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Reshaping the World - A trip to the Young Earth
143 1 2017-8-3 02:53:53
Flight distance : 434009
Russian Federation

Kamchatka volcanoes


The biggest active volcano in the Eurasia, brown bears and hotrocks under the shoes – this was the setting of our expedition.

Kamchatka peninsula is a part of the so called “Pacific Ring of Fire” – a chain of the active volcanoes that surround Pacific ocean. It exists because of the subduction zones – places where oceanic plate dives beneath the continental plate and that is where the hot magma appears. When you are on Kamchatka it is quite like looking at our planet in her early days: the landscape is being created right in front of you.
And all thanks to the volcanoes. Even nowadays volcanism is a force that can create and wipe whole islands from existence, but when Earth was young this was a much more global process with constant eruptions all over the globe.

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In 1996 Kamchatka volcanoes were added to UNESCO world heritage list with some additions made in 2001. According to UNESCO definition “Kamchatka volcanoes” are not only volcanic cones itself, but also the unique surrounding landscapes including more than 150 amazing hot springs.

Sadly – the weather here is unpredictable and sometimes not as good as we would like it to be. For several days, our track was going through thick clouds with visibility range of only 5-10 meters. The most dangerous part of this walk was the fresh lava field crossing. One wrong step and you can easily cut yourself of fall into the lava cave. At some places lava is still so hot that you cannot stay at one place for long without smelling burning rubber from your shoes.

My trusted companion in this adventure was DJI Mavic Pro. When we left the base my backpack was nearly the same size as me and weighted more than 25 kilos. Each gram and cubic centimeter were crucial. But Mavic Pro was ideal for such conditions – its weight and size were nor too big to make the travel uncomfortable neither too small to limit the flight conditions – it was just right.

Dronie on the volcano

Dronie on the volcano

Our expedition was fully autonomous – around two weeks away from the civilization and electricity. I had only 4 batteries without the chance of a charge. At night it was usually around 5℃ which means freezing cold for mid-July. And each evening I filled my sleeping bag with batteries and power banks to keep them from rapid discharge.

Fumarole Fields

Fumarole Fields

One of our guides, Kirill Vlasov, was a volcanologist and I asked him to tell the story from slightly more scientific point of view

"Kluchevskaya group of volcanoes is a geologist’s paradise. Fresh lava flows, smoking craters and ash falls are just usual reality for that place. Unpredictable weather and hostile landscape make every visit here a unique challenge. But this challenge is like no other. The material that can be collected here is of extreme scientific importance and dozens of articles about the peculiarities of this locality have been published in recent years.
So we headed to the remains of the 2012-2013 Tolbachik fissure eruption to search for special crystals of the feldspars. Feldspar is a common mineral for those volcanoes, but we were looking for coin-shaped small crystals that mark specific conditions in the lava lake. I failed to find them during the eruption in 2013 and had high hopes that now we will be luckier.
The scenery was quite familiar – I saw all the volcanos many times during my last trips and thought of them as of something quite usual. But it all changed when Maxim Tarasov, our photographer showed me the view from his Mavic Pro. This was like a new vision of the whole scenery, the whole new dimension. I have never seen my volcanoes like this and at first was completely stunned. It was like something from the sci-fi movies!
Inspired by the new perspective we approached the cinder cone. And to my joy right there, on the black volcanic ash, were lying my precious crystals. This was quite a surprise – up to the end I was not quite sure that we will find anything. Our expedition was a successful one and truly – I’ve never seen volcanoes like that."

2017-8-3 02:53:53
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Intern Pilot
Flight distance : 973534

Wow, that is some amazing work you got there.
2 days ago
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