Northern Kurile Islands

Last Updated: July 18, 2000

The Kurile Islands
Northern Kuriles | Central Kuriles | Southern Kuriles

The Northern Kurile Islands consist of the islands of Shumshu, Paramushir, Alaid, Onekotan, Makanrushi, Kharimkotan, Shiashkotan, Ekarma, and Chirinkotan. The volcanoes that make these islands are:

26. Chirinkotan 31. Tao-Rusyr Caldera 35.1 Lomonosov Group
27. Ekarma 32. Nemo Peak 36. Chikurachki
28. Kuntomintar 33.1. Shirinki 37. Vernadskii Ridge
29. Sinarka 34. Fuss Peak 38. Ebeko
30. Harimkotan 35. Karpinsky Group 39. Alaid

This photo from the Space Shuttle shows the Northern Kurile Islands. Paramushir is in the top right corner. Kharimkotan is near the center of the photo. The view is to the east.

This photo from the Space Shuttle looks to the southeast. The Kamchatka peninsula is at the bottom of the photo. Shumshu, the first island south of Kamchatka, does not have any active volcanoes. The volcanoes of Ebeko and Chikurachki, two of the most active volcanoes of the Kurile arc, are on Paramushir, the second island south (partial covered by clouds). Alaid volcano sits behind the main arc of volcanoes, west (to the right) of Paramushir. The island of Onekotan can be faintly seen in the top right corner of the photo. Nemo Peak and Tao-Rusyr Caldera, which have both erupted in historic time, are on Onekotan.

This simple map shows the same view as the above photo.


Location: 49.0N, 153.5E
Elevation: 2375 feet (724 m)

Chirinkotan is a stratovolcano with at least five historic eruptions. The most recent eruption was in 1986. It was small (VEI=1) and lasted only one day. The oldest confirmed eruption was in 1884.

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Location: 48.9N, 153.9E
Elevation: 3837 feet (1170 m)

Ekarma is a stratovolcano that forms an island. Two eruptions are known in 1767- 1769 and 1980. The earlier eeruption formed the summit dome.

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Shiashkotan Island


Location: 48.7N, 154.0E
Elevation: 2716 feet (828 m)

Kuntomintar is a hydrothermal field near Sinarka volcano. There have been no eruptions at Kuntomintar in the last 10,000 years.

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Location: 48.9N, 154.1E
Elevation: 3064 feet (934 m)

Sinarka is an active stratovolcano with four eruptions between 1725 and 1878. The largest eruption began in 1872 and continued to 1878. This explosive eruption produced pyroclastic flows, caused damage, and ultimately constructed a lava dome. The Ainu village was destroyed, possibly by incandescent avalanches.

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Location: 49.1N, 154.5E
Elevation: 3755 feet (1145 m)

Harimkotan, a stratovolcano, erupted from the Severgin vent six times between 1713 and 1933. The 1933 explosive eruption produced pyroclastic flows and constructed a lava dome. A tsunami caused by the collapse of the Severgin cone reached the Onekotan and Paramushir Islands. The two people were killed by the tsunami, which was reported to be 65 feet (20 m) high.

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Onekotan Island

Tao-Rusyr Caldera

Location: 49.4N, 154.7E
Elevation: 4346 feet (1325 m)

A single historic eruption at Tao-Rusyr was from Krenitzyn Peak on the volcano’s east flank in 1952. This explosive eruption (VEI=3) was from a crater lake and constructed a lava dome. Tao-Rusyr Caldera formed during a very large explosive eruption (VEI=6) in about 5550 BC.

Looking east to Onekotan Island with Nemo Peak and Tao-Rusyr Caldera. Harimkotan, an active stratovolcano, is the island on the right. Space Shuttle photo STS068-231-054. Photo taken October 1994.

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Nemo Peak

Location: 49.6N, 154.8E
Elevation: 3339 feet (1018 m)

Nemo Peak is a caldera with at least three historic eruptions: 1710, 1906, and 1938. The historic eruptions have been moderate intensity and explosive.

This photograph is looking to the southeast across the islands of Onekotan, Kharimkotan, and Shiashkotan (left to right, respectively). The islands of Makanrushi, Ekarma, and Chirinkotan are behind (west of) the main volcanic arc. Tao-Rusyr caldera and crater lake can clearly be seen on Onekotan. Fuss Peak forms the north (left) side of this island. Ekarma Island and volcano is northwest of Sinarka. Ekarma last erupted in 1980. Makanrushi Island (island closest to the bottom of the photo) is probably volcanic in origin but is not listed as an active volcano.

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Location: 50.2N, 154.98E
Elevation: 2496 feet (761 m)

Shirinki is a Holocene straovolcano with no recorded historic eruptions.

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Paramushir Island

Fuss Peak

Location: 50.3N, 155.3E
Elevation: 5812 feet (1772 m)

Fuss Peak is an active stratovolcano with a single known moderate-large explosive eruption in 1854.

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Karpinsky Group

Location: 50.1N, 155.4E
Elevation: 4411 feet (1345 m)

Karpinsky Group is made of cones. An eruption on the east side of Karpinsky Ridge in 1952 was small and explosive.

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Lomonosov Group

Location: 50.3N, 155.4E
Elevation: 5513 feet (1681 m)

The Lomonosov Group is made of Holocene cinder cones. No historic eruptions have been recorded.

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Location: 50.3N, 155.5E
Elevation: 5956 feet (1816 m)

Chikurachki, a stratovolcano, has erupted nine times between 1853 and 1986. The largest eruption (VEI=5) was in 1853-1859. The 1986 eruption lasted about three weeks. It was explosive (VEI=4), phreatic, and generated pyroclastic flows. Lava flows and mudflows were also produced.

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Vernadskii Ridge

Location: 50.6N, 156.0E
Elevation: 3880 feet (1183 m)
Vernadskii Ridge is made of Holocene cinder cones. No historic eruptions have been recorded.

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Location: 50.7N, 156.0E
Elevation: 3791 feet (1156 m)

Ebeko, a somma volcano, is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kurile Islands. Eleven eruptions have been recorded betwen 1793 and 1991. Most of the eruptions are small (VEI=1) with the exception of the 1859 eruption (VEI=3). Most eruptions were phreatic and explosive.

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Location: 50.9N, 155.6E
Elevation: 7672 feet (2339 m)

Alaid, a stratovolcano, has erupted at least ten times since 1790. The most recent eruption was in 1986. The 1790-1793 and 1981 eruptions were large (VEI=4). The plume from the 1981 eruption reached heights of about 7 miles (12 km) and was observed by satellites. Alaid erupted in December of 1996.

Alaid stratovolcano, Atlasova Island. Space Shuttle photo STS047-075-082. Photo taken September 1992.

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