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Tao-Rusyr Caldera, Onekotan Island, Kuril Islands

A June 10, 2009 satellite image and description released by NASA's Earth Observatory.

Tao-Rusyr Caldera
View of the south end of Onekotan Island (north is to the right) where Tao-Rusyr Caldera marks the location of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred about 9000 years ago. The five-mile-wide caldera now holds Kal'tsevoe Lake and the Mount Krenitsyn Volcano. Satellite image by NASA's Earth Observatory.

Tao-Rusyr Caldera
Mount Krenitsyn is a small volcano in the center of Kal'tsevoe Lake, on Onekotan Island in the Kuril Island chain. The volcano formed after a volcanic collapse forming a caldera. This is similar to Wizard Island in Crater Lake. Image by Dr. Igor Smolyar, NOAA/NODC

location map - Athabasca Oil Sands
Location of Tao-Rusyr Caldera, Onekotan Island, Kuril Islands.

Catastrophic Eruption in the Kuril Islands

More than 9,000 years ago, a catastrophic volcanic eruption created a huge caldera on the southern end of Onekotan Island, one of the Kuril Islands, located off the southern tip of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. Today, the ancient Tao-Rusyr Caldera is filled by the deep blue waters of Kal'tsevoe Lake.

The Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite acquired this true-color image of southern Onekotan on June 10, 2009. In this late-spring shot, snow or ice lingers on the land, forming white streaks on a brown-and-green land surface. In the northwest quadrant of the caldera is Krenitzyn Peak, which rises to a height of 1,325 meters (4,347 feet).

Like the other Kuril Islands, Onekotan lies along the Pacific "Ring of Fire." The Kuril Island volcanoes are fueled by magma generated by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Eurasian Plate, which takes place along a deep trench about 200 kilometers (120 miles) to the islands' east. The only historical eruption at Krenitzyn Peak occurred in 1952, a week after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the subduction fault.

NASA Earth Observatory image created by Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Michon Scott and Rebecca Lindsey.

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