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The Library 

MusentD of Comparative Zoology 

Harvard University 




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115 

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THE VALLEY OF 
TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 

GRIGGS 



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The Valley of 
Ten Thousand Smokes 



By 
ROBERT F. GRIGGS, Ph.D. 



With 9 Maps and 233 Illustrations 



WASraNGTON 

The National Geographic Society 
1922 



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115 
Gl 



Copyright, 1912, 1913, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1922 

By The National Geographic Society 

Published, December, 1922 



MCZ 

(u ::.: ■?93 



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To the Inspiration 
of my life and work — 

My Wife 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

FOREWORD BY GILBERT GROSVENOR XV 



CHAPTER l: THE ERUPTION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE. 



Eruption felt over all northwestern America — A similar eruption in New York 
City would be seen in Albany, heard in Chicago, tarnish brass in Denver, prostrate 
Philadelphia, destroy Greater New York — Crater largest in the world — No lives 
lost — Geological bearings; eruption of a new type; aid in understanding minerali- 
zation; may throw light on mechanism of volcanoes — Revegetation has important 
agricultural bearings — Discovery of one of the greatest wonders of the natural 
world, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes — Safe for tourist travel — Can be 
made readily accessible. 



CHAPTER II : THE ERUPTION AS EXPERIENCED AT KODIAK . 



Introductory — Premonitory symptoms unknown; ashfall began without warn- 
ing — Kodiak not situated in volcanic district — Ignorance of seat of eruption — 
Darkness which obscured lanterns held at arm's length — People collected in ware- 
house — Rescue of crew of tug; people taken aboard the Manning; suffering from 
overcrowding — Tribute to bravery of inhabitants — Suffering due more to terror 
that to danger. 

CHAPTER III: RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 15 

Identification of the volcano by steamer Dora; other vents supposed to have 
been responsible; final determination of seat of eruption not made until 191 5 — 
Reports of eyewitnesses from Katmai Village — Statement of chief of Savonoski na- 
tives — Experiences of people at Kaflia Bay, where the ashfall was three feet — Pre- 
liminary symptoms as observed at outlying stations — Maximum violence for 60 
hours — Gradually subsiding activity continued all summer — Records of earth- 
quakes accompanying eruption; records of explosions as heard at distant stations; 
explosions not heard at Kodiak, perhaps because of dust screen — Sulphuric acid 
rains destroy vegetation at Seward, La Touche and Cordova, more than 300 miles 
away — Brass tarnished and clothes destroyed in the Puget Sound region, 1,500 
miles away — Ashfall a foot deep or more over an area one and one-half times as 
large as Delaware — Dust fell 1,500 miles away — Records from Puget Sound — 
Ejecta from eruption totalled over six cubic miles, a quantity equivalent to the 
output of the stone crushers of the United States for over 500 years. 

CHAPTER IV: CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 33 

Haze from volcano held responsible for cold summer of 1912; lowest point ever 
reached in terrestrial temperatures followed eruptions of 1 783-1 785; the "dry 
fog" of 1783; "the year without a summer*' followed eruption of Tomboro, 1815 
— Haze from Kral^toa caused remarkable sunsets for two years; haze from Kat- 
mai appeared in Wisconsin before the eruption was over, in Virginia two days later; 
peculiar haze persisted all summer in Algeria — Interference with astronomical 
observations — Dust cloud absorbed 10 per cent of the sun's heat; whole North- 
em Hemisphere cooler because of eruption — Slight changes in mean tempera- 
tures of great practical importance — Volcanic dust shown to be capable of produc- 
ing glacial climates — Water liberated in eruptions probably of vast importance 
in economy of nature; all life perhaps dependent on continuance of volcanic action. 



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viii THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 

CHAPTER V: THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK 45 

Remarkable recovery of vegetation; not due to any fertilizer in the ash; ash 
forms a very poor soil; composition similar to pulverized granite; beneficial action 
due to effect as a mulch — Revegetation result of recovery of old plants; plants 
resurrected after three years' burial — Seedlings slow to start; revegetation re- 
tarded by sand blast — Importance of horsetail as a soil binder — Bizarre ap- 
pearance of ash-laden trees overgrown with moss — Network of moss on forest 
floor — Seedlings starting under protection of trees — Ash rapidly eroded; earth- 
worms active in mixing it with old soil — Little damage to fields. 

CHAPTER VI : THE ALASKAN VOLCANOES 57 

Aleutian volcanic chain of Asiatic, rather than American affinity — Volcanic 
festoons fringing Asia, from East Indies to Kamchatka — The Aleutian chain, 
traversing mountain plateaus and ocean deeps, evidently a more fundamental 
feature than ordinary geologic structures — Cones of Iliamna and Redoubt — 
Explosions of Augustine — The volcanoes of Unimak, Shishaldin and Pogromni 
— Birth of a new island, Bogoslof ; upheaval of Grewingk, companion to old 
Bogoslof; formation of Metcalf Peak and McCulloch Peak; eruption of 1909; 
present condition of Bogoslof — Importance of further study of Aleutian Vol- 
canoes. 

CHAPTER VII : CARRYING THE WORK INTO THE VOLCANIC AREA — GEOGRAPHY — 

CHRONOLOGY — PERSONNEL 67 

Remoteness of the region — Dangers of navigation — General sketch of geo- 
graphic features — Broad valleys key to geography of district; Katmai Valley; 
Katmai Canyon; Second Katmai Valley; X-shaped valley on Naknek slope — 
Lesser geographic features — Geographic order of description adopted in prefer- 
ence to chronological narrative — Previous attempts to reach the crater — Expe- 
dition of 1915 — Expedition of 1916; Walter Metrokin, the one-armed bear 
hunter of Kodiak; area traversed in 1916 — Organization of expedition of 1917; 
ground covered; creation of Katmai National Monument — Considering pack 
horses and airplanes for transportation — All supplies carried in on man-back — 
Only the most concentrated foods could be used — Sending in the expedition of 
1918 from Bering Sea — Objectives of expedition of 1919 — Cooperation by 
Geophysical Laboratory of Carnegie Institution — Organization in 1919; person- 
nel. 

CHAPTER VIII: THE FIRST JOURNEY TO THE VOLCANO DEVASTATION OF 

KATMAI VALLEY 8I 

Weird appearance of desolated shores — Dread of casting loose in such an out- 
landish country — Difficulty in choosing a landing — Supply of drinking water 
assured — Sticky mud everywhere — Luxuriant poplar groves — Comparative 
damage to different plants: poplars growing from dormant buds; alder and birch 
exterminated; willows suffered less than other trees because of capacity for forming 
adventitious roots — Exploring in a dust storm — Starting up the valley — 
First view of volcanoes — Discovery of a new volcano, Mt. Martin — Climbing 
slides of loose ash — Fording Soluka Creek, a mile of quicksand — Straining 
drinking water out of pumice — Pressing forward for fear of bad weather; fear of 
caverns formed by snow melting away beneath the ash — Upper Katmai Valley; 
awe-inspiring desolation — All animal life destroyed — Comparative verdure of 
lower valley — Surprising alDsence of damage by fire — Progress up the valley; 
stopped by Katmai Canyon — Katmai mudflow — First crossing Katmai River 
with aid of poles; later experiences in crossing; use of ropes in fording; folding 
boat with a "G" string — Waiting for sight of volcanoes through the clouds — 
Second new volcano, named Trident — First sight of Katmai — Volcanoes obvi- 
ously piles of lava rather than cinder cones. 

CHAPTER IX: THE KATMAI FLOOD IO3 

One of the greatest of recorded floods, in which the expedition of 191 5 narrowly 
missed disaster — Katmai Bay full of wreckage brought down by flood — Excep- 
tional height of flood evidenced by condition of Katmai Village; houses entirely 
submerged — River formerly used by schooners, choked with ash — A maze of 



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CONTENTS IX 

quicksands five miles uide — Speculations as to the cause of the flood; could not 
have been tidal; confined to Katmai River — Forests uprooted and heeled over 
before the waters — Trees sheared off at ground for miles at a stretch — A 250,000- 
pound bowlder picked up by the flood — Temporary Niagara over obstructing 
ridge — A river whose bottom was higher than its banks — Freak of the flood 
— Thankful for the lucky chance that had delayed our landing until after the 
flood — Later exploration shows that flood was caused by downpour of water im- 
pounded by landslide — Slide occurred at a natural dam site; impounded lake of 
950 acres — Probable condition of dam — Katmai Canyon filled many feet deep 
with cobbles — Thirty-five times as great as Johnstown Flood — Destructive 
power a million times that of a Mississippi flood. 

