Flat Tolbachik: eruption for tourists
This volcanic massif in the east of the Kamchatka peninsula, belongs to Klyuchevskoy volcano group. From the regional administrative center - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to volcano are 343 km. Mountain range is formed by two fused stratovolcanoes, took his place on the podium of the ancient shield volcano. This extinct Ostry Tolbachik destroyed with pinnacle (3682 m) and the acting Flat Tolbachik (3140 m).
The top of the volcano is "cut" by two calderas, nested within each other. The first of them, reach a diameter of 3 kilometers, has formed about 6,500 years ago during a powerful eruption. This caldera is occupied by a small shield volcano and glacier, which form the characteristic flat top. Namely form of mountain plateau led to what was called the volcano Flat Tolbachik.
Inside the old caldera is located young caldera. 400 meters basin diameter of 1.8 km is the result of the penultimate volcanic eruption in 1975-76. The slopes of the volcano and the adjacent Tolbachinsky dale occupy about 120 cinder cones of secondary fissures.
Since 1740 is recorded 12 eruptions, with long intervals between the most powerful of them. In other words, the Flat Tolbachik rarely is active, but stays in this state for a long time.
A distinctive feature of the Flat Tolbachik are liquid lava, that you will not be able to watch any of the active volcanoes of Kamchatka. Eruption not relate to the type of classical summit eruption, during which huge volumes of smoke and ash are thrown from the top of the volcano to a height of several kilometers.
The eruptions of the volcano are fissures and characterized by a large number of lava outpourings. Such eruptions are called touristic, because of the relative safety of current and photogenic lava rivers they attract the largest number of tourists. In contrast to the summit eruption during fissure lava eruptions can fly up quite close to the volcano by helicopter.
Even at the height of 2600-2800 meters above the crater at intervals of 3-4 minutes fly up into the air emissions of gas and steam with a suffocating smell of sulfur. Ice and snow are melting around the crater of the volcano, fall on molten lava, mixed with volcanic gases and upward. The lava inside the crater is in a liquid state so that even slightly gushes.
Local guides and experienced travelers find that climbing route to the Flat Tolbachik is simple. The climbing equipment is not necessary, however, like any other climbing, climb to the top of the volcano it requires some physical training. To conquest the top of the volcano it takes 6-8 hours to descend from it - an average of 4-5 hours. The routes are organized in the summer and early autumn - usually from July to September. Cavers have long been chosen for training lava caves, mountain bikers - cinder cones.
The starting point is the so-called base of Lunohodchik. This encampment in 70s of the last century, at the time there were tested the first Soviet apparatus "Lunokhod-1" and "Mars rover-1." At the end of the test base was transferred to the Institute of Volcanology and today tourists make stop in that place.
On the slope of Flat Tolbachik an altitude of about 800 meters there is station "Waterfall", which tracks seismic situation and changes in the behavior of the volcano. From the station also starts the trail that passes through the angled layers hardened lava flows and crash sites of the volcanic bombs. The slope of the volcano, which is used by the rise, it is relatively flat.
On the way there are small glaciers.