The stunning pictures were captured by a Russian film crew who swooped across in a helicopter and braved roasting hot pyroclastic flows on the ground to create an immersive, interactive panorama.
Plosky Tolbachik is one of four volcanoes, all within 110 miles of each other, that have been active simultaneously on the peninsula in Russia’s far east since late November.
Scroll down to try the incredible panorama for yourself
The Tolbachik Volcano system, which consists of the active Plosky Tolbachik and it’s extinct sister Ostry Tolbachik, is the largest of the south-western sector of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic group, said Airpano, the group which captured these amazing images..
It was formed about 10,000 years ago, in the Early Holocene, with a caldera at the summit of Plosky Tolbachik about 3km in diameter.
The south zone of the Tolbachik system extends about 45-50km down to the Nikolka volcano and is called Tolbachinsky Dol. It is here that the latest fissure eruption began at the end of November.
Shot from a variety of locations around the volcano, the incredible panorama can be zoomed and panned in much the same way as Google Street View.
It was captured in December by Russian non-profit outfit AirPano, a group of photographers and panorama enthusiasts who create high-resolution 3d aerial panoramas.
In a blog post accompanying the incredible panorama, Oleg Gaponyuk told how the team cancelled a trip to Dubai to shoot the Burj skyscraper at the last minute to capture the spectacular light show.
‘The Tolbachik volcano eruption is classified as an unconventional fissure eruption. Fissure eruptions are known for emitting great volume of lava,’ he said.
‘They are also called “touristic” eruptions for relatively low level of danger and photogenic beauty of flowing rivers of lava.
‘Weather permitting, one can fly up close to a volcanic crater or hover right above a lava stream. We knew it all in theory, but in reality we kept our fingers crossed for a good weather.’
Stas Sedov, who was among the Airpano team that braved temperatures fluctuating from -19C to red-hot lava to shoot the volcano, recalled the dramatic scenes that met them as they arrived.
‘The volcano in front of us is covered with clouds and smoke,’ he wrote. ‘We decide to move up the lava flow. Finally there are the first red hot lava streams underneath us!
‘We slow down the helicopter and shoot several spherical panoramas. We are overwhelmed – we finally saw IT!’
He told how the pilot of the helicopter braved strong winds and cloudy conditions to hover right over the hot lava flow.
‘Ascending flows of hot air threw the helicopter side to side like a feather, but Dmitry held it over the spot as if it was tied to an invisible anchor.
‘Every time I looked out of the window with my camera it felt like I was sticking my head into a hot oven. Everyone was perspiring from unbearable heat and concentration.’
THE VOLCANOES OF KAMCHATKA
Kamchatka is a 780 mile peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of about 100,000 sq/miles.
The Kamchatka River and the surrounding central side valley are flanked by large volcanic belts containing around 160 volcanoes, 29 of them still active.
The peninsula has a high density of volcanoes and associated volcanic phenomena, with 19 active volcanoes being included in the six UNESCO World Heritage List sites in the Volcanoes of Kamchatka group, most of them on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The highest volcano is Klyuchevskaya Sopka (15,584 ft), the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere.
The most striking is Kronotsky, whose perfect cone was said by celebrated volcanologists Robert and Barbara Decker to be a prime candidate for the world’s most beautiful volcano.
Somewhat more accessible are the three volcanoes visible from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky: Koryaksky, Avachinsky, and Kozelsky.
In the centre of Kamchatka is Eurasia’s world famous Geyser Valley which was partly destroyed by a massive mudslide in June 2007.
That volcanoes erupt in Kamchatka is hardly news – it boasts 29 active volcanoes – but for four to be active at any one time is the vulcanological equivalent of winning the lottery.
The peninsula, which has a landmass slightly larger than Germany, is one of the most active parts of the ‘Ring of Fire’ zone of volcanic and seismic activity that encircles the Pacific.
It is the meeting point of three tectonic plates – the North American Plate, the Okhotsk Plate and the Pacific Plate – where they all collide causing massive
Attribution: Damien Gayle, Mail Online