CHAPTER X: THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI I23 

Habitual underestimation of sizes of physical features; grandeur of Katmai 
Canyon not appreciated at first — Beautiful waterfalls near foot of canyon — 
Katmai Canyon almost as deep as Grand Canyon — Prospect Point — Descent 
into canyon — Contrast with other canyons of district; pre-glacial rather than 
post-glacial — Proof that last lava flows from Katmai were post-glacial — Gravel 
banks set rolling by wind — Second Valley of the Katmai — Beaches of former 
*' flood lake" — A possible explanation of the Second Valley — Curious physiog- 
raphy; numerous regular conical mounds; all wood buried in debris; drainage very 
irregular; bowlders in river bed sharp and angular — Noisy Mountain in action: 
rock falls; mud avalanches, intermediate between landslides and overloaded 
streams; key to other unusual physiographic features — Upper portion of Second 
Valley; Princess Glacier — Passes at head of Second Valley — Attempt to find 
route to sea — Discovery of hot spring — Supperless night in the rain. 

CHAPTER XI: THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 135 

Head of Martin Creek strewn with rocks, some as big as a house — Evidence 
that they could not have been thrown out from a volcano — Resemblances to glacial 
deposit — Broken bushes intermingled with debris — M uch peat in terminal 
portion — Lateral edges show slumping back of material from highest level 
reached — Terrane forked halfway down — Original plants still growing on 
bowlders — Indications as to date; "infantile" physiography; buried fragments 
of wood not decayed; covered with ash; contemporaneous with eruption — Evi- 
dently some sort of landslide — Surface studded with remarkable cones; geological 
structure favorable for landslides — Dimensions of slide — Surprising liquidity 
manifested by slide — Description of similar slide in motion — Mageik Slide com- 
pared with others: Elm, Frank, Rossberg, Katmai, Noisy Mountain, Falling 
Mountain; the greatest recorded slides: Gohna and Bandai San — Rank of 
Mageik Slide. 

CHAPTER XII: KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 147 

General appearance of Katmai Valley in 191 6 similar to that in 191 5, but much 
changed in detail — Instability the key to the abnormal physiography — Shifting 
surface most striking characteristic of devastated country; cut and fill at Observa- 
tion Mountain; frequent avalanches from the overloaded mountains — Snowdrifts 
buried by ash persist for years — Wind erosion of ash slopes; bark of trees cut away 
by sand blast — Fickle Creek shifts its course 1,000 feet in a year — Antics of 
pumice-choked streams — Caricatures of aggrading rivers building fans, dikes and 
deltas — Observations on depth and character of ash deposits — Irregularities in 
ashfall due to variable winds — Three major strata, with a fourth near the volcano 
and a cap-layer of fine mud — Plants that lay dormant for three years until un- 
covered by flood wash — Seedlings first started in numbers in 1916 — Seeds, 
scattered mostly by wind, fail to lodge on pumice flats — Lupines the most im- 
portant pioneer plants; abundance of root tubercles; a few plants growing in situa- 
tions extremely poor in nitrogenous compounds — A few small fish on the quick- 
sands — Trout in a brook tributary to Katmai River — A perverted run of 
salmon — Remarkable increase in insects in 191 6 — Flies dying of starvation — 
Insects mostly predacious or parasitic — Speculations as to source of insects — 
First mammals carnivorous — Notable increase of herbivorous animals in 191 9 — 
Return of Herbivora not correlated with increased food supply — Similar condi- 
tions observed at Kodiak. 



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X THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 

CHAPTER XIII : KATMAI CRATER I67 

Reconnoitering: the lower slopes — Upper slopes plastered with soft, slippery 
mud — Scenery from upper levels superb; clouding up as rim is approached — 
Crater rim a knife edge of loose unstable ash, the same layers as those below — 
Waiting for clouds to lift — First view of crater; an abyss of inconceivable size — 
Second ascent — Ash-covered glaciers — Magnitudes too great for senses to 
grasp — Second view of crater — Glaciers on crater rim — Ascents in 191 7 — 
Comments of new members — Perfect proportions of crater — No changes during 
four years — Weird effect as crater is walled in by clouds — Dimensions of crater; 
would hold water enough to supply New York City over four years; skyscrapers 
of New York would not begin to fill crater — The largest active crater in the 
world — Comparison with Kilauea. 

CHAPTER XIV: MOUNT MARTIN I8I 

Inaccessibility by reason of position and cloudiness — First attempt to climb — 
Mount Martin a subordinate lava cone on flank of Mageik — Despite present 
activity, Martin seems not to have thrown out ash in great eruption — All vegeta- 
tion in vicinity kept down by acid rain — Second attempt — Third climb, from 
Baked Mountain — "A real glacier** — Waiting for a break in the clouds — 
Climbing a 60® dirt slope at the end — Descending into the crater in thick steam — 
Returning — Fear of being caught on glacier by a cloud. 

CHAPTER XV : DISCOVERY OF THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 1 89 

Reconnaissance up Mageik Creek; the Mageik '* mudflow ** — Ascent to Katmai 
Pass — Discovery of first fumarole in the pass — First sight of the Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes — Character of the vents — Entrance to the main valley — 
First sight of Novarupta — An interpretation of the fumaroles — Return to 
camp — Reflections on night of discovery. 

CHAPTER XVI : EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN I917 I97 

Impatience to reach the Valley again — No change in the Smokes in a year's 
interval — No probability of recurrence of explosive condition — Effect of Valley 
on uneducated native — Crossing the mountains against a hail of pumice — 
Comments of new members of party — Overawed by wonderful valley — Fear of 
cave-ins and fumes — Learning to travel safely — Effect on shoes — Cooking at a 
fumarole — Temperatures too high for our instruments — A steam- heated tent 

— Therapeutic possibilities of the Valley — Katmai Pass a notorious weather 
breeder — A few signs of animal life — Surveying the Valley — Collecting 
gases for analysis — Practically all plant life destroyed — Testimony of asso- 
ciates: L. G. Folsom; Paul R. Hagelbarger; J. D. Say re; Clarence F. Maynard; 
James S. Hine; J. W. Shipley; D. B. Church. 

CHAPTER XVIi: THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN I919 219 

Fumaroles unaffected by seasonal variations in streams — Some indications of 
slackened activity — Melting lead and zinc in the fumaroles — Kindling a fire by 
plunging stick into water — A red-hot fumarole — Valley becoming green in 
spots with moss and algae — Bacteria invading soil — Bears investigate Valley; 
one of them digs a new fumarole of his own — Baked Mountain Camp — Acid 
from cookstove eats the pots — Cookstove on roof of a bridged-over fissure; 
any desired temperature available — Com pone k la fumarole — Frying bacon 
in superheated steam — Varied menus at Baked Mountain — Trouble with storms 

— Protective measures — Final wreck of Baked Mountain Camp; apparatus and 
sleeping tents torn up; "grub" tent begins to weaken; extra tarpaulin tears away; 
hail of pumice; holding down the last comer of the tent; waiting for dawn; gale 
picks me clear up off ground; fleeing before the wind; relief at Ukak; camp moved 
to Mount Cerberus. 



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CONTENTS XI 

CHAPTER XVIII : A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND 

SMOKES 233 

Valley shaped like great Y — Underlain by sedimentary, not by volcanic rocks — 
Fissure fumaroles — Craters — Steaming mud areas — Steam rising through 
undisturbed sandstone strata — Hot springs — Mud pots — The new volcano, 
Novarupta — Falling Mountain; cataclysm began with great slide from Falling 
Mountain; fumarole action on Falling Mountain — Baked and Broken Moun- 
tains — Fissure Lake; warm water from snowdrifts — Drainage water nearly all 
evaporated by heat of Valley — Bewildering complex of odors — Chemistry of 
fumaroles: all emanations 99 per cent steam; no relation between temperature 
and composition of gases, — ammonia — unparalleled abundance of fluorine — 
sulphur — arsenic — corundum — potassium alum — iron; pyrite; Venetian red; 
magnetite — petroleum-like emanations — Wonderfully colored deposits; shoes 
daubed with brilliant pigments — Color photographs. 

CHAPTER XIX : THE GREAT HOT SANDFLOW OF THE VALLEY 253 

The great mass of tuff filling the Valley — Valley floor remarkably flat — Vol- 
ume of tuff about a cubic mile — Valley surrounded by conspicuous "high water 
mark" — Comparison with frozen pond — Fissures suggest sagging of original 
surface — Proof that activity of Valley began before explosion of Katmai — 
Relation to forest showed that tuff originally flowed like a liquid — Every stick 
touched by sandflow reduced to charcoal — Search for origin of sandflow — Hot 
sand must have broken through floor of Valley itself — Sandflow an eruption of 
new type; gives volcanologist new viewpoint. 

