Novarupta

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  • United States
  • Alaska
  • Caldera
  • 1912 CE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 58.27°N
  • 155.157°W

  • 841 m
    2758 ft

  • 312180
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Novarupta.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Novarupta.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Novarupta.

Novarupta, the least topographically prominent volcano in the Katmai area, was formed during a major eruption in 1912. This eruption was the world's largest during the 20th century and produced a voluminous rhyolitic airfall tephra and the renowned Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes (VTTS) ash flow. At the end of the eruption a small, 65-m-high, 400-m-wide lava dome grew to an elevation of 841 m within the source vent of the VTTS ashflow, a 2-km-wide area of subsidence NW of Trident volcano. The NE side of the Falling Mountain lava dome of the Trident volcanic cluster, as well as Broken Mountain and Baked Mountain, was removed by collapse of the Novarupta depression, which is marked by radial and scalloped arcuate fractures. Much larger collapse took place at Katmai volcano, 10 km to the east, where a 3 x 4 km wide caldera formed in response to magma reservoir drainage toward Novarupta.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1950 Jul 5 ± 4 days ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
[ 1949 May 19 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
1912 Jun 6 1912 Oct (?) Confirmed 6 Historical Observations

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Novarupta.

A 65-m-high, 380-m-wide lava dome lies within a circular ejecta ring and caps the 1912 vent of Novarupta volcano. A 60-hour-long eruption beginning on June 6, 1912, the Earth's largest eruption during the 20th century, produced The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes ash-flow deposit, which forms the flat ground at the right. The face of Falling Mountain, behind Novarupta dome, was sheared off by a 2-km-wide collapse around the Novarupta vent. This view from the NE shows snow-capped Mageik volcano in the background.

Photo by Tom Miller (U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano Observatory).
Mount Mageik (left) and steaming Mount Martin (distant right) tower above the flat-bottomed floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes (VTTS). The VTTS was formed by ash flows during the 1912 eruption of Novarupta volcano, the Earth's largest eruption of the 20th century. Glacier-clad Mount Mageik has a broad summit capped by 4 knobs, each of which is a spatter and lava-flow vent.

Photo by Game McGimsey (U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano Observatory).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Fierstein J, Houghton B F, Wilson C J N, Hildreth W, 1997. Complexities of plinian fall deposition at vent: an example from the 1912 Novarupta eruption (Alaska). J Volc Geotherm Res, 76: 215-227.

Green J, Short N M, 1971. Volcanic Landforms and Surface Features: a Photographic Atlas and Glossary. New York: Springer-Verlag, 519 p.

Henning R A, Rosenthal C H, Olds B, Reading E (eds), 1976. Alaska's volcanoes, northern link in the ring of fire. Alaska Geog, 4: 1-88.

Hildreth W, 1983. The compositionally zoned eruption of 1912 in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska. J Volc Geotherm Res, 18: 1-56.

Hildreth W, 1987. New perspectives on the eruption of 1912 in the Valley of Ten Tousand Smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Bull Volc, 49: 680-693.

Hildreth W, Fierstein J, 2000. Katmai volcanic cluster and the great eruption of 1912. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 112: 1594-1620.

Hildreth W, Lanphere M A, Fierstein J, 2003b. Geochronology and eruptive history of the Katmai volcanic cluster, Alaska Peninsula. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 214: 93-114.

Houghton B F, Wilson C J N, Fierstein J, Hildreth W, 2004. Complex proximal deposition during the Plinian eruptions of 1912 at Novarupta, Alaska. Bull Volc, 66: 95-133.

Miller T P, McGimsey R G, Richter D H, Riehle J R, Nye C J, Yount M E, Dumoulin J A, 1998. Catalogue of the historically active volcanoes of Alaska. U S Geol Surv Open-File Rpt, 98-582: 1-104.

Motyka R J, Liss S A, Nye C J, Moorman M A, 1993. Geothermal resources of the Aleutian arc. Alaska Div Geol Geophys Surv, Prof Rpt, no 114, 17 p and 4 map sheets.

Smith R L, Shaw H R, Luedke R G, Russell S L, 1978. Comprehensive tables giving physical data and thermal energy estimates for young igneous systems of the United States. U S Geol Surv Open-File Rpt, 78-925: 1-25.

Wood C A, Kienle J (eds), 1990. Volcanoes of North America. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Univ Press, 354 p.

Volcano Types

Caldera
Lava dome

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Rhyolite
Dacite
Minor
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
0
0
0
667

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Novarupta Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.