Epic Places: The Kuril Islands

Untouched is an overused word, but the Kuril Islands wholly deserve that appellation. And if one gets a lucky shot like below, words are simply not enough though epic come close.

Photo: Chris Burkard

The Kuril Islands (56 in total) form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately 1,300 km northeast from Hokkaido, Japan to Kamchatka, Russia. All the islands are under Russian jurisdiction although Japan claims the four southernmost islands in a long-standing dispute. The islands are part of the infamous “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean. In fact, they are the direct result of volcanic activity millions of years back. Around 100 volcanoes dot the island chain; forty are active. Climate in this forbidding region ranges widely – from temperate to sub-Arctic, characterized by long and bitterly cold winters.

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