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AirPano

The Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia’s far, far eastern reaches — not quite so near to Alaska that Sarah Palin can see it from her house, but close — is part of the Ring of Fire. Near the peninsula’s coast, there are 30 active volcanoes, and right now four of them are exploding all at once, so close to each other than it’s possible to visit all of them in a single day. Spiegel Online reports:

Four different cones and mountains, all within 180 kilometers (110 miles) of each other, have been active simultaneously since late November. Given that volcano experts don’t believe that the four volcanoes are being fed from the same magma source, the parallel eruptions would seem to be the geological equivalent of winning the lottery.

Some of the volcanos are spewing ash, and others are going for a full-out lava display. They’re like kids, taunting each other, “Oh yeah, well can you do THIS?” (Only, thank goodness, most kids can’t spew lava.) They’re also like kids in that their posturing isn’t quite as dangerous as it might seem. The Russian photography group AirPano, which rushed to the peninsula to take the shot above, says:

The Tolbachik volcano eruption is classified as an unconventional fissure eruption. Fissure eruptions are known for emitting great volume of lava. 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.

Which gets us to these really awesome panoramic photos that AirPano took:

Volcanoes—so hot right now.