The Impressive Volcanoes of Kamchatka

There are not many people in the world who would chose to live next to a volcano, let alone twelve fiery mountains. And yet the Kamchatka natives live in the midst of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka in harmony and at peace. The eerie silence that surrounds the mighty volcanoes are the indication of a beautiful day, and not the fear that one might decide to fill the sky with blackening ash and spew red flaming lava to the earth below. Most of the natives cannot recall the last time one of their beautiful volcanoes erupted, and speak only of the power and picturesque scenes that the Kamchatka volcanoes display. The Volcanoes of Kamchatka are made up of twelve volcanoes, of which three are the most mighty, namely the Kluchevskoy at 4 750 meters, the Koryaksky at 3 456 meters, and the Kronotsky at 3 528 meters.

At a height of 4 750 meters, the Kluchevskoy volcano is the largest live volcano in Eurasia. The Kluchevskoy volcano forms a part of the Kluchevskaya group, which includes the volcanoes Bezymyanny, Plosky, Tolbachik and Kamen. Kluchevskoy is an estimated 8 000 years old, with the last recorded eruption being in 1697, according to the records of a Kamchatka explorer, Vladimir Atlasov. In the past, the volcano would erupt with five year intervals, at times annually, or continuously for years, but the eruptions had never caused any damage or danger to inhabitants of the area. Between the years 1944 and 1945, Kluchevskoy had its most powerful eruptions, but these were attributed to craters, called “parasite” craters, that surround the volcano. Daniel Gaus was the first adventurer to ascend to the top of Kluchevskoy in 1788, and since then many adrenalin seeking visitors have climbed the live volcano.

Being only 6 100 years old, Karymsky volcano is classified as a young volcano, and stands at a height of a mere 1 486 meters. Not to be judged by age or size, the Karymsky volcano is one of the live Kamchatka volcanoes that has erupted 23 times in this century, with a two year eruption that started in 1996. The torrents that were thrown into the air never reached the foot of the volcano and therefore the damage to surrounding areas was almost unnoticed. This eruption, however, coincided with the under water eruptions that were taking place 6 kilometers away in the Karymsky Lake. Although the lake eruptions only lasted 18 to 20 hours, it caused 15 meter high tsunami waves and caused the water to boil. All the life in the lake was killed and it became the biggest natural acid water reservoir in the world.

The Maly Semyachek volcano has three craters and its most famous crater is the southern crater. It is speculated that the volcano recently erupted without human knowledge and formed an acid lake. This amazing natural spectacle changes color from turquoise to green, and the most spectacular is the smoking water and water spouts that arise over its surface.

Gorely volcano is filled with lakes, approximately forty secondary slag cones, fumaroles and lava torrents that lie within a chain of eleven craters. Active fumaroles can be found on the live Avachinski volcano that had its 350 meter crater filled with lava in a 1991 eruption. The Koryak volcano that stands at 3 456 meters showcases colored clay and steamy cracks within its fumaroles. The other volcanoes that make up this magnificent collection of Kamchatka volcanoes are the Vilchinski volcano, Ostriv Tolbachic, Dzenzurski, Mutnovski, Ksudactch and the Uzon Caldera. Each volcano is unique in its structure and attributes, and each just as beautiful and interesting as the next.


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