; Volcanoes.com volcanoes.com ; Wikipedia Volcano article Wikipedia , Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program volcano.si.edu operated by the Smithsonian has descriptions of volcanoes around the globe and a catalog of over 8,000 eruptions in the last 10,000 years.
200 or So Kamchatka Volcanoes
Volcanoes of Kamchatka: Aak, Adamozhets, Akademia Nauk, Akhtang, Alney-Chashakondzha, Alngey, Anaun, Avachinsky, Bakening, Baraniy, Bely, Bliznets, Bliznetsy, Bogachensky, Bolshaya Ipelka, Bolshaya Romanovka, Bolshoi Payalpan, Bolshoi Semiachik, Bolshoi-Kekuknaysky, Bolshoy Chekchebonay, Bolshoy Ketepana, Bolshoy Kozyrevsky, Bongabti, Buduli, Chavycha, Cherny, Cherpuk Group, Ded i Baba, Ditmara, Dvukhyurtochny, Dzenzursky, Eggella, Elovsky, Etopan, Fedotych, Gamchen, Geodesistoy, Gorely, Gorny Institute, Ichinsky, Iettunup, Igolki, Iktunup, Iult, Kaileney, Kalgauch, Kamenisty, Karymsky, Kavychinsky, Kebeney, Kekurny, Keveney, Khailyulya, Khalzan-Shapochka, Khangar, Kharchinsky, Khuvkhoitun, Kikhiikhylkhangei, Kikhpinych, Kimitina, Kinenin, Kireunsky, Kitkhoysky, Kizimen, Kobalan, Komarov, Konechnaya, Konradi, Kopkan, Koryaksky, Koshegochek, Kostakan, Kozyrevsky, Krainy, Krasheninnikov, Kronotsky, Krugliy, Kulkev, Kunkhilok, Kupol, Kurgannaya, Kuzanek, Kuzheten, Langtutkin, Lauchachan, Leutongey, Leviy Koshegochek, Lyzyk, Malaya Ipelka, Malaya Ketepana. [Source: www.volcanodiscovery.com]
Maly Alney, Maly Chekchebonay, Maly Payalpan, Maly Semiachik, Mezhdusopochny, Mutny, Nachikinsky, Nikolka, Nosichan, Nylgimelkin, Ochchamo, Ostry, Ovalny, Perevalny, Perevalovyi, Piip, Pik, Pirozhnikova, Ploskiy, Plosky, Plosky (Bolshaya Kimitina River), Pogranychny, Pribrezhny, Prodolny, Razlaty, Romanovka, Savan, Schmidt, Sedankinsky, Severny, Shemodogan, Shish, Shisheika, Shishel, Shlen, Skalistiy, Skalistiy, Snegovoy, Snezhniy, Sokol, Spokoiny, Sredniy Koshegochek, Taunshits, Tekletunup, Terpuk, Tigilsky, Titila, Tolmachev, Tretya Rechka, Tumanniy, Tumrok, Tuzovsky, Tynua, Uchkoren, Udochka, Uka, Uksichan, Ulvaney, Unana, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed 55.92°N/161.75°E, Unnamed 56.82°N/158.95°E, Uspensky, Uzon, Veer, Verkhovoy, Vershinsky, Vodorazdelny, Vostochnaya Khodutka, Voyampolsky, Vysokii, Vysoky, Yanpat, Zaozerny, Zarechny, Zavaritsky, Zheltiy, Zhupanovskiye Vostriyaky, Zhupanovsky
Central Kamchatka Depression (8 volcanoes): Bezymianny, Kamen, Klyuchevskoy, Shiveluch, Tolbachik, Udina, Ushkovsky, Zimina
Southern Kamchatka (29 volcanoes): Asacha, Barkhatnaya Sopka, Belenkaya, Bolshe-Bannaya, Diky Greben, Golaya, Ilyinsky, Kambalny, Kell, Khodutka, Koshelev, Ksudach, Kurile Lake, Mashkovtsev, Mutnovsky, Olkoviy Volcanic Group, Opala, Ostanets, Otdelniy, Ozernoy, Piratkovsky, Tolmachev Dol, Unnamed 52.57°N/157.02°E, Unnamed 52.88°N/158.30°E, Unnamed 52.92°N/158.52°E, Vilyuchik, Visokiy, Yavinsky, Zheltovsky
Volcanoes of Kamchatka: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Volcanoes of Kamchatka was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and because volcanoes occupy a good portion of the Kamchatka peninsula, almost the whole peninsula was implicitly named a World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO: “ 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 six sites included in the serial designation group together the majority of volcanic features of the Kamchatka peninsula. The interplay of active volcanoes and glaciers forms a dynamic landscape of great beauty. The sites contain great species diversity, including the world's largest known variety of salmonoid fish and exceptional concentrations of sea otter, brown bear and Stellar's sea eagle. [Source: UNESCO]
The six sites included in the serial designation are: 1) Kronotsky Strict Nature Reserve; 2) Southern Kamchatka Wildlife Reserve; 3) Nalychevo Regional Nature Park; 4) Bystrinsky Regional Nature Park; 5) Southern Kamchatka Regional Nature Park; and 6)Kluchevskoy Regional Nature Park
The Kamchatka Volcanoes is a landscape of exceptional natural beauty with its large symmetrical volcanoes, lakes, wild rivers and spectacular coastline. The Peninsula location between a large continental landmass and the Pacific Ocean also exhibits unique characteristics with major concentrations of wildlife. It 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.
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 percent 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.