CHAPTER XX: ANTECEDENT CONDITIONS 265 

Little information concerning antecedent conditions available — Petrof 's de- 
scription of Katmai district; Katmai Pass; Katmai Village — Importance of 
Katmai Pass revived by discovery of Nome — Spurr's account of original condi- 
tion of country and his experience in crossing Katmai Pass — Katmai Pass prob- 
ably in unstable condition before eruption — Difficulty of judging weather across 
the pass — Travelers give no account of Katmai, although it must have been 
dominant peak of district — Only information concerning Katmai derived from 
U. S. Coast Survey Chart — Comparison with present stub. 

CHAPTER XXI : A HYPOTHETICAL CHRONICLE OF THE ERUPTION 277 

An account pieced together from evidence left behind — In the beginning a 
beautiful green valley — Great landslide from Falling Mountain opens the cata- 
clysm — Valley floor cracks open and seething magma rushes out — Impenetrable 
black clouds probably veil the scene — Lava froths up into fiery foam — Roaring 
fires sweep up the mountain side; misery of entrapped animals quickly ended — 
Fumes must have been indescribable — Valley becomes seething fiery torrent — 
An analogy from Hawaii — Red-hot ash rolls down Valley like liquid — Ex- 
plosion of Novarupta — Openmg of Katmai and the other volcanoes — Summary 
of events of eruption. 

CHAPTER XXII : WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 287 

Interpretation of subterranean disturbances the real problem of the volcanol- 
ogist — Rock of original mountain disappeared utterly — Rock of old mountain 
distinguishable from new lava at a glance — Could the old mountain top have 
been swallowed up in the bowels of the earth? No evidence of subsidence — 
Much of old mountain eaten away by new magma — All stages in penetration of 
old rock by new magma shown in fragments ejected; ash at Kodiak carries many 
crystals from old mountain — Much of old rock permeated with gases from new 
magma — Temperature of new magma low, less than 1,000® — All the ash could 
be packed into crater — A portion of old mountain probably sank into depths — 
Old rock mixed with lava of Novarupta may have been derived from Katmai — 
Explosions appear to have started at summit of mountain, not in depths — Lava 
formed molten lake in crater; frozen foam from lake surface; chilled scum — 
Magma did not explode immediately on reaching surface; explosions not a simple 
physical process like popping of carbonated liquors — What is the character of the 
magma chamber beneath the region? Sill or batholith? — Decision on theoreti- 
cal questions best deferred. 



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xii THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 

CHAPTER XXIII : GEOGRAPHICAL AND BIOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS IN THE SUR- 
ROUNDING COUNTRY 305 

Northern end of park not desolated by eruption — Coniferous forest border 
migrating westward — Naknek Lake extremely beautiful — Majestic mountains 
rising out of lake — View from Mount Katolinat — Discovery of Lakes Grosve- 
nor, Coville and Brooks — Resemblance to Finger Lakes of central New York — 
Trout 32 inches long — One of the greatest of spawning grounds for sockeye 
salmon — Salmon Falls — Enormous numbers ascending — Remarkable homing 
instinct of salmon — Countless waterfowl on lakes and ponds — Professor Hine's 
collections of birds and insects — Big game returning — Alaskan brown bear, the 
largest of carnivorous animals, abundant — Necessity for protection — Bear 
trails everywhere — Bears inspect our trails — Going into interior unarmed, 
despite bears — Feeding habits — First sight of bear — Encounter with sleeping 
bear — Going after Bruin with a pistol — Problem of finding a harbor — Possibil- 
ities of Kukak and Kinak Bays — Discovery of ideal harbor, named for National 
Geographic Society — Geographic Harbor fitting entrance to Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes — Feasible route for road into interior — Strategic importance 
of road across Alaska Peninsula — Sixty miles of automobile road would open up 
whole district — More accessible than Yellowstone at time of its discovery — 
Predictions of the future. 

PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION ESTABLISHING THE KATMAI NATIONAL MONU- 
MENT 331 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT 333 

INDEX 335 



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COLOR PLATES 



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VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

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XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 

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XVI. 



KODIAK FROM THE CHANNEL FACING PAGE 80 

A CANYON IN THE MUDFLOW AT THE HEAD OF KATMAI VALLEY '* " 8 1 

ALPINE GLOW ON MOUNT MARTIN *' '* 96 

FUMAROLES AT THE FOOT OF FALLING MOUNTAIN '' " 97 

MOUNT MAGEIK, WITH CERBERUS CROUCHING AT ITS FOOT, 

STANDS GUARD AT THE HEAD OF THE VALLEY *' ** 1 92 

THE OVEN WHERE CORN BREAD WAS BAKED BY NATURE'S 

FIRES ** " 193 

BRILLIANT INCRUSTATIONS FROM THE FUMAROLES *' " 208 

A ROW OF GORGEOUS "STOVE HOLES" " " 209 

THE CAVERNOUS MOUTH OF ONE OF THE FUMAROLES '* " 224 

A RED-BURNED FISSURE ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE VALLEY, 

LOOKING TOWARD THE GLACIERS OF MAGEIK *' '* 225 

MOSAICS OF ALUM DEPOSITED IN AN AREA OF DIFFUSE 

ACTIVITY " '* 240 

THE GAUDY MUDS OF THE VALLEY MAKE GOOD PIGMENTS FOR 

A PAINTER *' ** 241 

HARD BAKED CRUST AROUND A SMALL FUMAROLE " " 288 

THE INTERIOR OF A FUMAROLE LAID BARE " " 289 

TAKING THE TEMPERATURE OF MOTHER EARTH " '* 304 

PEACEFUL FOREST AND PELLUCID LAKE WITHIN A DOZEN 

MILES OF THE SMOKES '' " 305 



MAPS 

BASE OF ALASKA PENINSULA AND ADJOINING ISLANDS IN FRONT COVER 

ASHFALL FROM THE ERUPTION OF KATMAI FACING PAGE I 

VOLCANIC AXES AND STRUCTURE LINES IN EASTERN ASIA AND ALASKA ** *' 56 

VOLCANOES AND HOT SPRINGS OF THE ALEUTIAN REGION *' " 60 

CENTRAL PORTION OF THE KATMAI NATIONAL MONUMENT '' 68 

MOUNT KATMAI BEFORE THE ERUPTION ** 27O 

MOUNT KATMAI AS IT NOW STANDS " 270 

A RECONSTRUCTION OF MOUNT KATMAI AS IT WAS BEFORE THE 

ERUPTION " 272 

TOPOGRAPHIC MAP OF THE KATMAI NATIONAL MONUMENT IN BACK COVER 



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FOREWORD 

The following pages tell the story of the discovery by 
the National Geographic Society expeditions of one of the 
wonders of the world, **The Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes," and the prolonged study of one of the most 
gigantic volcanic eruptions in history. 

This remarkable exploration of Mt. Katmai by Pro- 
fessor Griggs and his associates, which continued for five 
years, was financed by the 750,000 members of the National 
Geographic Society, each of whom, millionaire and college 
professor, captain of industry and clerk, had an equal 
share in its support. Every member of the organization 
may thus derive considerable satisfaction that he or she 
has assisted to bring about such important additions to 
our knowledge of the young and active planet upon which 
we live. 

To Dr. Griggs, the leader of the National Geographic 
Society's expeditions to the Katmai region, and to each of 
his able assistants, the congratulations and thanks of the 
Society's membership are herewith extended. Their in- 
trepid, intelligent and faithful services achieved results of 
historic value and reflect great credit on all participants. 

GILBERT GROSVENOR 

President, National Geographic Society 



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THE ERUPTION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE 



The Story of the Valley of Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes begins with the great vol- 
canic eruption of 1912 which brought it 
into existence. Exploration, undertaken 
primarily for the scientific study of the 
effects of the ashfall, led to the discovery 
of one of the great marvels of the natural 
world, a place unseen and unsuspected 
by white man and native alike until 
entered by a National Geographic Society 
Expedition. 

Over an area of fifty square miles the 
ground is all broken open, and hot gases 
from the molten material below are even 
now everywhere pouring out, forming the 
several millions of fumaroles that con- 
stitute the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes. 

No one suspected that such a cata- 
clysm was in progress until the 6th of 
June, when volcanic ash suddenly began 
falling over all of northwestern America. 
Kodiak, in southwestern Alaska, was 
reported as the chief sufferer. But as 
Kodiak is one hundred miles from any 
volcano, the actual seat of the disturb- 
ance was uncertain. Katmai* volcano 
was mentioned in the first dispatches, 
yet it was not settled for a long time 
that it was Katmai which had blown up. 

The eruption was one of the dozen 
greatest of historic times, yet it attracted 
comparatively little attention, because 
of the remoteness of the region concerned. 
Katmai was, in fact, merely a name on 
the map, unknown except to local pilots 
along the unfrequented coast of Shelikof 
Strait. It may aid in giving some con- 
ception of the magnitude of the outbreak 
if we can picture to ourselves the effects 
a similar eruption would produce if 
centered in a better known region, say 
New York City. 

