Matua Island is located in the middle of the Kurile Ridge and is well away from the populated areas of Sakhalin and Kamchatka. It is characterized by an abnormally cold climate of the Northern Kurile with a lot of precipitation, clouds, fogs and strong winds.
The island is not large: its size is 11 kilometers long and 6.5 wide. Matua is one of the most active volcanoes in the region - Sarychev Peak. It is famous for frequent short-term, but strong eruptions.
The eruptions repeatedly change the coastline and the relief of Matua. But 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.
During the Second World War, the Japanese turned this piece of land into a large fortress with an airfield and a garrison exceeding 3 thousand people. The Kurile Islands were used as a strategic barrier for the way out of the Sea of Okhotsk into the Pacific Ocean. Here a whole network of various military defensive fortifications was built.
It is known that the last battles of World War II took place on the Kuriles. The garrison of Matua laid down the arms to our troops on August 26-27, 1945, having previously exploded the tunnels cut in the rocks. Since then the island has become Russian.
There have never been comprehensive research projects On Matua as access there was almost impossible.
Now such an opportunity has appeared, and the expedition, organized by the Russian Geographical Society, is designed to unravel the secrets of the least explored island of the Kuril Ridge.