Volcanoes of Kamchatka

Map of the volcanoes of Kamchatka
Nikolaĭ Georgievich
Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
57° N, 160° E
1:750 000

The Kamchatka peninsula is located in the russian far east. It has a high density of volcano of wich are part some of the largest active volcanoes in the northern hemisphere.

Kamchatka Peninsula

The Kamchatka peninsula is located in the Russian Far East between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. This 1250 km long volcanic peninsula was first explored in the 18th century by the Russian explorer Vitus Bering. The very small native population was quickly replaced by a Russian population coming to settle there. During a large part of the 20th century the peninsula was forbidden to foreigners, as it was converted into a secret military zone until the end of the USSR.

Volcanic activity

The name Kamchatka comes from the Kamchatka River, which flows through its central plain. This plain is enclosed by two mountain ranges, the Central Range and the Eastern Range formed with about 160 volcanoes, 29 of which are active. The highest point of the peninsula is Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4 835 m), it’s also the most active volcano of the peninsula. In addition to that it’s the highest point of Siberia and the largest active volcano in the northern hemisphere. On the other hand, the most impressive summit is Kronotsky volcano (3528m) remarkable for its almost perfect symmetrical cone similar to Mount Fuji. From a geological point of view the land of the peninsula is young, the peninsula rose less than a million years ago, and the volcanoes formed 6000 years ago and continue their growth. As the peninsula is a subduction zone of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate, seismic events and tsunamis are quite common, also explaining the volcanic activity.

This 1926 Russian map was made about twenty years after the end of the Russian-Japanese war. This conflict of expansion on the Asian continent reinforced the Russian conviction to deploy on all its territory. This cartography allows above all to document the volcanic landscape of the peninsula and in particular its active volcanoes which are drawn in detail. We find the Klyuchevskaya (27) with a trail of smoke and the Kronotsky (23). A large part of active volcanoes of the Kamchatka group is today a protected site by UNESCO World Heritage List.

kamtchatka volcanoes map
kamtchatka volcanoes map
Source: Library of Congress

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