History of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka
The natural history of the Kamchatka Peninsula can be seen as a confrontation between volcanic forces, weather and the Pacific Ocean.During the past 10,000 years, at least about 30 very large (so-called Plinian) eruptions — eruptions that have ejected more than one cubic kilometer of magma — have occurred in Kamchatka, making it by far the most volcanically active place on earth based on the greatest frequency of large explosive eruptions.
Several years ago, a giant supervolcano crater was discovered on the peninsula. Its open caldera extends from the upper reaches of the Paratunka River to the Bath Sources. Scientists believe that these sources are heated by an ancient volcano that erupted on colossal scale 1.5 million years ago. The area around Yellowstone is another giant caldera of a supervolcano.
Kamchatka residents have witnessed grandiose eruptions since ancient times, Indigenous people have myths about terrible burning of Kamchatka hills by the Kamchadals evil spirits — inhabitants of “fire yurts”. V olcanic ash saturated with chemical elements, regularly falling in the vicinity of Klyuchevsky, Bezymyanniy and Shiveluch, allows residents of local villages to grow record-size vegetables. But these these volcanoes have also caused great hardship. However, the inhabitants of Kamchatka are used to their fiery neighbors and sound proud when they tell about the unique nature of the region.
Eruptions and Activity Kamchatka Volcanoes
The volcanoes in Kamchatka are very active. The inhabitants of the peninsula are accustomed to the eruptions of the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes, which includes Klyuchevskoy, the highest volcano in Eurasia. Its neighbor is the most predictable Kamchatka volcano — Bezimyanniy, which erupts twice a year, as if its on schedule. There are a total of 14 volcanoes in the group. Their huge size, dense clustering in a relatively small area, and their pronounced and diverse manifestations of activity attract the interes of scientists, tourists and climbers and makes the group of volcanoes one of the largest and most intense volcanic centers in the world.
The most active volcano of Kamchatka is the constantly erupting Karymsky volcano. An eruption on Karymasky Volcano in September 2004 sent a plume of ash four kilometers into the sky. It had been active since April 2004, producing as many as 400 minor eruptions a day. The eruptions were occurring at intervals of 1½ minutes and 15 minutes, sometime producing large volcanic “bombs.” No people were threatened by the eruptions but there were worries that ash plumes could disrupt air traffic in the area.
In March 2003, Sheveluch Volcano erupted producing large quantities of ash, some of which flowed down the slopes and threatened to disrupt road traffic on the Kamchatka peninsula for the first time since 1956. Also in 2003, Koryaksky Volcano erupted for the first tine since 1956. In February 2005, three volcanoes—Sheveluch, Klyuchevskaya Sopka and Bezymyanny—roared to life at the same time. Ash from Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest volcano in Europe and Asia, rained ash on the town of Kluchi, 30 kilometers away.
The most unusual volcano is Small Semyachik. There's an acid lake in one of the craters of this volcano. The temperature of this opaque lake ranges from 27 to 42 degrees Celsius, and the level of mineralization corresponds to a solution of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids of medium concentration. The unusual azure color of the water is striking, as the lake’s size: about half a kilometer wide and 140 meters deep. The most mysterious volcano is Plosky Tolbachik. On its slopes are fantastic landscapes, where the first Soviet moon rovers were tested.
The volcanoes in Kamchatka are unusual in that they emit CFCs such as chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and Freon 11 and 112. It was previously thought that these ozone-depleting gases resulted only from human action. The chemicals are created by reactions with vegetation, sediments and fossil fuels with chlorine and fluoride minerals. The full impact of these chemical on the environment is not known,.
A volcano is like a giant flask, where chemical substances mix, heat and react according to the laws of nature that are not completely understood. After the eruption, many volcanoes go silent for years and come to the stage of fumarolic activity. Fumarola is a gas stream with a temperature of 300 to 800 degrees C. Outputs of vapors and gases with a lower temperature are called solfataram. Fumaroles containing hydrogen sulphide, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide in addition to water vapor, change the rocks beyond recognition. Acid rivers enriched with iron and aluminum flow on the ground; sulfur crystallizes on the stones near the fumaroles; zinc, lead, arsenic, and mercury deposits are formed in some places.
Climbing the Volcanoes of Kamchatka
Klyuchevskoy, Koryaksky and Kronotsky are regarded as the most beautiful volcanoes on Kamchatka peninsula. The so-called “home volcanoes” — Avachinsky, Koryaksky and Kozelsky — are located 30 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital and main city in Kamchatka. They are visible from almost all parts of the city. Many people see Kmachatka’s volcanoes not only when they arrive by airplane in Kamchatka when it lands but also on flights between Asia and North America that fly over Kamchatka and Alaska.
Most of the volcanoes and geysers and other places of interest in Kamchatka are in the nature reserves, for which you need permission to visit. To try and take care of the paperwork yourself to get the necessary permits can be quite formidable and thus it is pretty hard to avoid using the services of tour operator or travel company. The easiest way to summit one is to go to the so-called domestic volcanoes, located just outside Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky has been described as the volcanic capital of Russia. It is the only urban area in Russia — one of the few in the world — surrounded by three volcanoes. Local people call their town “home of volcanoes”. The three volcanoes — 3456-meter (11,338-foot) -high Koriaksky Volcano, 2,751-meter (9,025-foot) -high Avchinsky Volcano and Kozelsky — can be seen from almost any place in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It is possible to climb Koriaksky and Avchinsky volcanoes. There are established trails but you need a guide, ice ax and crampons. Both have volcanoes erupted since 1990
Different volcanoes can be climbed. Depending on the volcano, a tour can take from one to three days, and cost from 8,000 to 32,000 rubles. Plosky Tolbachik has the most interesting landscape, with massive hardened lava flows, cave formations and dead forests. Russian and Soviet rovers were tested here. On a multi-day tour to Tolbachik, tourists spend the nights in tents.
