Kurile Islands, July 2019: Raikoke volcano

During our pilot expedition to the northern Kuriles in July 2019, we managed to reach the very remote and isolated island of Raikoke, which had just had a major eruption 3 weeks earlier. The eruption had transformed a previously lush, completely green island full of life into a hellish ash desert:
After sailing more than 100 miles over night, we are suddenly accompanied by thousands of sea birds flying around. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After sailing more than 100 miles over night, we are suddenly accompanied by thousands of sea birds ... [info]
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We are approaching the island volcano Raikoke which has erupted with a devastating large explosion on 22 June 2019, which left a lush green island now completely covered in ash. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
We are approaching the island volcano Raikoke which has erupted with a devastating large explosion o... [info]
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Wide-angle view of the island (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Wide-angle view of the island (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Large ash deltas deposited from pyroclastic flows are blanketed over the slopes and shores. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Large ash deltas deposited from pyroclastic flows are blanketed over the slopes and shores. (Photo: ... [info]
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The air is filled with ash and volcanic gasses, making the approach difficult. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The air is filled with ash and volcanic gasses, making the approach difficult. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Strong winds pick up dust from the fresh ash deposits. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Strong winds pick up dust from the fresh ash deposits. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View of the ash delta (deposit of a pyroclastic flow, a hot avalanche that descended here during the eruption). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View of the ash delta (deposit of a pyroclastic flow, a hot avalanche that descended here during the... [info]
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Close-up of the contact between older rocks and the new deposit. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Close-up of the contact between older rocks and the new deposit. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The crater of the volcano was still emitting lots of gas, making it very uncomfortable staying downwind. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The crater of the volcano was still emitting lots of gas, making it very uncomfortable staying downw... [info]
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Strong and shifting winds make it impossible to find a safe anchorage, unfortunately. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Strong and shifting winds make it impossible to find a safe anchorage, unfortunately. (Photo: Tom Pf... [info]
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The thousands of birds circling over and around the island probably are confused and looking for their destroyed nesting places. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The thousands of birds circling over and around the island probably are confused and looking for the... [info]
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Hopefully, they can survive and find new places? (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Hopefully, they can survive and find new places? (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The ambience is sinister, increased by the ash picked up with the winds. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The ambience is sinister, increased by the ash picked up with the winds. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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After a while, wind continues to be strong and changing, so we had to abandon our plan to land and take samples. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After a while, wind continues to be strong and changing, so we had to abandon our plan to land and t... [info]
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Looking back to Raikoke (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Looking back to Raikoke (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Our skillful skippers Sascha and Gregory. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Our skillful skippers Sascha and Gregory. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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