^ Pronounced K&t-mai' ; & as in cat, ai as in aisle. 

* More properly termed magma, for it had not 

given up its surcharge of gases. Strictly speak- 



If such an eruption should occur on 
Manhattan Island, the column of steam 
would be conspicuous as far as Albany. 
The sounds of the explosions would be 
plainly audible in Chicago. The fumes 
would sweep over all the states east of 
the Rocky Mountains. In Denver they 
would tarnish exposed brass, and even 
linen hung out on the line to dry would 
be so eaten by the sulphuric acid content 
as to fall to pieces on the ironing board. 
As far away as Toronto the acid rain- 
drops would cause stinging burns wher- 
ever they fell on face or hands. 

Ash would accumulate in Philadelphia 
a foot deep. To add to the terrors of the 
catastrophe, that city would grope for 
sixty hours in total darkness — darkness 
blacker than anything imaginable, so 
thick that a lantern held at arm's length 
could not be seen. 

As for the horrors that would be en- 
acted along the lower Hudson, no de- 
tailed picture may be drawn. There 
would be no occasion for rescue work, 
for there would be no survivors. The 
whole of Manhattan Island, and an 
equal area besides, would open in great 
yawning chasms, and fiery fountains of 
molten lava* would issue from every 
crack. 

This, disrupted by the escaping gases, 
would be changed into red hot sand, 
which, consuming everything it touched, 
would run like wildfire through the town. 
The flow of incandescent sand would 
effectually destroy all evidence of the 
former city. In its deepest parts the 
near-molten sand would probably over- 
top the tallest skyscrapers, though the 
tip of the Woolworth tower might pro- 
trude, if its steel supports could endure 
the fiery furnace surrounding them. It 
is doubtful, indeed, if there would be any 

ing, there were no lava flows in connection with 
the eruption of Katmai. 



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THE ERUPTION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE 



considerable ruins left behind to mark 
the site of that great city. 

In any case, for several months no one 
could approach the place nearer than 
Paterson, New Jersey. In addition to 
this, a hole would have been blown in 
the ground big enough to hold all the 
buildings of Greater New York several 
times over. 

With such a frightful comparison in 
mind, the reader will be prepared for an 
account of suffering and devastation un- 
paralleled in the annals of volcanic dis- 
asters. But of this he may be relieved 
at the outset. Terror of the most fright- 
ful sort there undoubtedly was; but of 
actual destruction of life there was none: 
not a single person perished in the erup- 
tion. 

Mankind may thus be congratulated 
on having one of the greatest opportu- 
nities ever afforded to study the manifold 
problems of volcanism, without having 
to pay the terrible toll of human misery 
that usually accompanies such cata- 
clysms. 

The flow of incandescent sand, alluded 
to above, constitutes an outburst of a 
new type, different from all recorded 
eruptions. The recognition that out- 
pours of this nature probably occurred in 
the past may help to explain many de- 
posits now puzzling the geologists. 

The phenomena here occurring at the 
surface suggest what must have taken 
place in the formation of many a heavily 
mineralized region. A study of the 
fumaroles of this area bids fair to throw 
light on the formation of metal-bearing 
veins in the depths of the earth. If we 
can gain a satisfactory knowledge of the 
activity here going on, it will help greatly 
toward an understanding of the deposi- 
tion of metalliferous ores generally. 

The explosions, too, constitute a prob- 
lem of great interest and import. Simi- 
lar outbursts in the past have left little 
clue to the processes responsible for the 
liberation of the enormous amounts of 
energy involved. Up to the present no 
carefully reasoned theory of volcanic 
explosions has been proposed. Here 



also Katmai, by reason of certain acci- 
dental circumstances, gives an unusual 
insight into the events preceding the 
great explosions, and seems likely to per- 
mit us to come nearer to an understand- 
ing of them. 

No less important than the questions 
of volcanism are the problems of revegeta- 
tion of the devastated region, both in 
their practical and theoretical bearings. 
The extent of the area covered by ash 
gives an unprecedented opportunity for 
study of the means by which £tsh is con- 
verted into a soil fit for the growth of 
higher plants. The processes by which 
such a mass of raw mineral debris is 
transformed into a soil rich in organic 
matter have the largest bearing on cer- 
tain problems of practical agriculture. 

The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes 
is far beyond other volcanic districts in 
the number of its vents and in the quan- 
tity of steam given off. It is well within 
the truth to say that, except during 
periods of dangerous eruption, the sum 
total of the emanations from all the other 
volcanoes of the New World, from the 
Aleutians to Patagonia, is less than is 
given off continuously, within the range 
of one's vision, from the Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes. 

To find a parallel to this Valley we 
must search the records of geology, for 
here was a volcanic outburst such as the 
geologist finds recorded in the rocks of 
past ages but has never before had 
opportunity to observe in the world of 
the present. 

The violently explosive eruptions char- 
acteristic of the*opening stages of the 
activity have, moreover, entirely passed 
away. The innumerable vents function 
as a gigantic safety valve, through which 
the titanic forces gathered beneath find 
avenue for harmless escape. 

There is, therefore, no likelihood of 
return to a dangerous condition. The 
observer may indeed travel in security 
anywhere among the volcanoes, with no 
fear of a sudden change in conditions. 
He may even with perfect safety peer 
over the edges of the orifices from which 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by W. J. Erskine 
THE END OF THE ASH FALL AT KODIAK 

At first the ash was comparatively soft and fluffy. Later it settled down into a hard compact layer 

ten inches thick. 



Photograph by W. J. Erskine 
ASH PILE FROM A ROOF, KODIAK 

It looks very much like snow as it lies on the ground but, being in reality pulverized rock of great 

weight, it did much damage. 



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THE ERUPTION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE 



Photograph by W. J. Erskine 
HOUSE IN KODIAK HALF FILLED WITH ASH BY AVALANCHE FROM THE HILLS 
The level of the ash within may be seen through the window at the left. 



the gases issue, and look fiar down into 
the depths through swirling currents of 
superheated steam that rush forth at his 
very elbow. 

So many natural phenomena of inter- 
est to the general public, as well as to the 
scientist, are exhibited in this remarkable 
region that President Wilson paused in the 
midst of the World War to set aside the 
whole district as the Katmai National 



Monument, which embraces over a 
million acres. 

Finally, a new harbor, discovered by 
the expeditions, permits the opening of 
the region to travel. A few miles of road 
connecting the harbor with the volcanic 
area will render the Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes as readily accessible 
as the geysers of Yellowstone National 
Park. 



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II 



THE ERUPTION AS EXPERIENCED AT KODIAK 



The chronicle of the eruption does not 
begin with a description of the volcano 
and the premonitory symptoms that 
must have preceded the great explosions, 
for all these passed unnoticed by reason 
of the remoteness of the region from 
human habitations. 

No one suspected that anything un- 
usual was in prospect until the full force 
of the explosions had broken loose. 
Many hours before any notice was taken 
of the eruption, disturbances must have 
occurred which, in a thickly populated 
territory, would have been heralded 
around the world in flaming headlines. 
Not until the lives and property of the 
people of Kodiak, a hundred miles from 
the volcano, were threatened, was it 
realized that a great eruption was in 
progress. 

ASH BEGAN FALLING WITHOUT WARNING 

The weather was fair; there was a 
strong northwest breeze, which in that 
region betokens a high barometer, and 
there were none of those signs of impend- 
ing disaster which one is wont to associate 
with volcanic eruptions. Suddenly, and 
without other warning than the gradual 
approach of a peculiar dark cloud from 
the northwest, gray ash began falling at 
Kodiak at about five o'clock in the 
afternoon, Thursday, June 6th. 

The only abnormal manifestations in 
advance of the falling ash were thunder 
and lightning; but, as these are almost 
unknown phenomena on the rainy north- 
west coast of America, their occurrence 
excited more than usual comment, es- 
pecially among the natives, many of 
whom had never before heard thunder. 
Not even thunder and lightning were 
observed, however, at the neighboring 
town of Afognak. 

In the beginning, the falling ash was 
hailed as a great curiosity, and the people 



carefully swept up samples for mementoes 
of an event such as they had never wit- 
nessed before and were not likely to see 
again.^ 

KODIAK NOT IN A VOLCANIC DISTRICT 

For it must be remembered that 
Kodiak is not situated in a volcanic dis- 
trict. There are no volcanic formations 
anywhere on the island ; and the nearest 
of the dormant volcanoes of the distant 
mainland was a hundred miles away, 
which under ordinary conditions is an 
altogether safe distance. 

Kodiak was, therefore, almost as much 
surprised as New York would be if one 
of the extinct volcanoes of Connecticut 
should suddenly awake and shower it 
with ash. 

