Most people think that Russia has only 11 volcanoes. Even though this number is impressive (some might even say scary) on its own in comparison to all other Slavic countries, the volcanic formations on Russian territory are hundreds. Literally! Many Slavic countries don’t have any active volcanoes, whereas others don’t have any volcanoes in general. This, however, isn’t the case with the largest country on the globe.
Russia’s lengthy borders spread over hill and dale and it should come to no surprise that many of its lands and islands are formed over unpredictable tectonic plates. Some of these islands are even uninhabitable due to the fatal volcanic activity that endangers all flora, fauna and human life on the premises.
The Kamchatka Peninsula is basically a dream come true for anyone who wishes to explore volcanic grounds. Along with the Kurile Islands the Kamchatka Peninsula forms the so called Ring of Fire – a dangerous zone, which is abundant in a plethora of extinct and active volcanoes. Given the fact that Russia is famous for having a rather harsh and severe climate, it should come to no surprise that its explosive activity rivals the ones of Hawaii and Japan. What’s more, scientists often dub the Kamchatka Peninsula as a hotspot for great frequency of eruptions.
Kamchatka’s most active volcanoes that draw the interest of the media, tourists and scientists are Karymsky, Klyuchevsky, Shiveluch and Bezymianni. Karymski has had a non-stop sequence of eruptions ever since 1996, which is still ongoing even in present day. The same goes for Shiveluch, but that doesn’t really scare the Klyuchi people, whose rural settlement is located merely 50 kilometers away from the monstrous volcano!
Many of Russia’s numerous volcanoes have gone extinct millennia ago. As such, they are currently just an abandoned mountain top that doesn’t hold any more perils than an ordinary mountain would. Others have an inactive caldera that houses a crater lake. With their natural beauty and grim history crater lakes are of particular interest to mountaineers and hikers. Akademia Nauk is one of the finest examples of such waterscapes.
Having in mind there are hundreds of volcanoes on Russian soil, it’s only natural for this Slavic country to have some of the most curious and rarest types of volcanic formations on the planet Earth. Let’s take Krasheninnikov for example. This is a complex of two large volcanoes located on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which are overlapping inside a single volcanic caldera.
Another fascinating example of rare volcanic formations in Russia is the Atlasov Island. It’s a submarine volcano that was once part of a land which got submerged at some point after the last Ice Age. When the icecaps’ waters submerged it, only the volcano’s upper cone was left above sea level, shaping what would later become known as the Atlasov Island.
Contrary to popular belief and despite the numerous unpopulated islands, Russia isn’t a deadly volcanic zone. In fact, various travel agencies have been organizing volcanic hikes for those daredevils who want to brave the unknown.
Nowadays most of the volcano tours you can book on Russian grounds are trails along the Kamchatka Peninsula. These expeditions are anything but cheap – the starting price is usually around €3,000 euro per person and it can easily go above €5k! Nevertheless, hiking for days on the territory of an active Russian volcano is definitely a unique experience that will leave you with vivid memories for a lifetime. But hey, volcanoes aren’t for everyone. And while travel agencies do provide insurance, trekking through actively eruptive grounds isn’t exactly the safest adventure life has to offer. In other words, if you really want to explore Russia’s volcanoes, think twice before you start splattering your money.