Discover the 10 Largest Volcanoes in Russia

Written by Shreya Agrawal
Published: October 11, 2023
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Russia is famous for being the largest country in the world. Thus, it has vast landscapes and diverse geography. It is also home to some of the world’s most impressive volcanoes. In this article, we will explore the top 10 largest volcanoes in Russia, delving into their unique characteristics.

Understanding Volcanoes: How They Work

Before we delve into the magnificent volcanoes of Russia, let’s first understand what volcanoes are and how they work. Volcanoes are geological features formed by the accumulation of molten rock, volcanic ash and gases that erupt through the Earth’s crust. These eruptions can range from gentle emissions of lava to violent explosions of ash and gas.

The key components of a volcano include:

Magma Chamber

Beneath a volcano lies a magma chamber, which is a reservoir of molten rock. This magma is formed from the melting of Earth’s mantle and rises to the surface through fractures and weaknesses in the crust.

Vent

The vent is the opening through which volcanic material is expelled. It can take various forms, which range from a simple hole in the ground to a massive crater.

Crater

A crater is a depression at the top of a volcano, often formed during explosive eruptions. It can be several kilometers wide and may also contain secondary vents.

Lava

Lava is the molten rock that reaches the surface. It can flow like a liquid or be highly viscous, depending on its composition. Interestingly, the type of lava determines the nature of the eruption.

Pyroclastic Flow

During explosive eruptions, volcanic material including ash, rocks and gas can be forcefully expelled in pyroclastic flows. These are fast-moving, extremely hot as well as highly destructive.

Red Orange vibrant Molten Lava flowing onto grey lavafield and glossy rocky land near hawaiian volcano with vog on background

Red Orange vibrant Molten Lava flowing onto grey lavafield and glossy rocky land near hawaiian volcano with vog on background

©Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock.com

What Influences The Size of a Volcano?

The size of a volcano can be determined by several key factors that contribute to its overall magnitude. Here are some of the primary factors that make a volcano large:

Elevation

One of the most obvious indicators of a large volcano is its elevation above sea level. This is because larger volcanoes tend to have higher peaks. For example, Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is often considered a dormant volcano due to its massive size.

Volume of Ejected Material

The volume of material ejected during volcanic eruptions plays a significant role in determining a volcano’s size. Volcanoes that have erupted vast amounts of magma and volcanic rock over time become large. This material can accumulate around the vent and form massive volcanic structures.

Cone Shape

The shape of a volcano can also contribute to its perceived size. Stratovolcanoes, which have steep, conical profiles can often appear larger compared to shield volcanoes, which have a more gentle, broad shape. The steep slopes of stratovolcanoes give them a towering appearance and makes them look bigger than shield volcanoes.

Geological Age

Older volcanoes tend to be larger because they have had more time to accumulate material from numerous eruptions. As lava flows, ash, and volcanic debris accumulate over centuries or even millennia, the volcano’s size increases.

Eruption Frequency

Frequent eruptions can also contribute to the growth of a volcano. Repeated eruptions can build up layers of volcanic material, enlarging the volcano over time. Conversely, dormant or extinct volcanoes may have smaller profiles because they are no longer actively erupting and instead, are subject to the forces of weathering.

Tectonic Setting

The tectonic setting of a volcano can also influence its size. Volcanoes associated with convergent plate boundaries, where two tectonic plates collide, tend to be larger and more explosive due to the subduction of oceanic plates beneath continental plates.

Type of Eruptions

The type of eruptions a volcano experiences can impact its size. Explosive eruptions, which release massive amounts of ash and volcanic debris, can lead to the creation of large craters or calderas and thus, influence shape and size.

It’s important to note that a volcano’s size can be measured in various ways, including its height, width, and volume. The combination of these factors determines the overall size and prominence of a volcano.

Now that we have a basic understanding of volcanoes and how they work, let’s explore the top 10 largest volcanoes in Russia:

1. Klyuchevskaya Sopka (Klyuchevskoy)

Autumn mountain landscape view of eruption active volcano

Autumn mountain landscape view of eruption active Klyuchevskoy Volcano (Klyuchevskaya Sopka) – highest mountain on Kamchatka Peninsula (Russian Far East), highest active volcano of Europe and Asia.

©geyzer/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 4,754 meters (15,997 feet)

Description: Klyuchevskaya Sopka, often referred to as Klyuchevskoy, is the tallest and one of the most active volcanoes in Eurasia. It is part of the Kamchatka Peninsula’s volcanic complex, known for its frequent eruptions as well as its beauty. Klyuchevskoy’s last major eruption occurred in 2019.

2. Bezymianny

Active Bezymianny Volcano (Bezymiannaya Sopka) on Kamchatka Peninsula

Volcanic landscape on Kamchatka Peninsula: view on active Bezymianny Volcano(Bezymiannaya Sopka). Eurasia, Russian Far East, Kamchatka Region, Klyuchevskaya Group of Volcanoes.

©Alexandr Piragis/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 3,002 meters (9,908 feet)

Description: Bezymianny is another prominent volcano in the Kamchatka Peninsula, known for its explosive eruptions. It gained international attention with its catastrophic eruption in 1955 when it lost its summit and formed a new crater. Since then, Bezymianny has remained active.

