Simushir is an uninhabited volcanic island near the center of the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

 chain in the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

 in the northwest Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. Its name is derived from the Ainu language
Ainu language
Ainu is one of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō....

 for “large island”.


Simushir is highly elongated, consisting of a series of stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

s. The island has a length of 59 kilometres (36.7 mi) with a width of 13 kilometres (8.1 mi), and an area of 227.6 square kilometres (87.9 sq mi). At the north end of the island is a half-submerged caldera, Brouton Bay
Brouton Bay
Brouton Bay is a bay at the northern end of Simushir Island in the Kuril Islands, Russia, at ....

, with an entrance only 2.5 meters deep, plunging to 240 meters in the center. Overlooking Brouton Bay is Urataman
Urataman is a somma volcano located at the northern end of Simushir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia. It overlooks the Brouton Bay.- References :*...

. Further south are:
  • Prevo
    Prevo Peak
    Prevo Peak is a stratovolcano located in the central part of Simushir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia.- References :*...

    . The peak erupted in the early 19th century, forming a symmetrical cone with a resemblance to Mount Fuji
    Mount Fuji
    is the highest mountain in Japan at . An active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707–08, Mount Fuji lies about south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and...

    . On the summit is a 450 × 600 meter wide summit crater with a small caldera lake on its floor. Lava flows from the summit reach both coasts of central Simushir. Only two eruptions are known from Prevo Peak in historical times. The largest of these, during the 1760s, produced pyroclastic flow
    Pyroclastic flow
    A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of superheated gas and rock , which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h . The flows normally hug the ground and travel downhill, or spread laterally under gravity...

    s that destroyed all vegetation at the foot of the volcano. Weak explosive activity occurred during the most recent eruption, in the early 19th century.
  • Zavaritzki
    Zavaritski Caldera
    Zavaritski Caldera is a caldera located in the central part of Simushir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia. Lake Biryuzovoe partially fills the youngest of three nested calderas on the volcano....

    , with a height of 624 metres (2,047.2 ft), and a 2 × 3 kilometer fresh water caldera lake.. Several young cones and lava dome
    Lava dome
    |250px|thumb|right|Image of the [[rhyolitic]] lava dome of [[Chaitén Volcano]] during its 2008–2009 eruption.In volcanology, a lava dome is a roughly circular mound-shaped protrusion resulting from the slow extrusion of viscous lava from a volcano...

    s are located near the margins the lake. A lava dome created in the 1916 and 1931 eruptions formed a small island in the northern part of the lake. In 1957, a new 350 meter wide, 40 meter high lava dome was created following explosive eruptions, decreasing the size of the lake.
  • Milna , is the highest point on the island. This volcano erupted in 1881 and in 1914. The outer flanks of the steep-sided mountain are dissected by deep gullies, with lava flows extending to the sea. The three kilometer wide caldera was breached to the south due to glaciations.
  • Goriaschaia Sopka
    Goriaschaia Sopka
    Goryashchaya Sopka is an explosive stratovolcano on the Kuril Islands in Russia. Its summit is at .It is currently active, and its last eruption was in 1914. It has had five explosive eruptions between 1842 and 1914....

    , is on the southwest end of the island. This volcano erupted in 1881 and in 1914.


Simushir was inhabited by the Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

, at the time of European contact. The island appears on an official map showing the territories of Matsumae Domain
Matsumae clan
The was a Japanese clan which was granted the area around Matsumae, Hokkaidō as a march fief in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and charged with defending it, and by extension all of Japan, from the Ainu 'barbarians' to the north. The clan was originally known as the Kakizaki clan who settled...

, a feudal domain of Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 dated 1644, and these holdings were officially confirmed by the Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

 in 1715. Russian explorer Gerasim Izmailov
Gerasim Izmailov
Gerasim Grigoryevich Izmaylov was a Russian navigator involved in the Russian colonization of the Americas and in the establishment of the colonies of Russian America in Alaska. He was responsible for the first detailed maps of the Aleutian Islands....

 was marooned on Simushir in the early 1770s. He spent a full year subsisting on "scallops, grass, and roots". Subsequently claimed by the Empire of Russia, sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 initially passed to Russia under the terms of the Treaty of Shimoda
Treaty of Shimoda
The Treaty of Shimoda of 1855, formally Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and Russia , was signed between the Russian Vice-Admiral Euphimy Vasil'evich Putiatin and Toshiakira Kawaji of Japan in the city of Shimoda, Izu Province, Japan, on February 7, 1855...

, but was returned to the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 per the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1875) along with the rest of the Kurile islands. The island was formerly administered as part of Shimushiru District of Nemuro Subprefecture
Nemuro Subprefecture
is a subprefecture of Hokkaidō, Japan. The Japanese claim the disputed Southern Kurile Islands as part of this subprefecture....

 of Hokkaidō
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

. Settlers on the island were engaged in fishing, and the raising of arctic fox
Arctic fox
The arctic fox , also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The Greek word alopex, means a fox and Vulpes is the Latin version...

 and reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the civilian population was evacuated to the Japanese home islands and Shimushiro was garrisoned by a detachment from the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

. It was surrendered to Soviet forces during the Battle of the Kuril Islands without resistance.

Under the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Brouton Bay was used by the Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 as a secret submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 base between 1987 and 1994, and had a population of approximately 3000 people. The remains of the base can be seen clearly on satellite images.

Today the island is uninhabited. It is now administered as part of the Sakhalin Oblast
Sakhalin Oblast
Sakhalin Oblast is a federal subject of Russia comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.The oblast has an area of 87,100 km² and a population of 546,695...

 of the Russian Federation.

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