After 33 years of repose, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kurile island arc-Sarychev Peak on Matua Island in the Central Kuriles-erupted violently on June 11, 2009. The eruption lasted 9 days and stands among the largest of recent historical eruptions in the Kurile Island chain. Satellite monitoring of the eruption, using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Meteorological Agency Multifunctional Transport Satellite, and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data, indicated at least 23 separate explosions between 11 and 16 June 2009. Eruptive clouds reached altitudes of generally 8-16 km above sea level (ASL) and in some cases up to 21 km asl. Clouds of volcanic ash and gas stretched to the north and northwest up to 1,500 km and to the southeast for more than 3,000 km. For the first time in recorded history, ash fall occurred on Sakhalin Island and in the northeast sector of the Khabarovsky Region, Russia. Based on satellite image analysis and reconnaissance field studies in the summer of 2009, the eruption produced explosive tephra deposits with an estimated bulk volume of 0. 4 km3. The eruption is considered to have a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 4. Because the volcano is remote, there was minimal risk to people or infrastructure on the ground. Aviation transport, however, was significantly disrupted because of the proximity of air routes to the volcano. ?? 2011 Springer-Verlag.