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Open-File Report 03-113

Preliminary Geologic Map of Kanaga Volcano, Alaska

By T.P. Miller, C.F. Waythomas, and C.J. Nye

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.1 MB)Introduction

Kanag a Volcano is a 1,300 m (4,287-foot) high, historically active cone-shaped stratovolcano located on the north end of Kanaga Island in the Andreanof Islands Group of the Aleutian Islands. The volcano is undissected, symmetrical in profile, and is characterized by blocky andesitic lava flows, with well-developed levees and steep flow fronts, that emanate radially from, or near, the 200-m-wide summit crater. The lack of dissection of the cone suggests the entire edifice was constructed in post-glacial Holocene time. Historical eruptions were reported in 1791, 1827, 1829, 1904-1906, and 1993-95 (Miller and others, 1998); questionable eruptions occurred in 1763, 1768, 1786, 1790, and 1933. The upper flanks of the cone are very steep (>30°) and flows moving down these steep flows commonly fragment into breccias and lahars. A non-vegetated lahar, or group of lahars, extends from high on the southeast flank of the cone down to the northeast shore of the intracaldera lake. This lahar deposit was observed in 1999 but does not appear to be present on aerial photos taken in 1974 and is assumed to be part of the 1994- 95 eruption.

Most recent eruptions of Kanag a, including the 1994-95 eruption, were primarily effusive in character with a subordinate explosive component. Lava was extruded from, or near, the summit vent and moved down the flank of the cone in some cases reaching the ocean. In 1994, lava flows going down the very steep north and west flanks broke up into incandescent avalanches tumbling over steep truncated sea cliffs into the Bering Sea. A common feature of Kanaga central vent eruptions is the occurrence of widespread ballistics and accompanying craters. Steam and fine ash plumes rose to 7.5 km ASL and drifted a few tens of kilometers downwind. Plumes such as these are unlikely to deposit significant (i.e., sufficiently thick to leave a permanent record) tephras on other islands downwind. 

First posted May 27, 2003

The National Geologic Map Database has additional data about this publication

For additional information, contact:
Volcano Hazards Program
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Miller, Thomas P., Waythomas, Christopher F., Nye, Christopher, 2003, Preliminary Geologic Map of Kanaga Volcano, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-113,

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