Indeed, the people of Kodiak had but 
little more cause to expect serious dam- 
age from an eruption than has New York ; 
there was no known reason for alarm. 
Neither did they possess that careless 
confidence born of familiarity with vol- 
canoes and frequent experience with 
minor eruptions, which often lulls the 
inhabitants of a volcanic district into the 
belief that nothing really serious is going 
to happen, until they fail to heed warn- 
ings which everyone agrees afterward 
should have been sufficient to drive the 
people out of the danger zone. 

Beginning gradually, the ashfall in- 
creased until it was regarded as ** heavy" 
at 6 p.m. By 6.30 it had become so 
thick as to blot out the daylight, cover- 
ing the country with total darkness at a 
season when, in that latitude, daylight is 
almost continuous for the whole twenty- 
four hours. 

The ash steadily accumulated through 
the night, but the fall began to slacken 

* There is, however, a record that in March, 
1867, half an inch of volcanic ash fell at Kodiak 
from some distant eruption (see page 62). 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



© John E, Thwaitea 
EDGE OF VOLCANIC CLOUD, LOOKING SOUTHWEST 
FROM THE "DORA," 75 MILES FROM 
THE VOLCANO 



at about 3, and ceased at 9.10, on the 
morning of the 7th. 

This fall constitutes the bottom layer 
of relatively coarse gray ash, as it now 
lies on the ground. As it originally fell, 
this stratum was about five inches deep 
at Kodiak, but it has since settled down 
to about four-fifths of that thickness. 

During the night the people retained 
their composure to a large degree; and 
when, in the morning, the ashfall gradu- 
ally diminished and ceased, they believed 
that it was over. They had, however, 
no inkling as to the seat of the eruption. 



Then, and for many days there- 
after, they were completely isolated 
by the failure of the wireless serv- 
ice. The Kodiak Radio Station 
on Wood Island had been struck 
by lightning and burned down at 
some time during the eruption. 
The wireless apparatus of the 
United States Revenue Cutter 
Mannings which was coaling at 
Kodiak at the time, was useless 
because of the electrical condition 
of the air, which was excessively 
charged with ''static.** 

The report of Captain K. W. 
Perry of the Manning furnishes at 
once the most vivid and most 
authoritative account of the experi- 
ences of those who went through 
those trying days together. From 
it, all the following quotations not 
otherwise credited are taken.* 

TERROR BEGAN WITH THE SECOND 
FALL 

"All streams and wells had now 
become choked, about five inches 
of ash having fallen, and water 
was furnished the inhabitants by 
the Manning and the schooner 
Metha Nelson, lying at the end of 
the dock. We started evaporators 
to provide drinking water and con- 
tinued this for several days. 

*' At noon ashes had begun to fall 
again, and at 12.30 were increasing 
until at I p.m., it was impossible 
to see over fifty feet. Deep con- 
cern was visible on every countenance, 
and the advisability of the Manning's 
getting to sea was discussed. 

"However, this was out of the ques- 
tion, as few of the inhabitants wished to 
leave, and the voice of the ship's com- 
pany was 'take all or none.*" 

With the beginning of this second phase 
of the eruption the confidence which had 
carried the people through the first fall 
deserted them. When it was realized 

* Perry, Captain K. W. Report of June 21. 
Annual Report Revenue Gutter Service for 1912, 
pp. 11$ et seq. 



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THE ERUPTION AS EXPERIENCED AT KODIAK 



THE GREEK CHURCH AT KODIAK DURING THE ERUPTION 

One can only imagine the feelings of the inhabitants as they groped their way to church through the 
utter blackness when the bells boomed out the call to prayer on the morning of the third day. 



that Kodiak was experiencing not merely 
such a passing shower of ash as might 
befall almost any community on the 
Pacific, but was in the grip of a tremen- 
dous eruption, one of perhaps unprece- 
dented violence, the worst fears were 
naturally engendered. 

Once the affair had passed beyond the 
limit of reasonable probability, no one 
knew what to expect, and a spectre of 
abject terror took possession of the place. 
This was kept from degenerating into 
panic only by the character of the men 
in command of the situation. Captain 
Perry goes on : 

"During the afternoon I visited the 
two saloons in the place and, finding 
considerable drinking, requested the pro- 
prietors to close. This they readily did, 
agreeing with me that it was a time for 
every man to keep his mind clear. 

"At 2 p.m. pitch darkness had shut in; 
heavy static disturbances were observed, 
and our radio was dumb. A few refugees 



were on board, and the night of the 7th 
was spent in anxious watching. We got 
little sleep, and the dawn of the 8th, 
which we anxiously awaited, failed to 
appear. 

"While all ashes of the previous day 
had been removed, decks, masts, and 
yards were loaded, as were also the ship's 
boats. The ashes now were fine dust 
and flakes, and of a yellowish color. 
Sulphurous fumes came at times in the 
air, and many thought and spoke of the 
destruction of Pompeii. Avalanches of 
ashes on the neighboring hills could be 
heard, and these sent forth clouds of 
suffocating dust and ashes. 

"All hands were on duty from 7 a.m. 
Men often collided in working about 
decks, as the feeble glow of the electric 
lights and lanterns failed to dispel the 
awful darkness for any distance. The 
crew kept constantly at work with shov- 
els, and four streams of water from the 
fire mains were playing incessantly in 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



THE MANNING 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
LYING AT THE DOCK IN KODIAK 



When we first visited Kodiak a year after the eruption, the Manning was again coaling alongside 
the warehouse which had sheltered the population before she took them aboard. 



what at times seemed a vain effort to 
clear the ship of its horrible burden. 

'* The bells of the Greek church boomed 
out in the blackness, and few, if any, of 
its followers there were who did not grope 
their way to the call to prayer." 

DARKNESS SO THICK A LANTERN COULD 
NOT BE SEEN AT ARM'S LENGTH 

None of those who went through those 
days of terror fail to mention, in recount- 
ing their experiences, the awful darkness 
which is universally described as some- 
thing so far beyond the darkness of the 
blackest night that it cannot be compre- 
hended by those who did not experience 
it. Many have told me that it was im- 
possible to see a lantern at arm's length, 
so thick was the cloud of ash which 
enveloped everything. 



The sensations produced by the falling 
ash are vividly described by J. E. 
Thwaites, Mail Clerk of the steamer 
Dora, which crossed the area of falling 
ash: 3 

** And now began the real rain of ashes; 
it fell in torrents; it swirled and eddied. 
Gravity seemed to have nothing to do 
with the course of its fall. The under 
side of the decks seemed to catch as much 
ash as the sides or the decks under our 
feet. Bright clusters of electric light 
could be seen but a few feet away, and 
we had to feel our way about the deck. 

"The officers of the deck had to close 
the windows of the pilot-house tightly, 
and even then it was with the greatest 
difficulty that the man at the wheel could 
see the compass, through the thick dust 
that filled the room. 



* National Geographic Magazine, vol. 24: p. 154. 1913. 



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THE ERUPTION AS EXPERIENCED AT KODIAK 



II 



Photograph by Lieut. J. F. Hahn. U.S.R.S. 
REFUGEES FROM KODIAK ON BOARD THE ''MANNING" 

The suffering caused by overcrowding was far worse than that due to the eruption. On to a vessel 
capable of accommodating at most a hundred people in comfort were crowded more than 500 men, 
women, and children, all suffering from nervous shock and in fear of their lives. There was hardly 
room enough on the decks for all the people to lie down at once. 



"In the meantime, lurid flashes of 
lightning glared continuously round the 
ship, while a constant boom of thunder, 
sometimes coinciding with the flash, in- 
creased the horror of the inferno raging 
about us. As far as seeing or hearing 
the water, or anything pertaining to 
earth, we might as well have been miles 
above the surface of the water. And 
still we knew the sun was more than two 
hours above the horizon. 

**In the saloon everything was white 
with a thick layer of dust, while a thick 
haze filled the air. The temperature 
rose rapidly, and the air, what there 
was left of it, became heavy, sultry, and 
stifling. Below deck conditions were 
unbearable, while on deck it was worse 
still. Dust filled our nostrils, sifted 
down our backs, and smote the eye like 



a dash of acid. Birds floundered, crying 
wildly, through space, and fell helpless 
on the deck.** 

THE PEOPLE ARE GATHERED TOGETHER 

When daylight failed to appear on the 
morning of the third day (8th) it began to 
be felt that the people of Kodiak should 
be brought together in order to facili- 
tate the execution of any measures that 
might be decided upon for their safety. 
Accordingly, Captain Perry continues : 

** At about 8.30 a.m. at my request, the 
storehouse on the wharf was opened, and 
after a hurried consultation with some 
of the chief citizens I sent a message to 
the priest at the church that all the people 
could be cared for on the Manning and 
in the storehouse. Prior to this many 
had sought refuge on board. 



