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Novarupta's lava dome in July 1987.
Elevation 2,759 ft (841 m)[1]
Location Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, U.S.
Range Aleutian Range
Coordinates [1]
Topo map USGS Mount Katmai B-4
Type Caldera[1] with lava dome
Volcanic arc/belt Aleutian Arc
Last eruption June to October 1912[1]

Novarupta (Russian: Вулкан Новарупта, literally "new eruption") is a new volcano that was created in 1912, located on the Alaska Peninsula in Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 290 miles (470 km) southwest of Anchorage. Formed during the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, Novarupta released 30 times the volume of magma of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Map showing volcanoes of Alaska.


  • Eruption of 1912 1
  • Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes 2
  • Katmai National Park 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Eruption of 1912

1912 eruption of Novarupta
Volcano Novarupta
Date June 6–8, 1912
Type Ultra Plinian
Location Aleutian Range, Alaska
VEI 6.2

The eruption of Novarupta within the Aleutian Range began on June 6, 1912, and culminated in a series of violent eruptions from the original Novarupta volcano. Rated a 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index,[2] the 60-hour-long eruption expelled 13 to 15 cubic kilometers (3.1 to 3.6 cu mi) of ash, 30 times as much as the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.[3][4][5] The erupted magma of rhyolitic, dacitic, and andesitic composition[6] resulted in more than 17 cubic kilometers (4.1 cu mi) of air fall tuff and approximately 11 cubic kilometers (2.6 cu mi) of pyroclastic ash-flow tuff.[7] During the 20th century, only the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines was of a similar magnitude; Pinatubo ejected 11 cubic kilometers (2.6 cu mi) of tephra.[8] At least two larger eruptions occurred in the 19th century: the 1815 eruption of Tambora (150 km3 (36.0 cu mi) of tephra)[9] and the 1883 eruption of Indonesia's Krakatoa (20 km3 (4.8 cu mi) of tephra).[10]

Eruption of such a large quantity of magma from underneath the Mount Katmai area resulted in the formation of a 2-kilometer (1.2 mi) wide, funnel-shaped vent and the collapse of Mount Katmai's summit, creating a 600-meter (2,000 ft) deep,[3] 3 by 4 km (1.9 by 2.5 mi) caldera.[11]

The eruption ended with the extrusion of a lava dome of rhyolite[6] that plugged the vent. The 295-foot (90 m) high and 1,180-foot (360 m) wide dome and the caldera it created form what is now referred to as Novarupta.[12]

Despite the magnitude of the eruption, no deaths directly resulted.[13][14]

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Colorful ash in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Pyroclastic ash flow from the eruption formed the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, named by botanist Robert F. Griggs, who explored the volcano's aftermath for the National Geographic Society in 1916.[13][15]

The eruption forming of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is one of the few in recorded history to have produced welded tuff, producing numerous fumaroles that persisted for 15 years.[16]

Katmai National Park

Established as a National Park & Preserve in 1980, Katmai is located on the Alaska Peninsula, across from Kodiak Island, with headquarters in nearby King Salmon, about 290 mi (470 km) southwest of Anchorage. The area was originally designated a National Monument in 1918 to protect the area around the 1912 eruption of Novarupta and the 40-square-mile (104 km2), 100-to-700-foot (30 to 210 m) deep, pyroclastic flow of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Novarupta".  
  2. ^ Simkin, Tom; Lee Siebert (1994). Volcanoes of the World. Tucson, Arizona: Geoscience Press, Inc. p. 117.  
  3. ^ a b Brantley, Steven R. (1999-01-04). Volcanoes of the United States. Online Version 1.1.  
  4. ^ Judy Fierstein; Wes Hildreth; James W. Hendley II; Peter H. Stauffer (1998). "Can Another Great Volcanic Eruption Happen in Alaska? – U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 075-98". Version 1.0.  
  5. ^ Fierstein, Judy; Wes Hildreth (2004-12-11). "The plinian eruptions of 1912 at Novarupta, Katmai National Park, Alaska". Bulletin of Volcanology (Springer) 54 (8): 646–684.  
  6. ^ a b Wood, C.A. and Kienle, J. (editors) (1990) Volcanoes of North America: United States and Canada, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-36469-8, page 70.
  7. ^ Judy Fierstein; Wes Hildreth (2001). "Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for the Katmai volcanic cluster, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 00–0489" ( 
  8. ^ "Pinatubo: Eruptive History".  
  9. ^ "Tambora".  
  10. ^ "Krakatau: Eruptive History".  
  11. ^ "Katmai".  
  12. ^ Rosi, Mauro; Paolo Papale; Luca Lupi; Marco Stoppato (2003-03-01). Volcanoes. Firefly Books. p. 219.  
  13. ^ a b  
  14. ^ "Novarupta – Historic eruptions".  
  15. ^ Clemens, Janet; Frank Norris (1999). Building in an Ashen Land – Historic Resource Study of Katmai National Park and Preserve. Anchorage, Alaska:  
  16. ^ Hildreth, Wes (October 1983). "The compositionally zoned eruption of 1912 in the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research ( 
  17. ^ "Katmai National Park & Preserve". Katmai National Park & Preserve.  

External links

  • USGS collection of descriptions of Novarupta
  • USGS QuickTime video clip on Novarupta (36 seconds/0.8 MB)
  •, – topographic maps, annotated satellite images
  • Alaska Volcano Observatory: Novarupta
  • USGS Photographic Library – novarupta
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