Kamchatka Research Paper

Tiffany Humble GEOG 101-001 Research Paper #2 Kamchatka Peninsula Section 1 – Chapter 11: Terrestrial Flora and Fauna The Kamchatka Peninsula is located on the eastern most portion of Russia and is classified as a boreal forest. Boreal forests are also called taiga which is Russian for forest. Most of northern North America is also part of a boreal forest. Kamchatka’s flora and fauna is typical of boreal forests, but there are some species of both animals and plants that are specific to Kamchatka. Perhaps one thing Kamchatka is most famous for is salmon.

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Kamchatka Peninsula is 1,000 miles long and it produces 25% of all wild Pacific salmon. Every year in July starts the great salmon run; the salmon swim upstream to spawn and produce thousands of eggs. But the salmon have been dropping in numbers over the last several years due to poaching. Several hatcheries have been opened along the banks of Bystraya River, one such hatchery is known as the Malki hatchery and it produces over 1. 2 million salmon eggs a year (Quammen). The Kamchatka Peninsula is also home to one of the largest crabs on earth, known as the Red King Crab (Travel Kamchatka).

Several other animal species include the brown bear, known as the “Master of Kamchatka”, Steller’s Sea Eagle, and numerous other species of foxes, falcons, seals, wolverines, and sables (Travel Kamchatka). The forests of Kamchatka are largely made up of Birch trees. The people of Russian have developed several uses for the Birch trees such as woodworks and furniture manufacturing. They also make a tonic from Birch sap. One type of Birch tree in particular, Erman’s Birch, is famous for growing roots into stone cliffs where not much else can grow.

This has earned the Erman’s Birch the nickname of Stone Birch (Travel Kamchatka). Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula is also known for its vast meadows of daises (Travel Kamchatka). However it does also have flowers on the preservation list, one such flower is the Large-flowered Slipper, Russia’s most elusive orchid. The Large-flowered Slipper was originally discovered in 1908 by V. L. Komarov and has only been seen in the wild two other times since 1908, the last sighting was in 1983 by employees of the Khronotsky National Park (Kamchatka Travel).

Section 2 – Chapter 14: The Internal Processes The Kamchatka Peninsula is located in Far East Russia and is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Kamchatka has over 160 volcanoes, 28 of which are active (Russia Discovery). According to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) there were four volcanoes erupting in the beginning of April 2010 (Earth Observatory). Kamchatka’s volcanoes erupt on a fairly regular basis destroying much of the beautiful habitat on the peninsula.

The four volcanoes that erupted earlier this month, Shiveluch, Klyuchevskaya, Karymsky, and Bezmianny exhibited increased activity in August of 2009, along with two other volcanoes. Gorely, a volcano in Kamchatka that hasn’t erupted for 22 years was among the six volcanoes exhibiting simultaneous activity in 2009. Scientists from KVERT began studying the area in an attempt to determine what was causing the increased activity. The lake atop Gorely was experiencing an increased water temperature, which the scientists believe was indicative of an imminent eruption (Kamchatka Six).

Not only does Kamchatka have 160 volcanoes, but Kamchatka also has an abundance of hot springs and geysers. The area stretching between Paratunka River and Banniye is full of natural hot springs. Scientists discovered the crater of a super volcano in 2007 that stretches 35 kilometers throughout this region. The once super-volcano has cooled since its eruption over a million and a half years ago but scientists believe the warmth from this ancient volcano is what is heating the springs in the area (Crater). The Yellowstone Caldera is similar to the one discovered in Kamchatka.

Calderas such as these are only created by super-volcanoes, of which there have only been 18 super-eruptions in the last two million years. Super-volcanoes can only form in certain geological conditions such as a large volume of magma must be stored close to the Earth’s surface, the magma must have a high viscosity and it must have a high silica count. If the magma cannot escape by means of small, pressure-reducing eruptions it can build up and eventually lead to a super-eruption (Lowenstern). Kamchatka has also experienced earthquakes, though not as frequently as volcanic eruptions.

It was previously believed that Kamchatka was located on the North American Plate; however, in 2006 a study by Jody Bourgeois proposed the theory that Kamchatka was actually located on the Okhotsk Block. The area around Kamchatka is plate tectonic heavy with three main plates, the North American Plate, the Eurasian Plate, and the Pacific Plate, as well as the two smaller blocks, the Okhotsk Block and the Bering Block (Stricherz). Earthquakes that have occurred in Kamchatka have been known to cause tsunamis in places such as Alaska and Hawaii.

