39. Gorelyy Krehbet Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia
The Kamchatka peninsula in eastern Russia is one of the most active volcanic provinces in the world, containing at least 20 volcanos that are known to have erupted in recent times. The snow-covered profiles of two of these volcanos are crisply defined by the low Sun angle in this shuttle photograph. At top center of the photograph the cone of Gorelyy Krehbet rises to 1830 meters (6000 feet) with an elongate series of craters located at its summit. This volcano last erupted in 1931, but as the photograph reveals, the present volcano is located at the center of an older caldera, about 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) in diameter, that completely encircles the present cone. Ash flows from the eruption that created that caldera are visible to the northwest in snow-covered ridges and gullies.
To the south of Gorelyy Krehbet stands Mutnovskaya (2323 meters, 7621 feet), a complex cone with the newest craters on the northwest side. This volcano is believed to have last erupted in 1945, but there is little in the photograph to suggest that the eruption was large. At left center of the photograph, slightly obscured by thin cloud, is what appears to be an older, eroded volcanic structure. At top right, another volcano casts a perfect pointed shadow of its symmetrical profile on the wall of the valley opposite.
Kamchatka is frequently covered by cloud for long periods; the shuttle astronauts were able to take advantage of a rare clear period to take an exceptional series of photographs, of which this is only one.
STS-9, November-December 1983. Picture #9-31-1097.