Massive landslide destroys natural wonder of Russia's Valley of Geysers
Tuesday 05 June 2007
A massive landslide has all but obliterated one of Russia's most spectacular natural wonders, the Valley of Geysers.
The valley, in the Kronotsky national reserve in Kamchatka, the far-eastern peninsula famed for its volcanoes, contained about 90 geysers, as well as a number of thermal pools, and is the region's most popular tourist attraction.
A snow-covered mound collapsed on Sunday "within seconds" and caused a landslide, about a mile long and 600 feet wide, that buried two thirds of the valley, a park ranger, Valery Tsypkov, said on Russian television.
The landslide dumped millions of cubic metres of mud and stones and destroyed most of the valley's geysers and dozens of thermal springs. It stopped only yards from the valley's only hotel. Tourists and park personnel had to be evacuated, but no injuries were reported.
Natalya Radugova, director of the Kronotsky national reserve, said: "The splendour of the valley has changed beyond recognition." But some officials said they believed there was a positive side to the loss of the valley. The dam that has been formed will turn the valley - which was discovered only in 1941 - into a thermal lake that could become a new "tourist jewel of Russia", said a tourism official Denis Lazarev.
The extent of the damage to the valley's geysers was not immediately clear, but experts feared many of them have been obliterated.
"We witnessed a unique natural event," said Oleg Mitvol, the deputy head of Russia's environmental watchdog agency Rosprirodnadzor. "But the consequences of such a natural catastrophe are irreversible."
The sparsely populated Kamchatka peninsula lies about 4,000 miles east of Moscow. It was completely closed to foreigners until 1990, and now attracts thousands of tourists annually with its volcanoes, geysers and national parks.
The 800-mile-long peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk, is one of just five places in the world where geysers - springs ejecting hot water and steam into the air - are found.
"This is tragic for humankind, in that we have lost one of the great natural wonders of the world," said Laura Williams of the wildlife charity WWF on the organisation's website.
"But for Nature, this is only a blip in the history of the planet's evolution."
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Was a Russian-made missile really parked in this quiet square?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...