Avacha Volcanic Ridge and Volcanoes Near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Avacha Volcanic Ridge (30 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky) contains two active and three extinct volcanoes. The active volcanoes are 3456-meter (11,338-foot) -high Koriaksky Volcano, 2,751-meter-high Avchinsky Volcano. Avchinsky is also known as the Avachinskaya Sopka (Avacha) and Koriaksky can be spelled Koryakskiy and other ways. The extinct peaks are Arik, Aag, and Kozelskiy.
Avacha Volcano has a a perfect, regular cone and is 2,751 meters (9,025) feet high. From the top of the volcano, you can see a magnificent panorama of the giant cone of Koryak, the largest volcano of the Avacha group. To the north lie the upper reaches of the Nalychevo River. Behind them are mountain ridges. To the east, you can see Kozelskiy. To the south is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and the ocean.
Until recently, the Avacha volcano was among the most active on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was formed several thousand years ago, and its regular cone was higher than Koryak’s. Huge explosions demolished the upper part and formed the caldera with a diameter of about four kilometers. Five thousand years ago, a new cone began to emerge from the bottom of the caldera. Its modern-day structure makes Avacha a so-called double volcano. Since the early 20th century, there have been eruptions in 1901, 1909-1910, 1926-1927, 1938, 1945, and 1991. In 2001, there was a single ashy outbreak.
Kozelsk Volcano (part of the Avacha group, 25 kilometers west of the coast of the Pacific Ocean) is a 2190-meter-high extinct volcano that has been extensively eroded. The volcano has a complex construction with a large crater, destroyed and open towards the east. In the same direction a small glacier descends from the crater. It waters help form Mutnushka River. The slopes of the volcano are pitted with potholes. The southeastern part is blocked by lava flows of varying degrees of preservation. Black Diamond (Carbonado) — a unique mineral found in only a few places in the world in small quantities — is found on Kozelsk. At the foot of the volcano at a height of 850 meters is base camp used for the summer training of skiers and as a practice area for intermediate level climbers.
Mutnovsky Volcano (75 kilometers south of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy) is one of the largest and most active volcanoes on Kamchatka. Reaching a height of 2322 meters, it consists of a number of active craters on a single massif. In the craters of Mutnovsky one can see bubbling sulfur pots, hot gas jets fumarole fields, beautiful waterfalls of melting glaciers. Some volcano lovers and explorers have climbed the volcano to explore its steaming and sulfur-encrusted fumeroles. To get really close to the action you need a gas mask. One visitor wrote in Time magazine that his group braved storms and cold weather to reach the summit. “The spectacle was worth the effort: a vast crater licked by glaciers, steaming vents encrusted with yellow sulfur crystals, sputtering mud holes and a turquoise acidic lake.” There were major eruptions in 1994. In March 2000, a steam eruption from one of the craters caused a 65-foot-in-diameter, highly-acidic green lake to form in a large glacier.
Volcano Vilyuchinsky (altitude 2173 meters) is located immediately behind Avacha Bay. It is an extinct volcano. The peak and the top of the fissures are filled with ice and tightly packed snow throughout the year. Due to its proximity to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Vilyuchinsky, is popular with skiers and snowboarders. At the foot of the volcano, in the southeastern part, there are hot springs.
Koryak Volcano (35 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky) is part of the Avacha group and is located to the northwest of Avacha volcano. It is a typical stratovolcano, composed of a plurality of layers of hardened lava, with a regular ribbed cone. The summit cut is to the west. The uppermost peak is 3,456 meters (11,338-feet) high.
The crater of Koryak (also called Koryaksky) has a diameter of about 500 meters. Two glaciers run down the northeastern slope in deep furrows from the crater. The first glacier is one kilometer long, the second is 4.2 kilometers in length. Situated in the western part of the summit is the remains of a cup-shaped crater with a diameter of 180-200 meters. The crater is open to the south and a small, relatively fresh lava stream flows down from it.
One of the biggest eruptions of lava took place in 1896. Until 1955, the volcano showed no signs of activity, with the exception of very light steaming from the crater. In 1955, the fumarolic activity increased sharply, and at the end of the same year, under the pressure of internal gas, a crack about 500 meters long and 10-15 meters wide appeared on the western slope. A long trail of fumes and gases burst out of the crack with a loud noise. There is some steaming from this crack even now. Also in 2003, Koryak erupted for the first tine since 1956. In December 2008, local residents witnessed the release of ashes and gases. The smoke plume stretched for nearly a hundred kilometers.
Northern Kamchatka Volcanoes and Their Simultaneous Eruptions
Shiveluch is the northernmost volcano on Kamchatka peninsula. Other major volcanoes in the north include Bezymianny, Tolbachik and Kizimen These volcanoes are separated by only 180 kilometers (110 miles). The Central Kamchatka Depression of this region contains eight active volcanoes: Bezymianny, Kamen, Klyuchevskoy, Shiveluch, Tolbachik, Udina, Ushkovsky and Zimina. In February 2005, Klyuchevskaya Sopka and Bezymyanny oared to life at the same time. Ash from Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest volcano in Europe and Asia, rained ash on the town of Kluchi, 30 kilometers away.
