The Novarupta-Katmai Eruption of 1912 – Largest Eruption of the 20th Century: A Centennial Perspective

Event Type: Lectures/Panels/Discussions

When: 25 April 2012

Where: University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska

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One hundred years ago this June, a three-day explosive eruption at Novarupta on the Alaska Peninsula near King Salmon became one of the five largest eruptions in recorded history. It created the spectacular Katmai caldera and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which early explorers called the eighth wonder of the world. Preserved as a National Monument in 1918, and now part of Katmai National Park, the eruption created an outdoor laboratory that has captivated scientists and sightseers alike for a century.

On April 25 at 7:30 p.m., Katmai expert Judy Fierstein will tell the story of those three dramatic days and what has been learned from the 1912 eruption about large explosive events. In “The Novarupta-Katmai Eruption of 1912 – Largest Eruption of the 20th Century: A Centennial Perspective” Fierstein will explain how geologist “volcano detectives” explored and examined the eruption’s aftermath. Fierstein will also explain how the eruption has remained scientifically important for 100 years and why Katmai still offers insights about earth processes that shape our world.

Fierstein, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, is known worldwide for her meticulous fieldwork on young, remote volcanoes in Alaska, the Cascades and the high Andes. She joined the USGS in 1980 just before the eruption of Mount St. Helens and began working in Katmai soon after. Fierstein is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and is highly regarded for engaging presentations about volcanoes and geologic fieldwork in wild places.

The lecture will be held in the Boyd Room, Reichardt 201, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is free to the public. This presentation is sponsored by the USGS, the National Park Service and the Alaska Historical Society.