Rus Articles Journal

The raging Uzon`s caldera of

Natives of Kamchatka are the Itelmens who were making the way on Uzon behind multi-colored clays for paints sacredly kept secret about this amazing place. They spent the first civilized person here in September, 1854. It was Karl von Dietmar, the official of special instructions by mountain part. Since then people do not leave the volcano sleeping already eight thousand years Uzon the attention.

Volcanists call

Uzon “caldera“. This term (from the Spanish caldero - “copper“) indicates a special, “failure“ origin of a huge crater - a hollow. About three hundred thousand years ago on Uzon`s place towered conic stratovulkan, reaching height of three kilometers. After a series of grandiose eruptions which came to the end forty thousand years ago the volcano collapsed, the earth under it sank - the caldera was formed.

the Western edge of a caldera - the peak Mutton - keeps one and a half kilometer long “splinter“ of a primitive volcano. The steep walls available only to snow rams rise up as a springboard. The hollows filled with snow white lightnings fall down. The horizons kirpichno - red slags remind of the most ancient eruptions.

Eight and a half thousand years ago Uzon felt last “shock“. Enormous explosion left behind a funnel about a kilometer in the diameter. And since then Uzon was never thrown up. According to modern representations if term before the last eruption exceeded 3 500 years, the volcano can be considered as invalid. But not extinct. Uzon, of course, is old, however his old age is decked unusually. For last millennia of a fumarola and solfatara - exits of hot volcanic gases - changed the Earth`s surface, having sated it with an assembly of thermal sources. But the wildlife did not recede, having created unique symbiosis with a volcanism. Uzon who is in the territory of Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve is taken under special protection - since 1996 it is included by UNESCO in the List of the world natural heritage in the nomination “Volcanoes of Kamchatka“.

External slopes of a caldera are cut up by raspadka. Thickets of a cedar and alder stlanik are easily surmountable only for bears. Wind, fog and a slanting chilling rain - invariable satellites in the Kamchatka mountains. But all this will remain behind, descent in a caldera will begin only. The cold fog reigning above turns here into low overcast from which the most ordinary tender rain flows - everything changes as if you cross invisible border of other world. It and really so: Uzon exists under some laws.

He lives life, and he does not know to what confusion “the scientific heads“ near its hot springs in which the nature as if the obsessed alchemist, mixed nearly all known chemical elements, but besides, placed there still some unimaginable bacteria and seaweed for which boiled water and toxic agents - the most favorable habitat come.

Height of walls of a caldera on average 400 meters, its diameter - about 10 kilometers. Inside - as if the “archived“ Kamchatka: sulfuric kraterny sources and the pure lake from which the fish river follows, groves of a stone birch and bushes of a cedar stlanik, open spaces of the berry tundra and classical Kamchatka to a vysokotravya, and - all set of the Kamchatka living creatures: a bear, a reindeer, a fox - a pyralid, a swan - klikun, a Steller`s sea eagle.

Water live and dead

the Bear track conducting on Uzon with the North goes down to the lake Distant. It is so-called maar - the explosive funnel filled with cold and transparent water. Maar of the lake Distant has about a kilometer in the diameter, its internal walls entirely grew with a cedar stlanik, and so abrupt that the bear track removing upward reminds a fire-escape. In the winter the lake is held down by ice, the crater is nearly up to the top filled up with snow - the last ice floes disappear sometimes only by the beginning of August. The ring of steep walls almost does not leave the place for the coast, only the narrow strip of slag, ashes and volcanic bombs surrounds with a black tape water.

In the center of the caldera warmed underground, the magmatic center which did not cool down yet, the main thermal zone - here more than one thousand hot springs is (they could feed small geothermal power plant). Sources feed numerous lakes, the biggest of which - Chloride with a diameter only 150 meters. Its water belovato - gray also has hloridnonatriyevy structure. From several deep and high-temperature funnels large gas bubbles with the high content of methane and hydrogen are continuously allocated. The bottom of the lake is plentifully populated with diatomovy seaweed which under the influence of the sun (average depth of a reservoir no more than 1,5 meters) actively participate in photosynthesis, emitting oxygen. In turn, oxygen oxidizes the hydrogen sulfide arriving from depth to the elementary sulfur which is dropping out on shoal in the form of fine yellowish grains and forming sulfuric beaches on coast of the lake. This sulfur serves as food for the thionew bacteria producing sulfuric acid. As a result the stream of the natural sulfuric acid though diluted follows from the lake.

Water Chloride, certainly, does not suit

for bathing, swim in other lake - Bann - the explosive funnel filled sulphurous, heated to 40 °, water. Bathing in Bann always was a peculiar ritual for all who worked at Uzona or got as the tourist there. In the evening when darkened, chains of people with towels reached for the lake. Carefully there were they on bear footpaths, lighting a way with a small lamp, bending around mud coppers and fumarola. On booming hillocks went down to a sulfuric stream. It was already heard as bubbles in a source gurgle. Here Bathing: the beam of a lamp stopped on silently curling steam wall … In the spring of 1987 water temperature in the lake suddenly rose to 47 °C. Fans of uzonsky bathtubs were expected by disappointment. And by fall temperature returned to a former framework again.