On January 11, 2013, Shiveluch, Bezymianny, Tolbachik and Kizimen they all erupted simultaneously. According to NASA: “The activity of these four volcanoes was captured during a single orbit by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.
The Shiveluch and Bezymianny eruptions are both characterized by growing lava domes—thick, pasty lava that forms a mound as it is extruded. Tolbachik, one of the few shield volcanoes on Kamchatka, is erupting in a dramatically different manner. The thin, runny lava flows easily, forming low and broad flows similar to those in Hawaii.
Kizimen’s lava is not as viscous as that at Shiveluch and Bezymianny, but not as fluid as Tolbachik’s. The intermediate lava forms thick, blocky flows bordered by tall levees. Rocks and ash frequently fall from Kizimen’s summit and the fresh lava flow on its eastern flank, creating dark, fan-shaped debris deposits.
Klyuchevskoy and Karymsky are two other very active volcanoes. In April, 2019, they and Shiveluch erupted on the same day. Cap Allon wrote for electroverse.net: “The explosive activity witnessed over the last few months at Shiveluch increased... The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Anchorage warned of a large volcanic ash plume rising to 34,000 feet (10.4km), or flight level 330, and moving 50 kts in an ENE direction. Particulates ejected to altitudes above 32,800 feet (10km), and into the stratosphere, have a direct cooling effect on the planet. [Source: Cap Allon, electroverse.net, April 12, 2019]
“The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Tokyo warned of a volcanic ash plume rising to 17,000 feet (5.2km), or flight level 170, from Klyuchevskoy volcano, moving at 10 kts in a NE direction. Explosive activity is also occurring at Karymsky volcano, a stratovolcano standing 5,039 ft (1536 m) high...On April 11 a volcanic ash plume climbing to an estimated 10,000 feet (3km) was reported by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Tokyo.
Sheveluch Volcano (600 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy) is the most northerly active volcano of Kamchatka and one of the largest on the peninsula. Its is 3283 meters high and is regarded as one of most active volcanoes on Kamchatka along with Klyuchevsky, Karymsky and Bezymianny. The nearest settlement to Sheveluch is Klyuchi, about 50 kilometers from the mountain. The settlement is small enough to evacuate rapidly in case of a major eruption. The volcano can be climbed with basic rock and snow climbing skills.
Shiveluch and Karymsky are Kamchatka's largest, and most active and most continuous erupting volcanoes. Shiveluch belongs to the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. It has an ancient caldera and is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of solidified ash, hardened lava and volcanic rocks. Shiveluch began forming about 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. It highest point is 3,307 meters (10,850 feet).
Volcano Sheveluch is a huge, consisting of cones of different ages and compositions, furrowed valleys, dips and craters existed for many hundreds of thousands of years and still continues to produce large and catastrophic eruptions. Sheveluch has two main parts: Old and Young Sheveluch. Old Sheveluch is crowned by a large caldera. At the bottom of the caldera is the current Young Sheveluch. The very active Young Shiveluch is 2,800 meter (9,186 feet) high.
Shiveluch Volcano Eruptions
Major catastrophic eruptions occur at Shiveluch Volcano every 100 to 300 years. One of the strongest recent volcanic eruption was in 1964, when the volcano expelled a of ash to a height of 15 kilometers, and the torrents of mud and volcanic rock debris traveled 20 kilometers. An explosive cloud moved toward the ocean, bright lightning cut through it. The territory to the east of the volcano was plunged into darkness. Ash piled up in some places to a height of several tens of meters. All forests and shrubs in the heavy ash and lahar zones were either buried or burned, and all life that were not able to fly or run away, killed. Weak and moderate eruption forces occur quite frequently: once or twice a year there are intense bursts of activity, the volcano emits pillars of ash up to 11 kilometers.
Shiveluch Volcano it has had at least 60 large eruptions since its birth 70,000 years ago. The era, the most active period of volcanism — including frequent large and moderate eruptions — occurred around 6500–6400 BC, 2250–2000 BC, and AD 50–650. This coincides with the peak of activity in other Kamchatka volcanoes. The current active period started around 900 BC. Since then, the large and moderate eruptions have been following each other at 50 to 400 year-long intervals. Catastrophic eruptions took place in 1854 and 1956, when a large part of the lava dome collapsed and created a devastating debris avalanche.
The most recent eruption of Young Shiveluch started on August 15, 1999, and continues as of 2018. In March 2003, Sheveluch Volcano erupted producing large quantities of ash, some of which flowed down the slopes and threatened to disrupt road traffic on the Kamchatka peninsula for the first time since 1956. In February 2005, three volcanoes—Sheveluch, Klyuchevskaya Sopka and Bezymyanny—roared to life at the same time. Ash from Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest volcano in Europe and Asia, rained ash on the town of Kluchi, 30 kilometers away.
Since the beginning of 2009, the activity of the volcano began to increase. From time to time Sheveluch emits pillars of ash to a height of 10 kilometers. Based on the increase in seismic activity, scientists drew the conclusion that at the moment is "preparing" for another powerful eruption. On February 27, 2015 Shiveluch erupted shooting ash into the atmosphere about 10 kilometers (30,000 feet) that crossed the Bering sea and into Alaska.
