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Petropavlovsk

Petropavlovsk (158.645E 53.013N) was the most important settlement in Russia east of Vladivostok.  It was founded by Bering in 1740 at the site of an excellent natural harbor, Avacha Bay, on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

A hydrological curiosity of Avacha Bay is that the shape of the bay is unusually effective at damping tsunamis, a significant concern given that the Kamchatka Peninsula is located at the intersection of two island arcs (the Aleutians and the Kuriles).  The peninsula is actively volcanic, with the Avacha and Koryak volcanoes visible to the north of Petropavlovsk.  Geologically, most of Kamchatka is a flood basalt plain, mostly devoid of mineralogical resources.

The port was the second most important naval base for the Russians in the Pacific.  However, strict Russian neutrality until the last days of the war meant that it played little role until August 1945, when it became the embarkation port for Russian forces tasked with the invasion of the Kuriles.

References

Glantz (2003)


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