GTFE 1975-1976
The Largest Basaltic Eruption of the Twentieth Century

The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption (GTFE) began on 6 July 1975 and ended a year and a half later – on 10 December 1976. It consists of two areas of scoria cones. First appeared in 18 km from the crater of Plosky Tolbachik Volcano, and was named «Severny Proryv» (northern rupture). The second cone was formed 10 kilometers lower than the first one, and was named «Yuzhny Proryv» (southern rupture).

In historical time it was the sixth catastrophic eruption in the world. Before that there were two in Mexico, two in Iceland, one in Spain and one in Kamchatka.

Eruptions of Severny Proryv and Yuzhny Proryv had different characters and consequences. In the first case, several cones formed. Their birth was accompanied by the release of huge amounts of ash and other products of eruption. In the second case, there was only one cone, but the outflow of lava was so powerful that it flooded nearly 40 km2.

During the tour to Severny Proryv, we’ll walk to two highest cones. The contrast of black scoria and saturated colors of small rocks of little giants will impress even the seasoned travelers. Despite the fact that the eruption was in the seventies of the last century, the cones are still in the stage of cooling down. In some locations, depending on the activity, the cone is still warming up. And, if desired, you can prepare yourself a cup of coffee right on the peak.

There is not trail to Yuzhny Proryv, compared to Severny Proryv. At first, we’ll have to overcome the old lava flows of Zvezda (star) Cone (5-7 km), and then, the lava flows of Severny Proryv (3-4 km). Along the way, we’ll see a lot of smaller and bigger caverns, beautiful arches and vaults formed by lava flows. Getting around on the lava flows requires some physical fitness and stamina, but it is not an over-complicated adventure.