Sheveluch produced a massive eruption in August 2019, sending an ash cloud 21.3 kilometers (70,000 feet) into the atmosphere, practically on the edge of out space, and ejecting enough material to possibly produce global cooling. Electroverse.net reported: “The recent strong explosive activity at Kamchatka (Shiveluch) volcano, Russia climaxed over the weekend as a VEI 5/6 monster of an eruption rocked the mountain, and there’s likely more to come. The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Anchorage reported on a volcanic ash plume rising to a staggering 70,000 ft (21300 m) and moving at 10 kts in NNE direction — particulates ejected to altitudes above 32,800 feet (10km), and into the stratosphere, have a direct cooling effect on the planet. This eruption at Shiveluch produced a “huge stratospheric injection” says Diamond, of the Oppenheimer Ranch Project. “We’re talking Plinian, Ultra-Plinian — one of the largest eruptions of the last decade.” [Source: Cap Allon, Electroverse.net, August 26, 2019]
Kronotsky Lake Volcanoes
Kronotsky Volcano (300 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy) is located in the most southern part of Gamchenskogo group of volcanoes on the shores of Lake Kronotsky. This place is especially loved by tourists because of the combination of beautiful views of the volcano and lake. Kronotski is 3528 meters high. Its base is 16 kilometers in diameter. The volcano has a regular conical shape. The top is covered with a white ice cap. Glacial tongues produce furrows, cutting through the slopes of the volcano, starting from a height of 2,500 meters and at a height of 1,000-1,200 meters reaching a maximum depth of 200 meters. The foot of the volcano is covered by dense forest, consisting mainly of stone birch. In the vicinity are 52 species of mammals, 221 species of birds and 852 species of insects. Currently Kronotskiy is considered an active volcano. The southern slopes are marked with fumarole cracks and holes, which emit jets of hot water jet and gas. The last major eruption occurred in 1922-1923.
Krasheninnikov Volcano (near Kronotsky Volcano, 13 kilometers south of Lake Kronotsky) is located in the Eastern volcanic belt of the Kamchatka region. It has two merged cones, situated in a collapsed caldera, produced by a catastrophic eruption that ejected 50 cubic kilometers of material. The diameter of the caldera is nine kilometers and is 400 meters deep.The southern cone is 1857 meters high, 850 meters relative to the landscape. The northern cone is 1760 meters high, 760 meters relative to the landscape. The southern cone crater is 800 meters in diameter and 140 meters deep. The younger northern cone has a complicated telescopic structure. It is flanked by two-kilometer caldera peak, inside of which is a medium-size cone. In the crater is a lava cone.
Volcano Kizimen (near Kronotsky Volcano, north of Lake Kronotsky) is the only volcano located on the western slope of the southern tip of the Tumrok ridge. This conical-shaped stratovolcano is 2485 meters high. The summit crater is weakly expressed. The slopes are covered with loose pyroclastic formations, indented barranco, complicated lava flows krupnoglybovogo nature, glaciers, and potholes.
The formation of a volcano occurred in three cycles: extrusive in Paleolithic and two explosive events in the last 12,000 years. The extrusive cycle represented by andesite, lava and pyroclastics; the second cycle, by amphibole, pyroxene andesite-breed; and the third cycle by olivin-pyroxene basalts. The only known eruption occurred in 1927-1928. All of the volcano is under active fumarole-solfatara activities. Active solfataras fumarole outputs can be found on the northeastern slope, 300 meters from the top. The temperature at the fumarole is 230-240°C. The gas composition is SO2, H2S, HF, HCI, CO, etc. Outputs solfataras are surrounded by accumulation of sulfur in the form of crusts domes.. The volcano is located near Schapinskih thermal springs, which tourists visit.
Klyuchevskaya Volcano (500 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy) is the largest volcano in Asia, Europe and the northern hemisphere and one of most active volcanoes in the world. It is 4835 meters (15,584 feet) high and less than 10,000 years old and still growing. It consistently produces eruptions of fire and ash and discourages 60 million tons of basalt a year. An eruption in 1994 was so large that flight traffic from North America to Asia was disrupted, Most climbers stay off of it, and climb its dormant neighbor, Kamen, instead.
Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi and other ways) is a mammoth, layered, stratovolcano that serves as the centerpiece of the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes, which includes Bezimyanniy, Stone, Ushkovsky, Sharp and Flat, Tolbachik, Unnamed, Krestovsky, Big and Small Udine, and oval and flat Zimin volcanoes.There are a total of 14 volcanoes in the group. Their huge size, dense clustering in a relatively small area, and their pronounced and diverse manifestations of activity attract the interes of scientists, tourists and climbers and makes the group of volcanoes one of the largest and most intense volcanic centers in the world. Klyuchevskoy’s neighbor, Bezimyanniy, is the most predictable Kamchatka volcano, erupting relatively predictably twice a year.
Klyuchevskoy is very young. It was formed only about 7000 years ago and by some measures second in the world in terms of activity after Hawaii’s Kilauea. Researchers cite different data for the volcano height — from 4649 to 4850 meters. This is due to the unprecedented activity on the peak. Huge amount of lava are constantly erupted, solidifying and piling up on the slopes and crater, increasing the size and height of the volcano. .
The name of the volcano comes from the nearby Keys settlement and Klyuchevka River. The Klyuchevskoy group is part of the Eastern Kamchatka volcanic belt, with more than 120 volcanoes In the village of Keys is seismological station.
Klyuchevskoy has a typical explosive, strombolian eruption style, with lava sometimes flowing from fissure vents. Over the past 300 years, there have been more than 50 eruptions. In the 20th century it showed strong activity 15 times. Based on reports by locals there were occasions when the volcano spewed fire flame continuously for four years (1727-1731). Sizable ash emissions occur two or three times per year and do not surprise anyone. Large eruptions usually occur once in 25 years. In 2005, an explosion of ash rose to a record height of eight kilometers.
