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Case Study 10. Challenging Destinations – The World Heritage Listed Volcanoes of Kamchatka

ByH. Gaudru

Introduction Kamchatka is the name for a peninsula located on the far east of Russia; it is one of the largest in the world and famous for its wildlife and volcanic activity. The 700km-long volcanic belt that makes up the peninsula is the surface expression of the north-westerly subduction by 8-10cm a year of the Pacific Ocean Plate under the Eurasian Plate, and exhibits the complete range of vulcanism characteristic of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Since 1690 some 200 eruptions have been recorded. The peninsula has some 300 volcanoes of which 33 are currently active – most of these of explosive character and many of perfect pyramidal form. Of these, 34 in total and the 13 most active volcanoes on Kamchatka occur in heritage areas. Most of these are basaltic composite stratocones and andesite stratovolcanoes, but some are shield volcanoes. There are also calderas, scoria cones, lava streams, cinder fields, over 160 thermal and mineral springs, geysers, solfataras, mud pots and many other volcanic features. The volcanoes of Kamchatka are protected areas and are included in the United Nations world heritage list.