Where on Earth? - December 2012

Clues for December 2012:
1. Sitting atop a subduction zone where the Pacific Plate dips beneath the Okhotsk Plate, this active andesitic stratovolcano is one of about 40 that forms part of a historically disputed island chain stretching more than 1,000 kilometers between two countries.
2. Eruptions of the volcano, which is nearly 1,500 meters high and features a 3- to 3.5-kilometer wide caldera, have been recorded since the 18th century.
3. The most recent major eruption occurred over several days in June 2009 when the volcano sent pyroclastic flows down its flanks and spewed ash more than 12 kilometers into the atmosphere, forcing airline traffic to divert around the region. The ash cloud seen at right in this photograph (taken in June 2012) was kicked up from a pyroclastic flow deposited during the 2009 eruption.
Name the volcano and its host island chain.
Scroll down for the answer
Answer: Russia’s Mt. Sarychev is one of about 40 active volcanoes in the historically disputed (with Japan) Kuril Island chain that marks the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Okhotsk Plate. The last major eruption occurred in June 2009. Photo is by Grace Sherwood Winer.

December winners
Les Beard (Tucson, Ariz.)
Edith Chasen-Cerreta (Woodhaven, N.Y.)
Thom Davis (Campton, N.H.)
David Goldak (Andover, Kan.)
Annika Swanson (Fairbanks, Alaska)
To submit your photographs to our Where on Earth? contest, send them via e-mail to


01 Dec 2012