In February 2005, three volcanoes—Sheveluch, Klyuchevskaya Sopka and Bezymyanny—roared to life at the same time. Ash from Klyuchevskaya Sopka rained ash on the town of Kluchi, 30 kilometers away.
Klyuchevskoy Nature Park
Klyuchevskoy Nature Park is one of the most beautiful nature parks in Kamchatka and is an integral part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in 1999, the park covers an area of 3760 square kilometers and includes 12 volcanic cones, 400 side eruptions vents, 47 glaciers and hundreds lava flows. Lengthy eruptions produced extensive lava plateaus. This is the most massive volcanic massif on Kamchatka Peninsula. Esso (near Klyuchevskaya Sopka) is a village that has become a modest tourist center...
The volcanoes in park are between 7,000 and 50,000 years old..They include Klyuchevskoy, Bezimyanniy, Stone, Ushkovsky, Sharp and Flat, Tolbachik, Unnamed, Krestovsky, Big and Small Udine, and oval and flat Zimin volcanoes. Flora and fauna found in the park includes 400 species of plants,. calving bighorn sheep, colonies of black-capped marmots, capercaillie, wolverine, lynx, Kamchatka brown bear and elk. On the southern slope of Klyuchevskoy at the source of the river Studená is a wonderful natural monument "Edelweiss Glade". This is one of the few habitats of edelweiss in Kamchatka. Hunting and fishing are permitted with a license.
Stone Woodpile (in Klyuchevskoy Nature Park, 50 kilometers from the village of Keys) is a group of basalt pillars that were formed from magma that split when it cooled and cracked, forming columns with pentagonal components. They were formed thousands of years ago during the eruption. On the landscape around the basalt columns, ocal historian Vladimir Semenov wrote in his book "On the Volcanoes and the Hot Springs of Kamchatka": "Just east of the dam starts flat, wide up to a kilometer valley, bordered on the north slopes of the Nameless and the array Zimin - from the south. The bottom of the valley is cut by a network of crinkly dry river beds, covered with sand, debris and lava is a typical fragment of a dead landscape volcanic region. In the upper reaches of the dry river, for some reason called on the key card tundra lies a lake, pours in the summer and disappearing in the winter. Not so long ago here in the old lava streams inhabited sizeable colony of marmots. Whistling them came from all directions. "
Bezymyannaya Volcano and Its Massive Eruption
Bezymyannaya Volcano (in the central part Klyuchevskoy group to the southwest of Klyuchevskoy volcano) is a young volcano, located on the remains of an ancient ruined summit. Bezymyannaya Volcano (Unnamed Volcano) was considered inactive until 1955, when it began shaking and spew out steam. On March 30, 1956 it exploded, destroying an old volcano so that only a small fragment remained in the southeastern part. A pillar of ash over the top of an erupting volcano shot up to a height of 35 kilometers. As a result of the explosion of the volcano lost 250 meters from its top and now stands at about 2886 meters.
The 1956 eruption of Bezymyannaya is considered one of largest eruptions in historic times. The volcano exploded with a force equaling Mt. St Helens. Trees were flattened for 25 kilometers miles and a huge cloud of ash spread first to Alaska and then around the globe. Like Mt. St. Helens the explosion began with giant avalanche that was followed by a blast out of the side of the mountain, leaving behind a giant horseshoe-crater. The volcano has erupted periodically since then.
Bezymyannaya is now regarded as one of the most active volcanoes on Kamchatka along with Klyuchevsky, Shiveluch and Karymsky. After 1956, there have been more than 50 episodes of volcanic activity, taking place at intervals of three months to 2-3 years. In February 2005, Sheveluch, Klyuchevskaya Sopka and Bezymyanny came to life at the same time. Volcanic ash saturated with chemical elements, regularly falling in the vicinity of Klyuchevsky, Bezymyanniy and Shiveluch, allows residents of local villages to grow record-size vegetables. But these these volcanoes have also caused great hardship.
The top of Bezymyannaya volcano offers magnificent views of Stone, Klyuchevskoy and Oval Zimin volcanoes. Due to the high concentration of toxic gas and relatively frequent eruptions, visits to the volcano are not recommended unless you have special equipment Describing the action around the crater in 2001, Jeremy Schmidt wrote in National Geographic, "We hiked through soft ash, sinking knee-deep at times, climbed heaps of shattered rocks, and scrambled in and out of ragged gorges. Through wind and whipping clouds we climbed to the crater’s broken rim and looked over. The inner cliffs dropped hundreds of feet to a circular channel ringing a new mountain rising for the ruins of the old — a huge dome of smoking rock, its summit tower above us...On the floor of the channel sprawled a field of ice and snow-blackened by cinders and split by crevasses that gaped white in the enveloping mists. As we clung to the sharp edge, the dome hurled showers of rock from its steep sides. When large boulders hit the ice below, they left white wound in the dark surface,"
Tolbachik Volcano and the Dead Forest
Tolbachik Volcano (400 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy) is arguably the most fantastic volcano is Kamchatka. It slopes are covered with lava flows that give the mountain an unworldly appearance. The first Soviet moon rovers were tested here. When Tolbachik erupted in 1975 it produced multicolored lightning and sent lumps of liquid lava flying through the air.
