Tolbachik volcano southern cones excursion

August 6, 2010 

With today excursions, the group visits by short drives and mini treks, the Tolbachik volcano cones born during the catastrophic explosion and eruption happened in 1975. We visit also the dead forest, where thousands of trees were killed instantly by the volcanic ash cloud having a temperature of more than 1000 degrees centigrade.

Camping in Kamchatka
The new day at Tolbachik volcano base camp starts again with low clouds, but luckily there is no rain.
Volcanic cone
The first excursion to Tolbachik volcano complex programmed for today, is a trek to young volcanic cones, about 200 meters high (small miniature volcanoes). The 6WD buses are used to bring the group near the trail head. If compared to the past days, today treks are very easy.
Volcanoes in Kamchatka
Volcanic cone
From the volcanic cones, there are beautiful views onto immense pumice and lava fields extending for dozens of kilometers around the Tolbachik volcano complex.
A black and white world, apparently without life, created by an angry sky and a furious Earth.
Volcanic crater
Together with the group, I get to the summit of this small crater. The trek is easy and relatively relaxing.
Volcano crater
On the crater's summit the colors change suddenly from everything back, to reds and yellows, depending on the minerals coming out from the center of the Earth.
Colored minerals
Volcanic stone Volcanic stones
The colors of the minerals are spectacular.
Colored stones

Minerals with beautiful colors found around the crater's summit.
On the ground there are small holes from where hot air comes out. Indeed, after a few minutes walk, the shoes get quite warm.

In this crack, any flammable item like wood or paper, burns quickly. Probably the lava is just a few meters below the ground.
I now trek back from the summit of the volcanic cone, to its base, where the 6WD bus is waiting for the group.
Dead forest Kamchatka dead forest
Dead trees The next stop is made in the dead forest. Here, thousands of trees were killed instantly and left only with naked branches, by an hot cloud of ash, having a temperature of more than 1000 degrees centigrade. Furthermore, ash and pumice has buried everything for up to 5-6 meters, so what we see are actually the tops of the tallest trees. This terrible event has happened in year 1975, when the Tolbachik volcano has exploded.
Dead tree
How a tree would "see" the death and the disruption....
Dead trees Volcanic eruption
The dead forest generated by Tolbachik volcano eruption, covers an area of many squared kilometers.
Dead forest
Kamchatka volcano
Threatening volcanic cones make a crude background for something that before the eruption was a lush green forest.
Anyway, the life wants to go always on, so small creatures and even flowers, are preparing a new ground for a future forest, if the volcanoes will want it.
After the excursion to dead forest, the group returns to Tolbachik volcano base camp, for the last night in this volcanic hell (... or paradise, depending of the points of view)

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