Valley of 10,000 Smokes
Some Images from the
Valley of 10,000 Smokes
and Aniakchak Caldera,
( Click on any image for an enlargement. )

This aerial view of the Novarupta vent shows the lava dome that culminated the 1912 eruption. The 1912 eruption of Novarupta created the Valley of 10,000 Smokes (VTTS) in southwestern Alaska. (For more information and images, see the Katmai/Novarupta pages at Volcano World.)

A ground view of the Novarupta volcano, with a Cessna 185 for scale in the foreground. Novarupta and its lava dome lies approximately 1/2 mile in the distance. The 1912 eruption from this vent is responsible for all the volcanic devastation shown in the VTTS.

Mount Griggs is another volcano flanking the VTTS, and lies about six miles north-northeast of Novarupta. Note the barren valley floor below this glaciated peak. The mass of ice on the left of the peak is the only volcano on the south side of the mountain.

A view looking UP the Valley of 10,000 smokes. Mt. Mageik, at the valley head, is in the distance. A broad alluvial fan has built out into the valley floor from a small stream flowing off the mountain slope to the right. The height of the 1912 pyroclastic flow as it blasted through the valley is shown by the lower limit of trees.

The toe of the VTTS pyroclastic flow lies some 20 miles (30 km) downvalley from Novarupta. The green slopes on the right are covered with willow thickets and birch forest with trees 20-25 feet tall. The deepest gorge here is about 60-65 feet (20 m) deep.

A deeper gorge through the pyroclastic flow deposits. This gorge is approximately 100 feet (30 m) deep, though without a scale this is difficult to know from the photograph. We landed the Cessna on the relatively flat-looking area in the upper right-hand corner of the photograph, if that helps!

About 3400 years ago, Aniakchak Volcano erupted with a pyroclastic flow estimated to have been 7-10 times the size of the Novarupta eruption of 1912. This eruption blasted material to over a meter deep on the southern Alaska Peninsula coast (on the Pacific Ocean), and 5 meters deep on the northern coast at Bristol Bay. large areas, such as shown here, remain unvegetated to this day.

The 10-km-wide Aniakchak Caldera after the 3400 b.p. eruption probably looked much like modern Crater Lake in Oregon. Unlike Crater Lake, however, Aniakchak drained - through "The Gates", shown here from the cockpit of a small plane.

Partial view of the interior of Aniakchak Caldera, with Surprise Lake on the right. Surprise Lake is approximately 2 miles (3 km) long and 1 mile (1.5 km) wide.

A second view of the interior of Aniakchak Caldera, showing the south-facing wall.

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( Last modified 24 September, 2001 )