The Death Valley is among the unique natural sites of Kronotsky National Biosphere Reserve. It is located at the base of Kikhpinych volcano and in the upper course of River Geyzernaya. The valley covers a small area 2km long and 100 to 500m wide.
Its terrible name comes from the fact that animals are frequently found dead on its ground. Studies have shown that their premature death is caused by the high concentration of toxic gas in the valley: hydrogen sulfide, carbonic gas, carbon disulfide… The period when the animals die matches that when the valley is not covered in snow, between May and October.
The way they die makes a sort of ecological chain: in spring birds go down in the places where the snow is melting and die there. Then the foxes come, attracted by their corpses. After that bears and wolverines eat their bodies but also end up dying. And that’s not the end of it since crows and golden eagles will also die intoxicated by the gas.