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12 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



THE DORA, 



Photograph from J. E. Thwaites 
PARTAKER IN MANY A WILD ALASKAN ESCAPADE 



With uncanny luck the Dora has had a share in almost every adventure in southwestern Alaska. 
No man can count the number of times she has been on the rocks, but until recently she was still ply- 
ing those dangerous waters. It was she that located the seat of the eruption and brought the first news 
to the outside world. Sixteen years earlier it was she that rescued Spurr's party (see Chapter xx). 



*'I then called together a committee 
meeting of the officers of the ship and 
several citizens, among whom were local 
pilots, and it was agreed that, as every 
landmark was obliterated, it was impos- 
sible to see from the bridge, and that as 
the chances were vastly against a ship 
making the narrow channel without 
striking, it was better to stay where we 
were and take what most of us believed 
to be only a fighting chance. . . . 

'*At 2.30 p.m. of the 8th the fall of ashes 
decreased, the skies assumed a reddish 
color, and finally objects became dimly 
visible." 

The ashes that fell during this period 
constitute the second layer of the de- 
posit at Kodiak, a stratum of fine ash 
of a bright terra cotta color, now 45 inches 
thick. 

When the light thus came again, the 
people looked about them to find that 
'*all clothed and festooned with ashes. 



nothing looked familiar.*' This interval 
of cessation in the fall was considered an 
opportunity to escape, for — 

"As similar phenomena had occurred 
the previous day, and frequent seismic 
disturbances were still felt, much fear 
existed that worse was still to come. 

"I hastily summoned a committee of 
citizens and, after hearing various opin- 
ions, decided that to stay might mean 
death, and there would be a chance of 
life if the ship could get to sea. 

** Consequently all hands were taken 
on board except United States Deputy 
Marshal Armstrong (who decided that 
duty required him to remain) and three 
other men. While Marshal Armstrong re- 
mained ashore, he sent his wife on board. 
This action furnishes its own comment. 
Only brave men offer such a sacrifice. 

**At 5.30 p.m. the ship cast off and^ 
with two leads going, Capt. Brown, an 
old and skillful Kodiak pilot, conned her 



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THE ERUPTION AS EXPERIENCED AT KODIAK 



13 



through the narrow channel. At 5.55 
p.m. we anchored in the outer harbor, 
having secured a bearing on Woody 
[Wood] Island that practically assured a 
safe passage to sea, even though darkness 
again shut in. 

**As soon as the ship anchored, the 
motor boat Norman stood in to Woody 
Island and brought off all the inhabitants, 
103 in number, many of whom were 
nearly famished for food and water, while 
others demanded the attention of doc- 
tors and nurses. This day food and 
water were furnished to 486 people, out- 
side our own crew, quarters to 414, and 
72 were quartered on board the tug 
Printer, which came out of harbor with 
the Manning and moored alongside.*' 

The suffering during those hours when 
the cutter lay at anchor awaiting her 
doom, as she supposed, was intense. 
Everyone was worn out from the strain 
of the ordeal and the work of relief, but 
there was little rest for those on board. 
The crew gave up their hammocks to the 
women and children, but with more 
than 500 people of all ages and conditions 
aboard a vessel not capable of accom- 
modating one-fourth that number in 
comfort, hardly a place to lie down could 
be found on the crowded decks. 

THIRD FALL OF ASH ON THE NIGHT OF 
THE EIGHTH 

During the night of the 8th ash began 
falling again and continued until some 
unrecorded hour in the morning. This 
fall constitutes the top, third layer of 
fine gray ash, which amounted to an inch 
and a half, after being packed down. 



Before the air finally cleared, after this 
last fall, Kodiak had experienced two 
days and three nights of practically un- 
broken darkness. 

Notwithstanding the confidence in the 
possibility of escape on the Manning, the 
congestion on the little craft was so great 
as to be intolerable, and when the morn- 
ing of the 9th dawned clear and bright, 
murmurs to be landed began to be heard. 

Accordingly, in the afternoon the in- 
habitants of Wood Island were taken 
ashore, since it was possible to care for 
them all in comfort at the Baptist Mission 
there. The Kodiak people remained 
aboard until the morning of the loth, 
when they also were gradually trans- 
ferred to their homes. 

Everyone agrees that the real and 
unavoidable discomfort resulting from 
the eruption was slight as compared to 
the suffering occasioned by terror and 
by the overcrowding of those days on the 
Manning, If the people could have 
known in advance what was to come, 
they might have remained in their homes 
throughout the ashfall in perfect safety 
and in comparative comfort. It was 
the vivid descriptions of the '*Last Days 
of Pompeii" and the fear of being buried 
alive that made the experience so ter- 
rible. 

If some one had remembered that 
Pompeii was only five miles from Vesu- 
vius, whereas Kodiakwas a hundred miles 
from any volcano, and had assured the 
terror-stricken people that nothing worse 
than they were already experiencing 
could possibly come to Kodiak, he might 
have greatly alleviated conditions. 



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• III 

RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



Among the people of Kodiak impris- 
oned on the Manning, speculation was 
rife as to the source of their misfortune. 
But it was several days before they were 
to be enlightened. 

When the ashfall finally ceased and 
the outlook began to improve, Captain 
Perry dispatched one boat to Seward, 
the terminus of the cable, to communi- 
cate with the outside world, and another 
to ascertain how the neighboring settle- 
ments had fared, and offer assistance. It 
was not until the I2th that information 
was received in a message from one of 
these boats that the eruption had come 
from Mount Katmai, a peak which until 
that time was practically unknown. 

THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE VOLCANO 

The determination of the seat of the 
eruption was first made by C. B. McMul- 
len, Captain of the steamer Dora, '*that 
notorious partaker in many a wild Alas- 
kan escapade,** which, with characteris- 
tic luck, happened to be passing through 
Shelikof Strait at the time. Captain 
McMullen's description of his experience 
is as follows: ^ 

* ' Left Uyak at 8.45 a.m., June 6 ; strong 
westerly breeze and fine clear weather. 
At I o'clock p.m., while entering Kuprea- 
nof Straits, sighted a heavy cloud of 
smoke directly astern, raising from the 
Alaska Peninsula. I took bearings of 
same, which I made out to be Katmai 
Volcano, distance about 55 miles away. 
The smoke arose and spread in the sky, 
following the vessel, and by 3 p.m. was 
directly over us, having traveled at the 
rate of 20 miles an hour.'* 

Captain McMullen's determination, 
although corroborated by other mariners 
and by the testimony of the natives 

* This portion of our account is almost alto- pedition sent to the scene by the National 
gether abstracted from the excellent narrative Geographic Society. For fuller details see the 
of George C. Martin, who directed the first ex- National Geographic Magazine, February, 1913. 

15 



quoted below, was not, however, un- 
challenged. 

The press dispatches named Iliamna 
and Redoubt as equal partners in the 
disturbance. This uncertainty was, how- 
ever, due largely to the fact that there 
were no traditions of previous activity 
from Katmai. That mountain was, in- 
deed, almost unknown. The Juneau 
Alaska '* Dispatch,'* in commenting on 
the news, remarked that Katmai was not 
shown on the maps. J. L. McPherson, 
of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 
who had spent a summer prospecting 
within 50 miles of Katmai stated cate- 
gorically that there was no Mount Kat- 
mai, and supplied pictures of Peulik, on 
Becharof Lake, which he suspected might 
be the seat of the eruption. Other less 
known peaks were also mentioned. 

As a matter of fact, the identity of the 
volcano was not established to the satis- 
faction of the people of Kodiak until 
three years later, when the first of the 
expeditions of the National Geographic 
Society, under the leadership of the writer, 
reached the scene and proved that the 
ash had come from Katmai and not from 
some other vent. 

As there were no considerable settle- 
ments anywhere near the volcano, there 
is so little testimony from eyewitnesses as 
to the events of the eruption that only 
a very fragmentary account can be given. 

Of the preliminary disturbances which 
must have preceded the great explosion 
practically nothing is known. This is 
the more surprising since, as subsequent 
exploration has shown, it was during 
this period, before the explosion of Kat- 
mai, that the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes was opened up and its enormous 
flows of incandescent sand poured forth. 



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I6 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
A ROOF CRUSHED BY THE WEIGHT OF ASHES 
Picture taken on Long Island, over a hundred miles from Mount Katmai, a year after the eruption. 



Photograph by W. J. Erskine 
ASH FALL COVERED SHIPS AT KODIAK, JUNE 9, I912 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



17 



Surely we would have supposed that 
the tremendous cataclysm necessary to 
open the great fissures of the Valley 
would make itself felt far and wide, but 
as a matter of fact there is no definite 
record of events during this period. 

