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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 52.543°N
  • 157.339°E

  • 2439 m
    8000 ft

  • 300080
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Opala.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Opala.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Opala.

Geological Background

Steep-sided, conical Opala stratovolcano is one of the most dramatic volcanoes of southern Kamchatka. The 2439-m-high volcano was constructed during the late-Pleistocene to Holocene at the northern end of the 12 x 14 km, 40,000-year-old Opala caldera. The volcano has produced andesitic-dacitic lavas and tephras through most of the Holocene. The latest major explosive eruption formed the prominent Barany Amphitheater on the SE flank about 1500 years ago, producing a voluminous 9-10 cu km regional tephra marker layer of rhyolitic composition. The 2 x 2.5 km crater is filled by a lava dome 1 km wide. Mild explosive eruptions have been reported from summit and flank vents in historical time, although no associated tephra deposits have been found. Recent tephrochronological work has revealed evidence, however, for a large explosive eruption from the summit crater about 300 years ago.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1894 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
[ 1854 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
[ 1827 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
1776 Oct 23 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
0610 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (corrected) SE flank (Barany Amphitheater)
1550 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
3500 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Opalskaia Sopka | Apalskaia Sopka | Apachinskaia Sopka | Opalinskaja | Opalnaja | Koschelewa Peak | Opalnaja


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Ustup Cone


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Barany Amphitheater
    Baranii Amphitheater


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Skalistaya Dome
Stolovaya Dome

Photo Gallery

The prominent conical Opala volcano, seen here from the east, lies about 50 km west of the main volcanic arc in southern Kamchatka. The 2475-m-high stratovolcano was constructed at the north end of the 10 x 12 km, 40,000-year-old Opala caldera. Post-caldera Holocene volcanism also included the extrusion of lava domes and rhyolitic lava flows. The latest major explosion formed the Barany amphitheater on the SE flank about 1500 years ago. Mild explosive eruptions of uncertain validity have been reported in historical time.

Photo by Andrei Tsvetkov.
Late Pleistocene-Holocene cinder cones in the foreground dot the southern part of Tolmachev Dol (Tolmachev Plateau) with conical Opala stratovolcano in the background. Tolmachev Dol is a large volcanic highland NE of Opala volcano that is blanketed with numerous postglacial cinder cones. The cones and associated lava fields cover a broad area around scenic Lake Tolmachev halfway beween Opala and Gorely volcanoes.

Copyrighted photo by Leopold Sulerzhitsky (Holocene Kamchataka volcanoes; http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/volcanoes/holocene/main/main.htm).
This massive shield volcano, extensively eroded by glaciers, is the early Pleistocene Bolshaya Ipelka shield volcano, the largest volcanic structure of southern Kamchatka. A single unnamed Holocene cinder cone is found on the southern flank of Bolshaya Ipelka. The conical stratovolcano to the east (right) is Opala, which was constructed along the northern rim of a large 12 x 14 km wide caldera, whose floor is largely snow free in this NASA Space Shuttle image.

NASA Space Shuttle image ISS004-E-11691, 2002 (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/).


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Braitseva O, Ponomareva V, Melekestsev I, Sulerzhitsky L, Pevzner M, 2002-. Holocene Kamchatka volcanoes. http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/volcanoes/holocene/main/main.htm.

Erlich E N, 1986. Geology of the calderas of Kamchatka and Kurile Islands with comparison to calderas of Japan and the Aleutians, Alaska. U S Geol Surv Open-File Rpt, 86-291: 1-300.

Erlich E N, Gorshkov G S (eds), 1979. Quaternary volcanism and tectonics in Kamchatka. Bull Volc, 42:1-4.

Fedotov S A, Masurenkov Y P (eds), 1991. Active Volcanoes of Kamchatka. Moscow: Nauka Pub, 2 volumes.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Kozhemyaka N N, 1996. Long-lived volcanic centers of Kamchatka: types of cones, growth time spans, volumes of erupted material, productivities, rock proportions, and tectonic settings. Volc Seism, 17: 621-636 (English translation).

Melekestsev I V, Braitseva O A, Bazanova L I, Ponomareva V V, Sulerzhitskiy L D, 1996. A particular type of catastrophic explosive eruptions with reference to the Holocene subcaldera eruptions at Khangar, Khodutka Maar, and Baraniy Amfiteatr volcanoes in Kamchatka. Volc Seism, 18: 135-160 (English translation).

Melekestsev I V, Felitsyn S B, Kiryanov V Y, 1991. The eruption of Opala in A.D. 500 -- the largest explosive eruption in Kamchatka in the Christian era. Volc Seism, 1991(1): 21-34 (English translation 1992, 13: 21-36).

Ponomareva V V, Melekestsev I V, Dirksen O V, 2006. Sector collapses and large landslides on late Pleistocene-Holocene volcanoes in Kamchatka, Russia. J Volc Geotherm Res, 158: 117-138.

Popruzhenko S V, 1984. On the formation of the Opala caldera. Volc Seism, 1984(6): 111-113 (English translation 1988, 6: 953-958).

Vlodavetz V I, Piip B I, 1959. Kamchatka and Continental Areas of Asia. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 8: 1-110.

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Opala Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.