December 14, 2012

0415 RUSSIA (Kamchatka Krai) - The Karymsky Volcano

The Kamchatka Peninsula lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west and since 2007 is part of the Kamchatka Krai of the Russian Federation. Due to its geographical location (not far from Japan and Alaska) and the shape of the shoreline, it was an important outpost for Soviet Union, and the home to its Pacific nuclear submarine fleet. Even if has an area comparable with United Kingdom and Belgium combined, it houses only about 320,000 inhabitants, the majority Russians (86%).

The spine of the peninsula is the Kamchatka or Central (Sredinny) Range. Between it and Vostochny or Eastern Range, located along the southeast coast, is the central valley. The Kamchatka River and the surrounding central side valley are flanked by large volcanic belts, which are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. These belts contain around 160 volcanoes, 29 of them still active, of which 19 was included in the six UNESCO World Heritage List sites in the Volcanoes of Kamchatka group.

Well, the volcano shown in the picture, Karymsky (Karymskaya sopka in russian), even if is the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, isn't one of the 19 included in the UNESCO sites, although many collectors of postcards (some of them even Russians) claim this on their blogs. I couldn't find any explicit list of the volcanoes that are included in the UNESCO site, but I came to this conclusion comparing the maps that I found, the most explicit being this one and this one, plus the ones from the official site of UNESCO.

Named after Karyms, an ethnic group in Russia formed by mixing the Russians with the Evenks and the Buryats, Karymsky (1,486 m) is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene (6,100 years ago). Much of the cone is surrounded by lava flows no older than 200 years. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater. There have been 23 eruptions in 20th century only, the latest one started in 1996 and was going on for two years gradually fading.

The volcano's crater lake was once one of the world's largest fresh water lakes, but became one of the world's largest acid water lakes as a result of a recent under-water eruption, with waves tsunami 15 meters high. The lake was actually boiling, and salt and acid components reached the concentration that killed all the life in the lake including the school of kokani, a species of sock-eye salmon cultivated by ichthyologists in the Karymsky lake.

Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) reported moderate seismic activity at Karymsky during 2-9 November 2012, and The Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) subsequently reported an explosive eruption at Karymsky on November 9, 2012 at 22:15 GMT.

The stamp depict Ryazan Kremlin (25R) and is part of the series Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #146, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Kamchatka Peninsula - Wikipedia
Karymsky (volcano) - Wikipedia
Volcanoes of Kamchatka, Russia -
Karymsky Volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula As Seen From The Space Station - Space Ref
Karymsky volcano - Active Volcanoes Of Kamchatka And Northern Kuriles

sender: Julia (Postcrossing)
sent from Moskow (Russia), on 29.07.2011
photo: Mihail Zelensky

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