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January 2, 2006

This snow and ice-covered landscape conceals a hot spot of geologic activity. Kliuchevskoi, located roughly in the center of the image, is a highly active volcano located on the Kamchatka peninsula on the far Eastern edge of the Russian Federation.

It has erupted over 80 times in recorded history. The entire region is very active in a seismological sense, with 160 volcanoes, (29 of them active), because it lies about a tectonic plate boundary.

The Pacific plate is sinking below the Eurasian plate along what is termed a subduction zone. One outcome of this activity is the occurrence of massive earthquakes, sometimes exceeding 9 on the Richter scale.

Both earthquakes and volcanic activity can give rise to tsunamis. The eruptions of volcanoes are closely monitored through the use of MODIS images, which produce near real time capabilities and can serve as an early warning system.

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