The team of employees. From left to right:
1st row – engineer L.N. Filonova; head of Volcano Observatory- Yu.V. Demyanchuk;
technician A.I. Koneva
2nd row – boat mechanic A.N. Danov; engineer A.A. Konev; boat captain K.G. Suvorov
3rd row – caretaker G.V. Tezikov; carpenter O.V. Andrienkov; senior researcher N.A. Zharinov;
driver A.V. Bibik


The decree regarding the organization of a volcanological station on Kamchatka was accepted at the meeting of the bureau of the USSR Academy of Sciences (AS) on January 11th, 1934 at the proposal of F.U. Levinson-Lessing.

In August, 1935 the volcanology team arrived in Klyuchi Village with V.I. Vlodavets as the head. The team was entrusted with the construction of the Kamchatka Volcanological Station.

In 1943, according to the decree from the bureau of the USSR AS, the Kamchatka Volcanological Station was converted into the Laboratory of Volcanology with its Volcanological Station in Kamchatka. The founder of the laboratory was academician A.N. Zavaritskii.

Jobs at the station were divided into shifts. In 1935-1936 shifts were worked under the supervision of scientist V.I. Vlodavets, in 1936-1938 under A.A. Menyailov, in 1938-1940 V.F. Popkova.

For employees of the volcano station, academician F.U. Levinson-Lessing created a program of work. Its main aspects are: to observe the dynamics of volcanic processes; implement sensitive geochemical studies; study characteristic features of the products of volcanic eruptions; reconstruct the activities of past historic Kamchatka volcanoes; collect data about the characteristics of volcano activities, types of eruptions, and their classification. And, finally, the last aspect – to develop methods of predicting eruptions and volcanological regionalization. These objectives were, and remain, at the center of volcano station scientists’ attention and are reflected in the future work of the Institute of Volcanology. During its first decade (1935-1945), the Kamchatka station was the only volcanological institution in the Soviet Union. In 1937 the first issues of the Kamchatka Volcanological Station’s bulletin were published in Russian and English. And in 1940 – the monograph of professor V.I. Vlodavets, The Klyuchevskaya Group of Volcanoes was published, followed by academician A.N. Zavaritskii’s monograph, Introduction to the Petrochemistry of Igneous Rocks, which was published in 1944. This work marked the beginning of a new branch of volcanology – petrochemistry. In 1946 the Kamchatka Volcanological Station opened the seismic department for the researching of active volcanoes: Bezuimyannui (Bezymyanny literally translates to “Nameless”.), Klyuchevskaya, Shiveluch, and Tolbachik. Seismic stations were deployed at the foot of these giants, with employees who led round-the-clock seismic monitoring of the conditions of the volcanoes. The first head of the seismic department was N.E. Sokolov, a geologist by training. In 1953 seismologist P.I. Tokarev began working here. Under his leadership two additional seismic stations, “Kouirevskaya” and “Apahonchich,” were opened near the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes. The works of P.I. Tokarev were directed towards the development of methods for predicting volcanic eruptions. Based on the seismic monitoring data from employees of this station, Pavel Ivanovich predicted the eruption of the Bezymyanny volcano (in 1959, 1960, and 1961), and the catastrophic 1964 eruption of volcano Shiveluch, when hundreds of thousands of tons of volcanic rock were thrown to the Earth’s surface. In 1975 P.I. Tokarev gave an accurate forecast of the place and time of the Big Fissure of the Tolbachik eruption. In 1970-1971, under the leadership of researchers S.T. Balesta and B.V. Ivanov, deep seismic sounding was conducted for the first time in the Sovet Union on the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes: Bezuimyannui, Tolbachik, Shiveluch, and Klyuchevskaya. In 1978, at the foot of the Klyuchevskaya volcano, under the leadership of station scientist N.A. Zharinov, work was developed for the establishment of integrated geodetic polygons. During periods of eruptions, scientists immediately organized expeditions directly at the locations of the eruptions, where they performed complex geophysical-geochemical research.

There have been detailed studies of the geological structure, the history of eruptions, the petrography and geochemistry of the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes, and mostly of the Kamchatka volcanoes. World famous scientist-volcanologists work at the Kamchatka Volcanological Station: USSR AS academician A.N. Zavaritskii, doctor of geological-mineralogical science V.I. Vlodavets, USSR AS members-correspondents B.I. Piip, G.S. Gorshkov, and also doctor of science S.I. Naboko, A.A. Menyailov, and A.E. Svyatlovskii. The Kamchatka Station raised a new generation of volcanologists: E.K. Marhinin, V.V. Avarev, P.I. Tokarev, A.N. Sirin, K.M. Timerbaeva, G.E. Boroyavlenskaya, and others. Some of these names are linked with the development of entire fields of Soviet science, and now Russian volcanology.

Translated by Mackenzie Stricklin


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