Kuril Islands, Russia
The 1,300 km long volcanic archipelago of the Kuril Islands stretches between Japan and the Kamchatka Peninsula, where the Sea of Okhotsk meets the Pacific Ocean. The islands are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the tectonically unstable ring that encircles the Pacific Ocean and is known for the majority of Earth’s major volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The Kuril islands are the summits of stratovolcanoes that result from the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate, along the Kuril Trench. The chain of 56 islands is home to around 100 volcanoes, of which 40 are active, many hot springs and frequent seismic activity. The PROBA-V 100 m image of mid June 2016 shows the northernmost islands, that are part of the Kamchatka-Kurile meadows sparse forests ecoregion. The climate on the islands is generally severe, with long, cold, stormy winters and short and foggy summers.