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Volcanoes of Kamchatka
Our planet has over 600 active volcanoes and 29 of them ore on Kamchatka. This land is sometimes called "the land of fire" or "the land of fiery torches." This unique volcanic world consists of different but invariably fascinating summits: some craters are smoking, some ore breathing fire, and some are already extinct and filled with lake water. This world includes lunar-like landscapes at the foot of the volcanoes, as well as steaming geysers. This is a world that is fearsome, breathtakingly beautiful, and irresistible at the same time. Kamchatka has a total of 300 active and dormant volcanoes, and over 2,500 extinct ones.
Each of the volcanoes has its own beauty. Several summits can compete to be considered the symbol of Kamchatka: Klyuchevskoy and Kronotsky, Karymsky and Avachinsky, or, maybe, the gorgeous Koryaksky volcano.
The Klyuchevskoy volcano (or, as they call it here, Klyuchevskaya Sopka) is the peninsula's highest point (4,750 m or 15,584 feet) and the largest volcano in all of Eurasia. The Klyuchevskoy is about 8,000 years old. Its first recorded eruption was documented in 1697 by Kamchatka's pioneer Vladimir Atlasov. Eruptions, accompanied by explosions, yielding ash and gases, happen here regularly; one of the strongest eruptions was recorded in 1944-45. However, this volcanic activity has never presented any serious danger to the village of Klyuchy (about 30 km or about 19 miles from the volcano). The first man to climb the Klyuchevskoy back in 1788 was Daniel Gauss, an alpine guide. Following his lead, many dare-devils have gone up to the crater since then.
The Kronotsky volcano is magnificently beautiful. Its perfect geometry topped by о sparkling ice cap is reflected in the waters of Kamchatka's largest lake.
The Karymsky volcano is relatively short (1,486 m or 4,875 feet) and relatively young (6,100 years old), but today it is Kamchatka's most active volcano. The 20th century alone saw 23 eruptions, the most recent one began in 1996 and, gradually diminishing, lasted for over two years. At the same time the Karymskoye Lake, 6 km away from the volcano, saw an underwater eruption. Within I 8 to 20 hours, over 100 explosions took place at the bottom of the lake, creating tsunami waves up to 15m (50 feet) high. The lake literally boiled; the concentration of salts and acids in the water quickly reached critical, killing off all life in the lake, including the entire population of sockeye salmon that was moved here by scientists. As a result of the eruption, the freshwater Karymskoye Lake became the world's largest natural acidic water reservoir. Tourists who fly over this area on their way to the Valley of the Geysers, can see the smoking crater and the dead bright-ultramarine colored lake up-close: the helicopter usually makes several circles around it.
The "home" volcanoes – Koryaksky, Avachinsky, and Kozelsky - are all located very close, within 25 km (15.5 miles), from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and have become on integral part of the cityscape. The last eruption of the Avachinsky happened in 1991; the volcano is "at work" even now, though it is not a threat to humans. The locals grow gardens and go mushroom picking at the foot of the volcano. Tourists march up the slopes all year round: you can reach the summit in 6 to 8 hours. Mountain skiers can enjoy the snow of the glaciers till mid-July: the slopes are equipped with ski lifts and all necessary amenities.