Expedition to Matua Island

Subscribe to RSS - Expedition to  Matua Island
Photo from members of the expedition
Photo from members of the expedition

The expedition, organized by the Russian Geographical Society in conjunction with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, is designed to unravel the secrets of the least explored island of the Kuril Ridge!

Matua Island is located in the middle of the Kurile Ridge and is well away from the populated areas of Sakhalin and Kamchatka. The size of the island is 11 kilometers long and 6.5 wide. It is characterized by an abnormally cold climate with a lot of precipitation, clouds, fogs and strong winds.

Matua is one of the most active volcanoes in the region - Sarychev Peak. It is famous for frequent short-term, but strong eruptions, which repeatedly changed the coastline and the relief of Matua.

The island has preserved a powerful layer of historical and cultural heritage, which is divided into Ainu, Japanese and Russian parts. In addition, Matua is the most northern point of distribution of corded ceramics - the archaeological culture of the Neolithic "Jōmon" period.

There was no comprehensive research work on Matua until 2016, since access to it was practically impossible.

In 2016, the Russian Geographical Society, together with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, organized an expedition to the island for the first time. Its goal was to study the artifacts of the Second World War and create a historical and geographical portrait of Matua.

In the summer of 2017 the second joint expedition of the RGO and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation started.

Through the process,  it is planned to collect materials for the preparation of an atlas of marine inhabitants of the water area of ​​Matua Island and neighboring islands, and  make a video of the relief of the bottom at dive sites for the analysis of hydrographic characteristics. The activity of the Sarychev Peak volcano for the last 100 thousand years will be reconstructed, the level of its modern activity will be determined as well. In addition, work will continue on the search and exploration of objects of historical military equipment and fortifications during the Second World War. Archeological works will be developed to identify and study historical and cultural monuments of various epochs, including Ainu.