Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park and Preserve

#54 of 115 in Nature in Alaska
The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is a valley within Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska which is filled with ash flow from the eruption of Novarupta on June 6–8, 1912. Following the eruption, thousands of fumaroles vented steam from the ash. Robert F. Griggs, who explored the volcano's aftermath for the National Geographic Society in 1916, gave the valley its name, saying that "the whole valley as far as the eye could reach was full of hundreds, no thousands—literally, tens of thousands—of smokes curling up from its fissured floor."
The 1912 eruption was the largest eruption by volume in the 20th century, erupting about 13km3 of material. Novarupta generated as many as 14 major earthquakes with magnitudes between M6 and M7, a level of energy release virtually unprecedented during volcanic eruptions in modern memory, and over 100 earthquakes greater than M5. Following the eruption, the summit of Mount Katmai subsided (collapsed) about 1200m, forming the central caldera.
Katmai is a stratovolcano, formed from alternating layers of lava flows and pyroclastic rocks. The presence of pyroclastic materials indicates that some Katmai eruptions have been explosive. The subsidence of the summit to form the central caldera and the extraordinarily energetic earthquakes accompanying the 1912 eruption are evidence of this.
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Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Reviews
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  • We did the bus ride and hike in Valley of Ten thousand Smokes and it was both interesting and informative. The ranger provided a lot of information and we stopped for views along the way  more »
  • I did the Valley Of Ten Thousand Smokes tour while visiting Brooks Camp. The bus ride was great and the bus driver Carter was really funny and made the ride a lot of fun. The Fall colors were in full....  more »
  • The place is not easily accessible which makes this landscape totally preserved even more grandiose and beautiful. The thick layer of ash left by the eruption of the Novarupta in 1912 extends to the loss of sight.
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  • A hike has shown us in this valley that nature is cruel. A sand storm forced us to turn back.
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