Earth Observations taken by the Expedition 15 Crew



Washington, DC, United States

ISS015-E-16913 (10 July 2007) --- Shiveluch Volcano, Kamchatka, Russian Far East is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 15 crewmember on the International Space Station. Shiveluch is one of the biggest and most active of a line of volcanoes along the spine of the Kamchatka peninsula in easternmost Russia. In turn the volcanoes and peninsula are part of the tectonically active "Ring of Fire" that almost surrounds the Pacific Ocean, denoted by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. Shiveluch occupies the point where the northeast-trending Kamchatka volcanic line intersects the northwest-trending Aleutian volcanic line. Junctions such as this are typically points of intense volcanic activity. According to scientists, the summit rocks of Shiveluch have been dated at approximately 65,000 years old. Lava layers on the sides of the volcano reveal at least 60 major eruptions in the last 10,000 years, making it the most active volcano in the 2,200 kilometer distance that includes the Kamchatka peninsula and the Kuril island chain. Shiveluch rises from almost sea level to well above 3,200 miles (summit altitude 3,283 miles) and is often capped with snow. In this summer image however, the full volcano is visible, actively erupting ash and steam in late June or early July, 2007. The dull brown plume extending from the north of the volcano summit is most likely a combination of ash and steam (top). The two larger white plumes near the summit are dominantly steam, a common adjunct to eruptions, as rain and melted snow percolate down to the hot interior of the volcano. The sides of the volcano show many eroded stream channels. The south slope also reveals a long sloping apron of collapsed material, or pyroclastic flows. Such debris flows have repeatedly slid down and covered the south side of the volcano during major eruptions when the summit lava domes explode and collapse (this occurred during major eruptions in 1854 and 1964). Regrowth of the forest on the south slope (note the contrast with the eastern slope) has been foiled by the combined effects of continued volcanic activity, instability of the debris flows and the short growing season.


  • Title: Earth Observations taken by the Expedition 15 Crew
  • Date Created: 2007-07-10
  • Rights: JSC
  • Album: mgwhite

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