ACCOUNT OF THE ERUPTION BY NATIVES 
OF KATMAI VILLAGE 

Of those nearest the volcano, the in- 
habitants of Katmai Village, all but six 
had been away fishing at Kaflia Bay for 
some time before the eruption. These 
two families remained on the ground 
until June 4, when they were frightened 
away by the earthquakes and by other 
signs of impending disaster, but they 
gave no circumstantial account of the 
cause of their flight. 

They were still camped along the coast 
in the vicinity of Cape Kubugakli within 
sight of Mount Katmai when it blew up, 
and so reported when they reached Cold 
Bay, where their accounts were tran- 
scribed to the diaries of two white men 
resident at that place. C. L. Boudry 
wrote, under date of June 8th: 

"Two families arrived from Katmai 
scared and hungry and reported the vol- 
canoes up 15 mile from Katmai (village) 
to the left of Toscar trail and that 3^ the 
hill blun up and covered up everything 
as far as they could see also that small 
rock were falling for 3 or 4 miles at sea 
but could not say more of it as every 
thing es closed up with smoke. These 
people had left Katmai village June 4 
and camped between Kashvik and Alin- 
chak bays. The rocks an fall in their 
boat are of the size of coarse rice and of 
the pumice stone formation. No one es 
lost as far as they know but all the 
natives are east of Katmai and the main 
flow of smoke go there as a strong S W 
wind blowing so they are in a bad 
shape." 

Jack Lee wrote: "They report the top 
of Katma Mountain blun of. There was 
a lot of Pummy stone in their dory when 
they got here and the say Hot Rock was 
flying all eraund them.** 



The only other persons within sight of 
the volcano at the time of the explosion 
were the natives in the village of Savon- 
oski at the head of Naknek Lake, 21 
miles (34 km.) from Katmai Crater. The 
ravages of the eruption caused these 
people to flefe in terror to Naknek, aban- 
doning their village at Savonoski and 
settling near Naknek, where they were 
interviewed by P. R. Hagelbarger, of the 
National Geographic Expedition of 191 8. 

"American Pete," chief of the village, 
had barabaras* (houses) both at Savono- 
ski and at Ukak, up the Valley near the 
present foot of the sandflow. Warned 
by the earthquakes preliminary to the 
outburst, he was in process of removing 
his belongings from Ukak to Savonoski 
when the eruption began. His account 
of what followed runs thus: 



STORY OF 



AMERICAN PETE, 
SAVONOSKI 



CHIEF OF 



"The Katmai Mountain blew up with 
lots of fire, and fire came down trail from 
Katmai with lots of smoke. We go fast 
Savonoski. Everybody get in bidarka 
(skin boat). Helluva job. We come 
Naknek one day, dark, no could see. 
Hot ash fall. Work like hell. Now I 
go back every year one month maybe 
after fish all dry and kill bear. Too bad. 
Never can go back to Savonoski to libe 
again. Everything ash. Good place, 
too, you bet. Fine trees, lots moose, 
bear and deer. Lots of fish in front of 
barabara. No many mosquitoes. Fine 
church, fine house. Naknek no good." 

The fire which American Pete saw 
coming down the trail from Katmai was 
probably started by the great Incandes- 
cent Sandflow, which was already rolling 
down the Valley before the explosion of 
Katmai. 

Realizing that this man and his party 
were the only human beings in Ukak 
Valley at the time of the bursting forth 
of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, 
Mr. Hagelbarger endeavored by ques- 
tioning to elicit further details, but none 
were to be obtained. The sole interest 



* Pronounced Bi rS' bSra. 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



19 



of the natives had evidently been to flee 
from the coming wrath of the eruption. 
The only additional information that 
could be obtained concerned the condi- 
tion of the Valley before the eruption, 
which was described as having clumps 
of trees along the stream clear up under 
the glaciers of Mount Mageik, where 
travelers camped before going over the 
Pass. The tundra in the upper part of 
the Valley was firm, and it was a great 
place for caribou. 

EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE AT KAFLIA BAY 

The only other persons anywhere near 
the volcano were the natives at the fish- 
ing station in Kaflia Bay. They were, 
to be sure, about 30 miles (47 km.) from 
the crater and ^ so situated as to be 
screened from the volcano by intervening 
mountains, which, while protecting them, 
prevented their observing the eruption. 
Their ordeal, while similar to that of 
the people of Kodiak, was more terrible, 
being both much more intense and more 
prolonged. 

Unfortunately, there appears to be 
no other record of their experiences than 
this very interesting letter, written by 
one of them : 

"Kaflia Bay, June 9, 1912. 
My dear Wife Tania: 

First of all I will let you know of our un- 
lucky voyage. I do not know whether we 
shall be either alive or well. We are awaiting 
death at any moment. Of course do not be 
alarmed. A mountain has burst near here, so 
that we are covered with ashes, in some places 
10 feet and 6 feet deep. All this began on the 
6th of June. Night and day we light lamps. 
We cannot see the daylight. In a word it is 
terrible, and we are expecting death at any 
moment, and we have no water. All the rivers 
are covered with ashes. Just ashes mixed 
with water. Here are darkness and hell, 
thunder and noise. I do not know whether it 
is day or night. Vanka will tell you all about 
it. So kissing and blessing you both, good-bye. 
Forgive me. Perhaps we shall see each other 
again. God is merciful. Pray for us. 



Your husband. 



Ivan Orloff. 



The earth is trembling; it lightens every 
minute. It is terrible. We are praying." 

That there were no casualties among 
these people is sufficiently conclusive 
evidence that there is no great danger of 
being buried alive by a fall of volcanic 
ash. Their survival makes it perfectly 
clear that the people of Kodiak were at 
no time in any real danger, and that if 
they could have been spared their terror 
they might have endured the ordeal with 
comparative ease. 

These fragmentary statements con- 
tain all the testimony available from 
points within 30 miles of the crater. We 
are, therefore, dependent for further 
information as to the character of the 
eruption upon inferences drawn from 
conditions found later around the vol- 
canoes. These may be more appropri- 
ately taken up in the discussion of the 
exploration than at this point and are 
accordingly deferred to Chapters xxi, 
and XXII. 

PRELIMINARY SYMPTOMS OBSERVED AT 
OUTLYING STATIONS 

Earthquakes began at Katmai Village 
at least five days before the explosion, 
while on June 4 and 5 there were more 
severe shocks, sufficiently strong to be 
felt at Kanatak,65 miles (100 km.) south- 
west of the volcano, at Uyak, 58 miles 
(93 km.) southeast, and at Nushagak, 130 
miles (210 km.) northwest (see map, op- 
posite page i). 

A considerable eruption of some sort 
probably occurred in the evening of the 
5th, since observers at Cold Bay, 40 
miles (65 km.) southwest, noted that 
the northern sky, i.e., in the direction of 
the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, 
looked "black and storming'* late that 
night in spite of the fact that there was 
clear weather on the coast. 

During the morning of the 6th explo- 
sions were heard at Seldovia, 150 miles 
(240 km.) northeast of Katmai and at 
Nushagak, 130 miles (210 km.) north- 
west, but were not noted elsewhere. 



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Photograph by George C. Martin 
ASH-LADEN TREES NEAR KODIAK, AUGUST 26, I9I2 
The branches bending to the ground made a tent under every tree. 



20 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



21 



At I p.m., on June 6, the terrific explo- 
sions and earthquakes which ushered in 
the period of violent activity were noted 
at Cold Bay, while at the same time the 
Dora first observed the black column 
rising from the volcano (see quotation 
page 15). The same cloud of ash and 
steam was seen also from Lake Clark 
and from Cook Inlet. 

PERIOD OF MAXIMUM ACTIVITY 

From this time on the volcano con- 
tinued in a state of prodigious activity 
for more than sixty hours, until some 
time after midnight on the 8th. During 
this period especially violent explosions, 
corresponding roughly, at least, to the 
three major layers of ash, occurred at 
3 p.m. on the 6th, at ii p.m. on the 
same day, and at 10.40 p.m. on the 7th. 

After the third of these explosions, the 
volcano subsided a little, but it remained 
in a state of violent activity for several 
days more, as indicated by the letter of 
Ivan Orloff (quoted above), which, 
though dated the 9th, gives no hint of a 
cessation of the eruption. The explo- 
sions continued to be heard through the 
9th at Seldovia, 150 miles (240 km.) 
northeast. 

**On the morning of the 9th observers 

* Quotation from Martin, op. cit. p. 158. 

