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Four major volcanic centers create this part of the island.

Fuss Peak (image center left) is an isolated stratovolcano connected to the main island via an isthmus. The southern tip of the island is occupied by the Karpinsky Group of three volcanic centers.

Kozelsky is a parasitic cone, formed by the eruption of material from vents along the flank of Avachinsky. The Kuril Island chain is built from a line of volcanoes, an island arc, that extends from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula to northern Japan.

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The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance; the surrounding atmosphere has been shoved up by the shock wave of the eruption.

The smooth white cloud on top may be water condensation that resulted from rapid rising and cooling of the air mass above the ash column, and is probably a transient feature (the eruption plume is starting to punch through).

note: the colors may have been based on those of the Dutch flag; despite many popular interpretations, there is no official meaning assigned to the colors of the Russian flag; this flag inspired several other Slav countries to adopt horizontal tricolors of the same colors but in different arrangements, and so red, blue, and white became the Pan-Slav colors A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts to take this striking view of Sarychev Peak volcano (Russia's Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on 12 June 2009.

Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain and is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island.

The rising eruption plume casts a shadow to the northwest of the island (bottom center).

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