Tolbachik volcanoes consists of two volcanoes: 3085-meter-high Plosky (Flat) Tolbachik and 3,682-meter-high Ostry (Sharp) Tolbachik. They form a large volcanic massif, which occupies the entire southwestern part of Klyuchevskoy group of volcanoes. The solid base here come from a mid-Pleistocene age shield volcano 22 kilometers in diameter and composed of olivine-pyroxene and plagioclase basalts and basaltic andesites. On top of this pedestal, at the end of the Upper Pleistocene period, Sharp and Flat Tolbachik grew as two fused stratovolcano Sharp Tolbachik stratovolcano has a sharp, icy top. It is considered extinct. Flat Tolbachik stratovolcano Is composed of interbedded lavas and slag, with cut radial dikes. Its top is a cut away Hawaiian-type caldera with a diameter of three kilometers.
Dead Forest is adjacent to the North and South breakthroughs of Big Tolbachik eruption fissures. During the eruption of Tolbachik in 1975-1976 approximately 40 square kilometers of taiga around the volcano was burned by hot lava. Another area not directly affected by the lava flows was smothered by a thick layer of ash and slag. As a result, all the vegetation died, leaving only the black skeletons of the strongest trees. Although much of the forest has recovered much of the landscape is still barren rock.
Landscapes of the Dead Forests, terrain and soil conditions reminded Soviet scientists of lunar surface. Near the foot of Flat Tolbachik volcano a secret test site was established where the Lunokhod-1 lunar rover was tested. Later a different site for testing lunar and planetary vehicles was chosen and Tolbachik test site was abandoned. The last remnants of the "moon" base disappeared under lava during the eruption Flat Tolbachik in 2012.
Central Kamchatka’s Volcanoes
Big Semyachik (240 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy) is located in the central part of the Eastern volcanic belt of Kamchatka. This volcanic massif has 15 kilometer-in-diameter base. Reaching a height of 1739 meters, it is comprised of seven stratovolcanoes. The largest — Big Semyachik — is also called Catfish. Once this volcano was a perfect cone that stood about 3,000 meters high but wind, rains and glaciers have gradually destroyed the cone and whittled this long-extinct volcano down to its current size. There are active volcanoes in the massif. Central Semyachik is very active. The large area between Central Semyachik and Big Semyachik them — the so-called Floating Valley — is covered with boiling pools, streams of steam, mud fountains and hissing, gurgling and burping hot springs and fumaroles.
Small Semyachik (15 kilometers northeast of Karymsky Volcano and 20 kilometers to the west of Kronotski Bay) is 1560 meters high and a member of the Karymskaya group of volcanoes. The most unusual thing about Small Semyachik is its milky blue acid lake in one of the craters of this volcano. The temperature of this opaque lake ranges from 27 to 42 degrees Celsius, and the level of mineralization corresponds to a solution of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids of medium concentration. Not only the unusual azure color is striking, but also the dimensions of the lake: about half a kilometer wide, and the depth is up to 140 meters.
The Small Semyachik volcanic complex consists of three closely merged stratovolcano cones: Paleo-Semyachik, Meso-Semyachik and Kain-Semyachik. Paleo Semyachik — the oldest one — located in the northeastern part of the massif. It has badly eroded and damaged top overlain by a glacier. Meso-Semyachik occupies the central portion of the array has a well-preserved half buried crater of loose material. Cain-Semyachik marks the southwest end of the massif. Its top is is comprised of craters superimposed on one another, the youngest being the crater with the acid lake with hydrofluoric acid, hydrogen chloride, hydrochloric acid and sulfur dioxide.
Karymasky Volcano (150 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy, near Valley of the Geysers) is one of most active volcano of the world. It is almost constantly erupting and its grey slopes and a circle around its base are almost devoid of plant life. Karymsky is a stratovolcano standing 1536 meters (5,039 feet) high. It produced a lava lake in 1996 that emerged from a water lake, killing all the aquatic life it. Since 1996 the volcano has spits out ash in small eruptions every ten minute or so.
A major eruption on Karymasky Volcano in September 2004 sent a plume of ash four kilometers into the sky. It had been active since April 2004, producing as many as 400 minor eruptions a day. The eruptions were occurring at intervals of 1½ minutes and 15 minutes, sometime producing large volcanic “bombs.” No people were threatened by the eruptions but there were worries that ash plumes could disrupt air traffic in the area.
Volcano Karimsky is located in the central part of the Eastern volcanic belt of Kamchatka. It is a typical stratovolcano with a cone with a relative height of 600 meters and an absolute height of 1486 meters. The base diameter is 1100 meters and the volume of the mountain is 0.8 cubic kilometer. The crater is 225-250 meters in diameter and is 80-120 meters deep. The cone is located in caldera that measures 12 kilometers by 5 kilometers. The edge of Caldera varies in height from 50 to 300 meters. Young lava fills the caldera. The volume of the cavity in caldera is three cubic kilometers. The caldera was formed about 76,000 years ago by a massive eruption that released large amounts of pumice and pyroclastic material.
After a long break in the activity of the volcano caldera started forming Karymsky Volcano about 6,100 years ago. A period of activity lasted for about 700 years; then the nature of the eruptions changed. They became less prolonged and different in strength and character. Explosive eruptions alternated with explosive-effusive eruptions. The strongest eruptions occurred 4400, 4200 and 4000 years ago. That period of activity ended about 2,800 years ago. A new stage of eruptions began 500 years ago and continues to this day.
