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The Valley of Geysers is a very isolated region, at the eastern end of Russia. It is located north-east of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski, on the volcanic peninsula of Kamchatka. Reaching 250 °C in places, this inhospitable territory was discovered by chance in 1941 by the Russian geologist Tatyana Ivanovna Ustinova, accompanied by the scientist and local guide Anysyfor Pavlovich Krupenin. It names this place the Geyser River Valley after the watercourse which sculpted the 8 km long of the canyon over 400 meters deep. This warm land is home to around forty geysers and various thermal springs.

Attached to the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, the Valley of Geysers is surrounded by several mountain ranges and a series of active or extinct volcanoes. This territory is based on the eastern part of the Pacific Fire Belt, the important geothermal activity of which is permanently supplied by an underwater depression (the Kuril–Kamchatka Trench) and the friction between the Pacific Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the Okhotsk Plate. Along the Geysernaya river, the active field of the Valley of Geysers concentrates on several km² an exceptional density of geysers and natural hot springs. The water penetrates deep underground, then it is strongly heated by the magma and the hot rocks of the Uzon caldera. Then, under pressure, the groundwater is forcefully expelled in the form of vaporous jets.

Only accessible by helicopter or through a long horse expedition, the Valley of Geysers receives only 3,000 visitors per year. It primarily attracts a large scientific community that has come to study closely the complex ecosystem and the rich geothermal heritage of this part of Kamchatka. Protected from mass tourism, this site enjoys a fantastic natural environment where several hundred brown bears live. With active households in Iceland, New Zealand and the Yellowstone National Park in the United States, the Valley of Geysers has the largest number of geysers in the world. In 2007, the collapse of a mountainside led to a gigantic movement of land, generating a vast flow of mud in the Valley of Geysers. Many geysers, including the Pervenets (the first to be discovered in 1941) find themselves flooded and certain specialists announce the imminent disappearance of the valley (a dam and a lake, formed naturally, today cover part of the area). But despite this disaster, considered one of the most important in the recent history of the Kamchatka region, hundreds of litres of thermal water continue to spring every second from the Valley of Geysers.

  • The high geothermal activity of the Valley of Geysers
  • Water boiling and permanent steam sources (smokers loaded with volcanic sediments); mud ponds and hot waters of the Geysernaya river
  • The Velikan geyser (“the giant”) and its water jets up to 40 meters in height (have an average projection series every 6 hours) ; the geyser Bolshoi (the big) with its projection of water at 15 meters in height and its steam plumes of 200 meters; the discovery of the many other geysers in the valley aligned for more than 6 km
  • Wildlife and hundreds of plant varieties from the Kronotsky Nature Reserve (it covers more than 11,000 km²)
  • The ecosystem of this hydrothermal medium and the colour palette of the landscape; the volcanoes, taiga, tundra and virgin beaches of Kamchatka
  • The volcanic mountains of the Pacific Ring of Fire; the Uzon caldera (discovered in 1854) and the vast geyser Shaman (the only geyser in the caldera) ; Klioutchevskoy volcano (4,850 meters) to the north and Karymski volcano (1,536 meters) to the South, among the most active in Eurasian territory
  • The brown bear colonies evolving in the indomitable nature of Kamchatka; Pacific salmon populations inhabiting rivers; the immense herds of reindeer and the meeting with established breeders far from civilization (the region has less than one inhabitant per km) ; the many black-headed marmots (marmota Kamtschatica) hibernating 8 months a year
  • The volcanic beaches, the natural coast and the glaciers of the Kronotsky peninsula; the larch forest of the Kronotsky Lake basin
  • Hiking activity in the various protected natural areas of Kamchatka volcanoes
  • At the end of the 17th century, the Russian adventurer Vladimir Atlassov (from the Cossack community of Siberia) was the first to organize an expedition to the Kamchatka peninsula. He founded a permanent colony on site, carried out an inventory of natural resources and met the first indigenous populations in the region (including the Itelmens, Koryaks and Ainu people).
  • The Kamchatka peninsula has just under 200 volcanoes distributed between the Central chain (including only extinct volcanoes) and the Oriental chain (which concentrates around thirty active volcanoes). This lonely territory of the Russian Far East knows a subduction zone of 10 cm per year (process during which the Pacific Plate passes under the Eurasian Plate by generating an intense volcanic activity).
  • The Kamchatka mountains and volcanoes are covered with ice for much of the year. This region totals the largest area of glaciers in all of North Asia (around 900 km² of area) and contains 10% of all active volcanoes on the planet (hence its nickname “country of fire and ice”).
  • At the bottom of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve is a sinister and dangerous natural site called the Russian Death Valley. This place stretches 2 km long and several hundred meters wide at the foot of the Kikhpinych stratovolcano. It concentrates numerous toxic gases coming out of the ground in the upper part of the Geysernaya river. Composed of hydrogen sulphide, sulphur deposits and carbon dioxide, these emanations cause a slow death, by suffocation, to any form of life (whether animal, human and even bacteriological). Dead bodies of birds, rodents and mammals accumulate there because their bodies cannot decompose in this extreme environment (even bacteria are unable to develop there).
  • Kamchatka has the highest concentration of bears in the world (around 15,000 individuals) despite the numerous hunting licences issued each year by the Russian authorities. The largest specimens of brown bears can weigh more than 600 kg and reach 3 meters long (this is the largest species of Eurasian bear. These large solitary mammals are not very aggressive for humans if they do not feel threatened (it is therefore strongly advised to stay away and avoid leaving leftover food lying around). They particularly like sulphur baths which allow them to remove parasites from their fur. Like the lion, considered as the king of the African savannah, the bear is perceived by the inhabitants of the Kamchatka region as the master of the taiga of the Russian Far East.
  • The Uzon caldera stretches 12 km long and 9 km wide. This protected area contains underground magmatic pockets and constitutes the second largest hydrothermal basin in the world after Yellowstone. Its geothermal basin has a multitude of hot springs whose temperature is between 40 and 100 °C. Its warm lands serve as a sanctuary for many microorganisms similar to bacteria which constitute the first living elements that have populated our planet.
  • Some of materials developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War (1950s) were tested on the hostile lands of Kamchatka before being sent to the Moon.
  • The region of the Valley of Geysers is reachable by helicopter from the airport of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of the Kamchatka Krai (200 km of distance).
  • Once there, be careful where you set foot, boiling springs hide under the ground and can spring up under your weight at any time. Wearing special boots is recommended to explore this distant valley, while being accompanied by an experienced local guide.
  • In high season, it is important to plan effective solutions against mosquitoes.

Address

Our Address:

Valley of Geysers, Kamchatka Krai, Russia

GPS:

54.473250666586, 160.18363863838

Telephone:
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Where to eat?

Our gourmet selection

  • Da Vinci
    (excellent Italian restaurant)
  • Ozero
    (adjoining a lake)
  • Excellence
    (surprising cuisine)

Where to go out?

Our good plans outings

  • Avachinsky volcano
    (to climb in summer)
  • Khodutka Hot Springs
    (thermal waters)
  • Kamchatka Regional Museum...
    (to learn about the region)

Where to sleep?

Our choice of accommodation

  • Solnechnaya Holiday Village
    (surrounded by forests)
  • Nachalnik Kamchatki
    (with a spa)
  • Bel Kam Tour
    (expanded services)

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