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Open-File Report 02-397

Preliminary Volcano-Hazard Assessment for Kanaga Volcano, Alaska

By Christopher F. Waythomas, Thomas P. Miller, and Christopher J. Nye

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (16 MB)Introduction

Kanaga Volcano is a steep-sided, symmetrical, cone-shaped, 1307 meter high, andesitic stratovolcano on the north end of Kanaga Island (51°55’ N latitude, 177°10’ W longitude) in the western Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Kanaga Island is an elongated, low-relief (except for the volcano) island, located about 35 kilometers west of the community of Adak on Adak Island and is part of the Andreanof Islands Group of islands. Kanaga Volcano is one of the 41 historically active volcanoes in Alaska and has erupted numerous times in the past 11,000 years, including at least 10 eruptions in the past 250 years (Miller and others, 1998). The most recent eruption occurred in 1993-95 and caused minor ash fall on Adak Island and produced blocky aa lava flows that reached the sea on the northwest and west sides of the volcano (Neal and others, 1995).

The summit of the volcano is characterized by a small, circular crater about 200 meters in diameter and 50-70 meters deep. Several active fumaroles are present in the crater and around the crater rim. The flanking slopes of the volcano are steep (20-30 degrees) and consist mainly of blocky, linear to spoonshaped lava flows that formed during eruptions of late Holocene age (about the past 3,000 years). The modern cone sits within a circular caldera structure that formed by large-scale collapse of a preexisting volcano. Evidence for eruptions of this preexisting volcano mainly consists of lava flows exposed along Kanaton Ridge, indicating that this former volcanic center was predominantly effusive in character. In winter (October-April), Kanaga Volcano may be covered by substantial amounts of snow that would be a source of water for lahars (volcanic mudflows). In summer, much of the snowpack melts, leaving only a patchy distribution of snow on the volcano. Glacier ice is not present on the volcano or on other parts of Kanaga Island.

Kanaga Island is uninhabited and is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The island is remote and often shrouded by clouds and fog. It can be reached only by boat, helicopter,or amphibiouslanding aircraft.

First posted January 12, 2004

For additional information, contact:
Alaska Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
4200 University Drive
Anchorage, 99508

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Suggested citation:

Waythomas, Christopher F., Miller, Thomas P., Nye, Christopher J., 2002, Preliminary Volcano-Hazard Assessment for Kanaga Volcano, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-397, 34 pp.,


Summary of hazards at Kanaga Volcano


Prehistoric eruptive activity

Historical eruptions

Hazardous phenomena associated with eruptions

Volcanic hazards

Event frequency and risk at Kanaga Volcano

Hazard warning and mitigation



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