3. Tolbachik

Green grass and snow on the rocks of Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka, Russia.

Green grass and snow on the rocks of Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka, Russia. Summer nature abstract background

©Olga_Gavrilova/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 3,682 m (12,080 ft)

Description: Tolbachik is a massive shield volcano in Kamchatka, famous for its frequent eruptions and extensive lava fields. In 2012-2013, Tolbachik experienced a significant eruption that attracted scientific interest due to its rare basaltic composition.

4. Avachinsky

view from Avachinsky volcano top on Kamchatka Peninsula

The view from Avachinsky volcano top on Kamchatka Peninsula

©Bborriss/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 2,741 m (8,993 ft)

Description: Avachinsky is a stratovolcano located near the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Its most recent eruption occurred in 2001.

5. Kamen

Nature of Kamchatka - beautiful volcanic landscape: view on Kamen Volcano, active Klyuchevskoy Volcano and active Bezymianny Volcano.

Nature of Kamchatka – beautiful volcanic landscape: view on Kamen Volcano, active Klyuchevskoy Volcano and active Bezymianny Volcano. Russian Far East, Kamchatka, Klyuchevskaya Group of Volcanoes.

©Evgenyi_Eg/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 4,585 m (15,043 ft)

Description: Kamen is a stratovolcano located on the northern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula. It is remote and has relatively infrequent eruptions.

6. Shiveluch

Shiveluch Volcano - eruption active volcano of Kamchatka Peninsula

Beautiful volcanic landscape of Kamchatka Peninsula: eruption active Shiveluch Volcano – emission from crater of volcano plume of gas, steam and ashes. View of volcano at sunrise. Eurasia, Far East, Russia, Kamchatsky Krai.

©Alexandr Piragis/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 2,447 meters (8,028 feet)

Description: Shiveluch is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Kamchatka. It has a history of producing powerful explosions and pyroclastic flows.

7. Koryaksky

A Stunning View of Koryaksky Volcano, Shrouded in Clouds and Adorned with Green Moss, Part of the Volcanic Landscape of Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. In the Distance, You Can Marvel at the Snow-Capped Cone of Vilyuchinsky Volcano on a Clear and Sunny Day

A Stunning View of Koryaksky Volcano, Shrouded in Clouds and Adorned with Green Moss, Part of the Volcanic Landscape of Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. In the Distance, You Can Marvel at the Snow-Capped Cone of Vilyuchinsky Volcano on a Clear and Sunny Day. This Photo Captures the Majestic Stratovolcanoes of the Region

©Anwarul Quddus Sikder/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 3430 metres (11253 feet)

Description: Koryaksky is a stratovolcano located near the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It is known for its picturesque appearance and has relatively frequent eruptions.

8. Alaid (Atlasov Island)

Paradise pacific island with erupting volcano

Paradise pacific island with erupting volcano 5100×3400

©KyotoXIV/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kuril Islands

Height: Approximately 2,285 metres (7,497 feet)

Description: Alaid is the highest volcano in the Kuril Islands and is located on Atlasov Island. It is a stratovolcano known for its cone shape.

9. Ichinsky

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia. Southeast coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. View from a helicopter.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia. Southeast coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. View from a helicopter.

©KONSTANTIN AKIMOV/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 3,607 metres (11,834 ft)

Description: Ichinsky is a stratovolcano in Kamchatka, known for its impressive height and relatively calm volcanic activity.

10. Mutnovsky

Fumaroles, geysers, Kamchatka, green energy, Mutnovsky volcano

Fumaroles, geysers, Kamchatka, green energy, Mutnovsky volcano

©Kseniia Emelianova/iStock via Getty Images

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

Height: Approximately 2,322 m (7,618 ft)

Description: Mutnovsky is a complex volcano in Kamchatka. It has steaming fumaroles and hot springs. It is also a popular destination for geological and scientific research due to its unique geothermal features.

Summary Table for the Top 10 Largest Volcanoes in Russia

Here’s a summary table for the top 10 largest volcanoes in Russia:

RankVolcanoLocationHeight (meters)Description
1Klyuchevskaya SopkaKamchatka Peninsula4,750Tallest and highly active volcano
2BezymiannyKamchatka Peninsula2,882Known for explosive eruptions
3TolbachikKamchatka Peninsula3,682Features extensive lava fields
4AvachinskyKamchatka Peninsula2,741Popular for hiking and recent eruptions
5KamenKamchatka Peninsula4,683Remote location with infrequent eruptions
6Sheveluch (Shiveluch)Kamchatka Peninsula3,283Among the largest and highly active
7KoryakskyKamchatka Peninsula3,456Picturesque appearance with frequent eruptions
8Alaid (Atlasov Island)Kuril Islands2,339Highest volcano in the Kuril Islands
9IchinskyKamchatka Peninsula3,605Impressive height with calm activity
10MutnovskyKamchatka Peninsula2,323Known for fumaroles and hot springs

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Shreya is a climate scientist. She also studies paleontology and evolutionary biology. She enjoys reading all kinds of literature and listening to rock music in her free time.

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