In the 215 years there have been 30 major eruptions. The volcano has a typical type of eruption, with periodic Strombolian eruptions. On the border of explosive and explosive-effusive activity squeezing extrusions have been observed, which are almost always preceded by the outpouring of lava flows. Lava flows of recent years almost have almost completely blocked the western, northern and eastern slopes of the volcano. The most interesting aspect of recent activity was is the emergence of liquid lava in 1963, and the formation of the coating type streams and cushion forms. The composition of the pyroclastic material and lava of last eruptions were pyroxene andesite, andesite dacites and dacite. When the volcano is quiet there is almost constant fumarolic activity in the crater. Active periods are characterized by lava flows during eruptions and after their formation. As for gas releases, carbon dioxide is predominate. There are also significant amounts hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride. The last major eruption period (periodic emissions) was 2007 - 2009.
Southern Kamchatka Volcanoes and Nature Park
The 29 volcanoes in southern Kamchatka are Asacha, Barkhatnaya Sopka, Belenkaya, Bolshe-Bannaya, Diky Greben, Golaya, Ilyinsky, Kambalny, Kell, Khodutka, Koshelev, Ksudach, Kurile Lake, Mashkovtsev, Mutnovsky, Olkoviy Volcanic Group, Opala, Ostanets, Otdelniy, Ozernoy, Piratkovsky, Tolmachev Dol, Unnamed 52.57°N/157.02°E, Unnamed 52.88°N/158.30°E, Unnamed 52.92°N/158.52°E, Vilyuchik, Visokiy, Yavinsky, Zheltovsky
South Kamchatka Nature Park was created in 1995 and is part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes seven volcanoes and has two parts — north and south — with a total area of 4,860 square kilometers. Landscapes of the park were formed mainly under the influence of volcanic activity. Constant activity of volcanoes continues to change the appearance of the area. Vilyuchinsky, Mutnovsky, Burnt, Asacha, Khodutka, Ksudach, Zheltovsky and Ilyinsky volcanoes belong to the South Kamchatka volcanic belt. Four of them are included in the list of natural monuments of Kamchatka. In terms of their activity and power of their eruptions the South Kamchatka volcanic belt is the second most active group of volcanoes in Kamchatka after the Klyuchevskoy group of volcanoes and one of the most active group of volcanoes in the world.
In the oval hollow of Ksudach volcano are crater lakes: Shtubel and Key. At the edge of lakes is Hot Beach, so named because of its thermal springs with temperatures of around 60°C. The hardened volcanic lava exits of Ksudach still emit gas and and gas, an sign of the geothermal activity of the volcano. The largest rivers of the park are right Khodutka, left Khodutka and Asacha. These are spawning rivers for salmon. Bay Marine Park — which embraces Vilyuchinskaya, Fats, Russian, Larch, Asacha and Herald bays and coves — is extraordinarily beautiful. The bays have different shapes and extensive beaches. The underwater world attracts divers.
Khodutka Volcano (130 kilometers south of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky) is the main volcano of the Khodutkinskiye volcanic massif which consists of two volcanoes: 2089-meter-high Khodutka and Priemys. Both are typical stratovolcano, composed of layers of lavas and pyroclastics with a predominance of the latter. Khodutka occupies the major portion of the massif. The size of the base is 8 x 10 kilometers and has an area of 90 square kilometers. Khodutka northern slope is complicated by a deep groove of volcano-tectonic character, going down to its base. The middle of the northern and southern slopes are marked by poorly-preserved centers of adverse eruptions. The last eruption was 2000-2500 years ago.
Priemysh Volcano (near Khodutka Volcano) is 1,750 meters high but is older than Khodutka. Both volcanoes have well-expressed conical shapes. The western and northwestern sectors of the lower slopes of the Massif Khodutka feature widespread explosion craters and an extrusive dome with short lava flows of dacitic composition. The slopes of the cone are cut barranco. In the eastern and northeastern foothills of the north are marked with cinder cones, which are confined to the ring of caldera faults already outside the eastern limit of the massif. In the northern and western part of the cinder cone area there is cracking a northeast direction. It is interesting to note that these faults are completely absent within Khodutkinskiye massif. Probably, their distribution is prevented magma chamber located below the volcanoes.
Khodutkinskiye Hot Springs (northwestern part of the Khodutkinskiye massif) features thermal water that comes from numerous sources and collects in a single stream, which turns into a hot river, up to 30 meters wide and a depth of one and a half meters. The river does not freeze even in the winter. People can bathe here all year round. The water temperature in hot springs is about 70°C. The places where tourists bath is the edge of the wood, where the stream water is about 40°C. Khodutkinskiye sources contain high amounts of silicic acid and are considered curative. The 1.5-kilometer-long hot river originate in the lower explosive funnel on a slope of the volcano. It flows through a treeless meadow, then through a birch forest, working its way through the thick pumice deposits and flowing into the river Right Khodutka.
Ilyinsky Volcano (near the northeastern coast of the Kuril Lake) is a complex stratovolcano consisting of two main compositions: ancient and modern. Remains of ancient part are expressed on annular ledge on the eastern slopes of the volcano. In the past this area was a four-kilometer in-diameter caldera, crowned with the Pleistocene-Holocene folded and interbedded lavas, pyroclastics and andezyto basalt. About 6,000 year ago young cone began to grow. The slopes are smooth, with almost no indentations. The composition of the lavas and pyroclastic material are mainly andesite. The top has double, ruined crater. The height of the volcano is 1578 meters, and 1400 meters relative to Kuril Lake. The base is eight kilometers in diameter had has an area of 60 square kilometers. The northeastern slope of the cone is complicated by a large explosion funnel 0.8-x-1.2 kilometers in size and 200-450 meters deep. It was formed during the last eruption in 1901.
See Avacha Volcanic Ridge and Volcanoes Near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (official Russia tourism website russiatourism.ru ), Russian government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in September 2020