Kamchatka: the land of volcanoes

Kamchatka is a peninsula located in the far east of Russia basically known for hosting a considerable number of glacier and stratovolcano, most of them with no activity in the last century. A stratovolcano is built up by many layers of hardened lava and volcanic ash characterized by periodic effusive and explosive eruptions. Around 300 volcanoes are spread all along the territory and they are the main attraction of the peninsula: that’s the reason why Kamchatka is also known as “the land of volcanoes”. Our journey through this land begins with a global overview of the territory itself, where a Kamchatka completely covered by snow and ice has been captured by Sentinel 3-A OLCI at the end of January and showed in the following RGB image.


One of the most interesting Kamchatka’s landmarks is the Klyuchevskoy Sopka volcano, the highest active volcano in Eurasia with its 4835 meters of altitude. The mountain is clearly recognizable, in the image above, on the northeastern part of the peninsula. Eruption cycles are very frequent and basically its activity is continuous since the first recorded eruption in the 17th century. Klyuchevskoy Sopka outbrakes observed in the last years are strombolian eruption, which are relatively mildly explosive. On April 24th 2016, the largest volcano in Eurasia erupted sending a column of ash and gas 6 km in the air: this has been captured by Sentinel 2A MSI and this is shown in the RGB natural colours image below.


Going southward there is the eastern volcanic zone of Kamchatka, where we can find a lot of volcanoes separated only by a few kilometres. The following RGB image with natural colour, captured by S2-A on July 27th of the last year when the land is not covered by snow or ice, shows the volcanic landscape. The image is cloud free and this give us a clear picture of the dense volcanic distribution all over the peninsula.


Our journey through Kamchatka ends to its far south where the Kambalny Volcano is located. This volcano, with its 2161 meters of altitude, erupted at the end of March 2017 after around 6 centuries of inactivity (this estimation is based on radiocarbon dating).


The spectacular outbreak is the first one ever observed and has generated a smoke trail which has spread for around 200 km southwards. This has been captured by Sentinel 3-A Oceans and Land Colour Instrument, showing a clear picture of the phenomenon thanks its 300 meter resolution.


Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2016-2017.

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