B 1989 on a reservoir so-called freatichesky explosion to emission of the material which is contained in a funnel happened. It was observed only the huntsman of the reserve. In 1991 volcanists found the dense horizon of the melted sulfur at a depth of 25 meters. Having punched this crust, freight with the thermometer reached the real bottom at a depth of 32 meters. Impressive facts! And still it is worth plunging for about five minutes into rather dirty swill to take off fatigue and to feel together with a light smell of sulfur fleeting proximity from “underworld“.

Alchemy under legs

Mud coppers and mud volcanoes - small miracles of Uzon. They meet where peplovo - pumiceous tufa under the influence of sulfuric vapors and hot water turned into kaolinitovy clays. Dietmar for the first time described them, and Vladimir Komarov, the famous geographer, later the president of Academy of Sciences of the USSR, left the first photos. Now it seems that this extraordinary accurate as then it was told, “phototype“ are removed nearly yesterday. The same hot springs, coppers, volcanoes - those and not that: it is difficult to explain in what distinction - in an arrangement of sources or in their form. The matter is that Uzon changes all the time: one sources die, others - are born, making the way through the tundra or directly on a bear track. Clay crusts which covered many thermal platforms sometimes hoot under a leg - under them emptiness, and if to listen, it is possible to distinguish a squelch of the gurgling clay - it means that the mud copper ready to clasp you in hot arms directly is below hidden. It is much more terrible to get into the boiling clay, than just to scald: clay not boiled water, cools down slowly, and at once will not wash away it. It is only possible to envy and admire bears, looking as dashingly they cross thermal platforms.

Lazy gurgle of dense clay mixes up with furious hissing “singing“ or “devil`s frying pans“ - thermal platforms where from - under unsteady crusts splashes, boiled water is spat and bubbles.

Mud volcanoes work with

almost like real: both smoke, and “are thrown up“ by the hot clay, only their activization of “volcanic activity“ comes after a rain when clay is diluted, and in dry hot weather volcanoes “fill up“.

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Where to a surface there are low-mineralized solutions, around steam-gas streams lays fine-crystalline sulfur, covering the earth gently - a green raid. In zones of a strong mineralization (to 5 g/l) with the participation of hydrogen sulfide there is a process of an orudeneniye. Directly in the face of the researcher various sulfides are formed: arsenic - zolotisto - a yellow auripigment and oranzhevo - red realgar, antimony - antimonite, mercury - red cinnabar, gland - latunno - yellow pyrites. The palette of the uzonsky earth is fancy - about it and tell names of minerals.

Every year a caldera Uzon draws with

to herself the increasing attention of scientists from around the world. The particular interest is shown by the microbiologists who found a unique biogeocenosis in hot springs of Uzon. First of all it is the world the Archean - the most ancient microorganisms which are not relating neither to seaweed, nor to bacteria. Arkhe chose the most extreme environment for the activity. On Uzona they live in sources with a temperature of 96 °C (temperature of boiling of water at the level of a caldera bottom - 96,5 °C), use “for breath“ not oxygen, but sulfur, and power stocks fill up at the expense of hydrogen sulfide.

Slightly smaller “thrill-seekers“ should recognize by

the thionew bacteria opened in 1933. On Uzona they prefer sources, the heated from 80 to 90 °C, and form picturesque kosmoobrazny colonies of white color there. These bacteria differ by the form and specializations: one, for example, oxidize sulfur sulfides to sulfur elementary, others - will transform it to sulfuric acid. The streams inhabited by thionew bacteria have, as a rule, white color and near is red - ocherous clay hillocks embody paradoxical association with “the dairy rivers and a land of milk and honey“.

the well-known, but low-studied thermophilic relatives of usual blue-green seaweed live In the lower temperature range (less than 65 °C). These are already aerobic organisms emitting oxygen and as it became clear, interfering access to the atmosphere from thermal sources of such gases as methane and carbonic acid.

Bear paradise

Bears come to Uzon in April - May when everywhere outside a caldera snow still lies. At a spring beskormitsa a green grass for them - an unconditional delicacy. Animals with obvious pleasure walk about on warm uzonsky clay. Say as if bears treat and strengthen the feet which weakened after long hibernation. She-bears bring out of dens absolutely still tiny bear cubs. On Uzona they feel safe. Love couples which are not suffering any neighbourhood can retire to thickets of a cedar stlanik. The youth frolics on snezhnik. And in the summer and in the fall when blueberry and a pine nut - the main “vegetarian“ food of the Kamchatka bears ripen, - the clumsy population of Uzon considerably grows up number. Bears are grazed on the golubichny tundra sometimes for hours, a time for days, becoming an integral part of uzonsky landscapes. People try not to disturb them, and bears answer with indulgent indifference, as well as it befits original owners of Uzon who, fortunately, do not know that the civilization ring already became isolated …