An earthquake in Kamchatka in November 1952 caused a tsunami in multiple places including Alaska, the Hawaiian islands, and New Zealand (Kamchatka Earthquakes). Section 3 – Chapter 17: Solution Processes and *Karst* Topography The Kamchatka Peninsula is home to the Valley of the Geysers. A geyser is a form of intermittent hot spring that temporarily projects hot water into the air. The Valley of the Geysers is an area that was discovered in 1941 in what is now the Kronotsky Nature Preserve. In an area covering 2. square miles there are more than 20 large geysers and over 200 smaller thermal springs (Mehta). In 2008 the Valley of the Geysers were elected as one of the Seven Wonders of Russia, this is also the only geyser field in all of Eurasia (Valley of the Geysers). Kronotsky Nature Preserve is known as a zapovednik, which means the area is restricted to tourists and the general public. Scientists are allowed into the nature preserve only for federal research. The ban on tourism has been lifted slightly but not by much (National Geographic).

Due to the heat from the geysers spring blooms in early April around the Valley of the Geysers, while the rest of the peninsula is still covered in snow. The Brown Bears leave their dens to feed on the fresh grass, the bumblebees and other insects also begin emerging from the snow (Fauna). Sadly the Valley of the Geysers was nearly destroyed in 2007 by a massive landslide. The landslide was caused by an earthquake in June of 2007. The massive amount of mud, rock, snow and ice dammed the Geyser River and covered nearly half of all the geysers (National Geographic).

Among the covered geysers is Pervenets; Pervenets was the first geyser discovered in 1941 and its name means “first born. ” With the river now dammed scientists do not know how it will affect the wildlife in the area. The Valley of the Geysers was a unique area that gave life to many species both plant and animal that were specific to the region. The heat of the geysers supported the unique ecosystem in the area, but now with over half the geysers buried by the landslide the area has lost much of that heat. It is still unknown how the loss of the heat will affect the area’s animal and plant life (Earth

Observatory). The landslide buried the geysers under 180 feet of mud and rock. Scientists agree that it is unlikely that the geysers can create a new hole from that depth. However, because the new lake created by the earthen dam is slowly draining the scientists are hopeful that the lake will drain enough and allow some of the buries geysers to restart (Earth Observatory). {draw:frame} Works Cited “Crater of Ancient Super-Volcano Discovered at Kamchatka. ” _The Vladivostok _TImes [Vladivostok, Russia] 4 Apr. 2007. Print. “Fauna. ” Web. 10 Apr. 010. “Flora and Fauna. ” Travel Kamchatka. Web. 12 Apr. 2010. “Four Erupting Kamchatka Volcanoes. ” Earth Observatory. NASA, 2 Apr. 2010. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. http://earthobservatory. nasa. gov. “The Kamchatka Six: Russia’s Volcanoes Rock and Rumble. ” Web log post. The Volcanism Blog. 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 9 Apr. 2010. http://volcanism. wordpress. com/2009/08/24/the-kamchatka-six-russias-volcanoes-rock-and-rumble/. “Landslide Buries Valley of the Geysers. ” Earth Observatory. NASA, 11 June 2007. Web. 9 Apr. 2010. http:// earthobservatory. nasa. gov.

Lowenstern, Jacob B. “Monitoring Super-Volcanoes: Geophysical and Geochemical Signals at Yellowstone and Other Large Caldera Systems. ” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 364. 1845 (2006): 2055-072. JSTOR. Web. 13 Apr. 2010. http://www. jstor. org. proxy. lib. utc. edu/action/showArticle? suffix=25190314&seq=1&Search=yes&term=volcanoes&term=kamchatka&list=show&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dkamchatka%2Bvolcanoes%26wc%3Don%26dc%3DAll%2BDisciplines&item=20&ttl=257&returnArticleService=showArticle&resultsServiceName=null.

Mehta, Aalok. “Russia’s Valley of the Geysers Lost in Landslide. ” National Geographic 5 June 2007. Nationalgeographic. com. Web. 8 Apr. 2010. http://news. nationalgeographic. com/news/2007/06/070605-geyser-valley. html. Quammen, David. “Krontosky Nature Preserve: Fragile Russian Wilderness. ” National Geographic Jan. 2009. Nationalgeographic. com. Web. 8 Apr. 2010. http://www. nationalgeographic. com. Quammen, David. “Where The Salmon Rule. ” National Geographic Aug. 2009. Web. 11


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