Geophysics at Katmai: Geophysical expedition to Novarupta Volcano, Katmai National Park, Alaska



The great eruption of 1912 in the Aleutian Range of Alaska (Figure 1) is exceptional for both its size and relative simplicity. It was the largest eruption of this century and the largest rhyolitic outburst in almost 20 centuries. The 60-hour, 30-km3 (ejecta volume) eruption produced extensive fallout deposits, an ash-flow sheet that gave rise to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, and the 3-km-diameter Mt. Katmai caldera. Because magma reached the surface through uniform nonvolcanic basement and the vent underwent little or no collapse (unusual for such a large event), the site provides an ideal target for surface geophysical and subsurface coring exploration of structures and conditions produced by explosive volcanism [Panel on Volcanic Studies at Katmai, 1989]. A project to investigate upper crustal magmatic processes at Katmai is part of the U.S. Continental Scientific Drilling Program [Eichelberger and Hildreth, 1986]. The surface studies phase of this project was undertaken last summer and preliminary results are now emerging.