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Asia Natural Wonders
Taymyr Peninsula
Northern Steppe
Sea of Okhotsk
Tyulenii Island
Kamchatka
The Valley of the Geysers
Lake Baikal
Yankicha--Kuril Islands
Aral Sea
Singing Sands
 

 

 

 

 

Yankicha--Kuril Islands, Russia

Earth's Natural Wonders in Asia

Nasa. Gov.[4]

Diameter of Yankicha: 6,561 feet (2,000 meters)
Height of Yankicha: 1,263 feet (388 meters)

 

 

Tiny Yankicha, the emergent tip of an extinct volcano, is stunning. The steep-walled caldera is broken to the south and so is flooded by the sea. it forms a tranquil lagoon where harlequins and sea otters swim. The inner grassy slopes rise to the rocky rim where fulmars nest and the cliffs are covered with kittiwakes. Near the lip of the lagoon a srape in the beach fills with thermal waters; no natural hot spring bath can have a more spectacular setting..[1]

On your way to Yankicha you scout for whales and sea otters, Laysan albatross may be gliding in our wake, and with luck, you may spot the exceedingly rare short-tailed albatross. At Yankicha a sinking volcanic caldera offers access during high tides. Inside the magnificent lagoon, you witness the ongoing volcanic activity. Grassy and rocky slopes are nesting grounds for crested auklets, and common and thick-billed murres make their home in the ledges of the vertical cliffs. Whiskered auklets feed offshore in the mingling tides, creating a virtual auklet haze as they return to their nests in spectacular swarms.[2]

 

The Kuril Islands form part of the ring of tectonic instability encircling the Pacific ocean referred to as the Ring of Fire. The islands themselves are summits of stratovolcanoes that are a direct result of the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate, which forms the Kuril Trench some 200 km east of the islands. The chain has around 100 volcanoes, some 40 of which are active, and many hot springs and fumaroles. There is frequent seismic activity, including an earthquake of magnitude 8.3 recorded on November 15, 2006, which resulted in tsunami waves up to 5 ft reaching the California coast.

The climate on the islands is generally severe, with long, cold, stormy winters and short and notoriously foggy summers. The average annual precipitation is 30–40 inches (760–1,000 mm), most of which falls as snow.

The chain ranges from temperate to sub-Arctic climate types, and the vegetative cover consequently ranges from tundra in the north to dense spruce and larch forests on the larger southern islands. The highest elevations on the island are Alaid volcano (highest point 2339 m) on Atlasov Island at the northern end of the chain and Tyatya volcano (1819 m) on Kunashir Island at the southern end.

Landscape types and habitats on the island include many kinds of beach and rocky shores, cliffs, wide rivers and fast gravelly streams, forests, grasslands, alpine tundra, crater lakes and peat bogs. The soils are generally productive, owing to the periodic influxes of volcanic ash and, in certain places, owing to significant enrichment by seabird guano. However, many of the steep, unconsolidated slopes are susceptible to landslides and newer volcanic activity can entirely denude a landscape.[3]

 

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References
1.1,001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die 2005-p. 626- Michael Bright-retrieved 7/13/2009
2.Bootsnall.com-Northern Ring of Fire-retrieved 7/13/2009
3. Wikipedia-Yankicha, Kuril Islands--retrieved 7/13/2009
4. NASA. GOV.-Yankicha-retrieved 7/13/2009
 
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