Volcanoes of Kamchatka


Volcanoes of Kamchatka

Region of the Russian Federation: Kamchatsky Region

Status of Territories composing the Property: Kronotsky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, "Volcanoes of Kamchatka" Nature Park, Southern Kamchatka Federal Preserve

Area: 4.3 million ha

Status: inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1996 (extension in 2001)

The "Volcanoes of Kamchatka" territory consists of six areas that give the fullest idea of different types of volcanic activity in the region. The Kamchatka Peninsula is situated at the junction of tectonic plates in an active volcanic zone where modern natural processes cannot be separated from the history of our planet. There are 30 active and about 300 dead volcanoes as well as over 150 thermal and mineral springs in this area. Dozens of geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, waterfalls, sharp peaks of mountain ridges, mud wells, turquoise lakes and carpets of colorful algae give the famous Geyser Valley a fairy-tale appearance. The Uzon Volcano caldera is one of the oldest and most interesting geological phenomena of the peninsula. The caldera is a huge cup with the area of 100 km2 and 200-800 m high walls. At the present time, the largest hydrothermal system has formed in the caldera, and we can observe the processes of mineral and rock formation with our own eyes.

Rare geological objects coexist with distinctive wildlife and neither has suffered much from human activities. Of the 1,168 plant species growing here, 10% can be found only in this region. There are many plant species that need to be protected.

The peninsula is the habitat of one-half of the world's Steller's Sea eagle population, over 10 thousand brown bears (the Kamchatka subspecies is one of the largest bears in the world), as well as bighorn sheep, wild reindeers, sea-lions, kalans.

The seas surrounding the Kamchatka Peninsula are also very rich in wildlife. There are growth zones of Kamchatka crab larvae, salmon spawning places and places where young salmon go to the sea. From early summer till early winter one can watch a unique natural phenomenon when millions of salmons work their way through the current climbing upstream to their spawning sites.