• The only record of this period of waning ac- 
tivity extant is given in the diary of C. L. Boudry 
of Cold Bay. From it I glean the following: 

"9th. Still shaking and fumes are getting 
strong, ashes are falling steady . . .; loth. 
Still shaking . . . fumes not so bad . . . 
tremors are not so steady and not so strong 
. . .; nth. Shaking some . . .; 12th. Still 
shaking 7 a.m., and all day, only few hard shake; 
fumes are not so bad; 13th. Still shaking but 
not so hard. No more shakes after 12 o'clock 
and fumes are few; 14th. Not shaking since 
7 or 8 o'clock last night . . . start shaking 
at I p.m. but not so hard, about 6 or 7 shocks till 
9 p.m. 15th and i6th same conditions; 17th. Lots 
of smoke and fumes are pretty strong. Shaking 
hard and after 12 o'clock. Can hear the roar 
every once a while. After each roar a strong 
shake occur . . .; 21st. To-day shake is the 
hardest since the nth of June; 23rd ... at 
3 p.m. could see like a large reflection of a large 
fire; the heaven was very red so was the fog or 
smoke right over the hills. 

"July 2 1 St. At 2 p.m. fog clear up and could 



at Naknek, 80 miles northwest of the 
volcano, saw a beautiful illuminated 
funnel-shaped cloud which rose straight 
into the air to a considerable altitude 
and, as there was no wind, retained its 
shape. It afterward assumed different 
colors and dissolved into cloud banks, 
being illuminated all the time. A similar 
cloud was observed from Iliamna, 115 
miles north-northeast of the volcano and 
135 miles from Naknek, at the same time, 
the description differing from the above 
only in the statement that in losing its 
funnel-shape form it assumed the shape 
of a ship." 2 

GRADUALLY SUBSIDING ACTIVITY CON- 
TINUED ALL SUMMER 

All accounts agree that the volcano 
was very active for a long time after the 
great explosions, but details are lacking. 
Apparently the freely eruptive condition 
continued for many weeks. This ap- 
pears to have been followed by a gradual 
subsidence of activity until the present 
quiescent condition was reached.' 

Turning now to the record of the erup- 
tion preserved in the layers of ash, we 
find that even such activity as was re- 
corded by Mr. Boudry on June 17th and 
23rd and on July 21st was not accom- 

see smoke from new crater, not a steady flow but 
puff every 2 or 3 minutes or so some small and 
other, hard, one smoke far above cloud; . . . 
at 5 p.m., the smoke close of the top of hillock 
was like over a fire as the color is reddish. . . . 
All smoke from new crater is like steam escaping 
or else light yellow. At 10 p.m. a small shock, 
not over 6 seconds duration, direction E. & W. 
One hard shock at 11.45, ^ard enough to throw- 
hat off table, duration about i minute to i Vs 
min. Rock broke loose on cliff on beach." 

On November 23 Mr. Boudry described the 
condition of the volcano as follows: 

" The volcano are still raising cane. ... I 
will try to go there in winter or spring but 
can't make it now. I try 3 time. Cannot see 
not ting for smoke and after you are 10 or 12 
miles the acid raise hell . . . the acid bume 
the close you got on and raise blister on your 
hands. The worst shake we got was on the 20th 
Sept. Twestie the houses bad and knock the 
toiling from the houses down — ^also I was out- 
side, just throw me as ef I ad received a good 
rock on the side — Not much dogs, they get 
blind from acid." 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



23 



panied by the extrusion of any great 
quantity of solid matter. 

In Upper Katmai Valley a fourth yel- 
lowish layer of ash overlies the three 
primary strata. This was probably 
thrown out immediately after the more 
widely distributed layers, probably on 
the 8th or 9th. It was later capped by 
the stratum of very finely divided mud, 
which marks the top of the ejecta in 
Katmai Valley (see Chapter xii). 

RECORDS OF EARTHQUAKES ACCOMPANY- 
ING THE ERUPTION 

The earthquakes accompanying the 
great explosions were severe enough to 
be recorded by seismographs at great 
distances, as evidenced by the following 
information supplied by Mr. Napier 
Dennison, of Victoria, B. C, who writes: 

'*I may also say that on the 6th and 
7th of June, 1912, our Milne seismograph 
recorded a very large number of quakes 
and most of them appeared to have had 
their origin in the Katmai district. 
Though some of these quakes run into 
each other, ten are registered on the 6th 
and twenty on the 7th (Pacific time).** 

The first shock was recorded by the 
University of Washington (Seattle) seis- 
mograph at 2.41 p.m., Thursday, June 
6th, according to the daily press. The 
Georgetown University (Washington, 
D. C.) seismograph also recorded shocks 
almost continuously, beginning at 5 p.m. 
on the 7th and continuing through the 
8th, some of them being of extraordinary 
violence. 

Notwithstanding the occurrence of 
shocks strong enough near the volcano 
to knock a man down, there are no 
reports of damage from earthquakes. 
Whether the record would be the same 
if the country were thickly populated 
is doubtful. 

There are certain evidences, however, 
that the earthquakes were not so violent 
as might have been expected. On the 
mountains around Katmai are large 
numbers of ** balanced** rocks standing 
in positions of such apparently unstable 
equilibrium as to suggest that they were 



never subjected to any very heavy earth- 
quakes. 

EXPLOSIONS HEARD 75O MILES AWAY 

The explosions that marked the period 
of maximum activity were so violent 
that they were distinctly heard over an 
enormous extent of country, having 
been recorded at several places on Iliamna 
and Clark lakes, 100 miles (160 km.) 
away; at Iliamna Bay, 115 miles (185 
km.) northeast, where "the sounds were 
accompanied by a sudden quick motion 
of the clouds that would start and stop ** ; 
at Seldovia, 150 miles (240 km.) northeast, 
they continued from the morning of the 
6th until the loth; at Cordova, 360 miles 
(580 km.) northeast, beginning at 7 p.m., 
June 6th, they continued till 10 p. m., 
June 7th; at Copper Center, 450 miles 
(725 km.) northeast, they were heard on 
the 7th ; at Fairbanks, 500 miles (800 km.) 
northeast; at Chicken, 600 miles (1000 
km.) northeast, they were recorded from 
2.30 p.m., June 6th, until 6 a.m., June 
9th; at Dawson, 650 miles (1,050 km.) 
northeast ; at Katalla, 410 miles (660 km.) 
northeast, the detonations "sounded like 
the explosions of dynamite in the near-by 
hills. '* Juneau, 750 miles (i ,200km.) east, 
appears to have been the most distant 
place at which they were recorded. 

It should be pointed out in this con- 
nection that the detection of such sounds 
at any place depends largely on the acci- 
dent of their attracting the attention of 
some observer, for in this noisy modern 
world most people take no notice of dis- 
tant thunder or of explosions that would 
be distinctly heard by anyone listening 
for such sounds. 

No one at Kodiak observed the sound 
of the explosions. After the beginning 
of the ashfall there was, to be sure, so 
much thunder and lightning that the 
later explosions, even if heard, were not 
distinguished from the peals of thunder. 
But the afternoon of the 6th is described 
as quiet and uneventful until the ap- 
proach of the ash cloud, after 4 o'clock. 
It is not easy to understand why the 
explosions that occurred prior to that 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



25 



time were not heard at Kodiak and Afog- 
nak, since they were noticed at Chicken, 
600 miles (1,000 km.) away. 

Curiously enough, a similar phenome- 
non was observed in the case of 
Krakatoa, where no sounds were heard 
in the vicinity, after the beginning of the 
period of maximum activity, although 
they were clearly heard (not as one 
sound but as many) at Rodriguez, 3,000 
miles (5,000 km.) away. This was be- 
lieved by the Royal Society's commission, 
that gathered the data concerning Kraka- 
toa, to be due to the screen of solid matter 
in the air. 

But this explanation appears not to 
apply to the present instance, inasmuch 
as there was no such screen of solid mat- 
ter around Kodiak until several hours 
after the explosions began. 

SLT.PHURIC ACID RAINS AT GREAT DIS- 
TANCES 

The fumes from the eruption pene- 
trated to even greater distances than the 
sounds. Throughout the area of heavy 
ashfall disagreeable sulphuric odors were 
common for many months after the erup- 
tion. The gases from the volcanoes, 
moreover, frequently combined with the 
moisture of the clouds to produce acid 
rains which were both disagreeable and 
destructive. Such acid rains occurred at 
great distances. 

An Associated Press dispatch from 
Seward, 250 miles (400 km.) northeast of 
the volcano, on June nth, read: ''A 
slight rain fell at Seward today. The 
water was charged with sulphuric acid, 
which is killing all vegetation and eating 
into the metal work of buildings." 

On the same day the following dis- 
patch came from Cordova, 360 miles 
(580 km .) northeast : ' * The first real danger 
here was made apparent when a heavy 
rain began to fall. The water mixing 
with the ash in the air formed sulphuric 
acid which burned painfully whenever it 
came in contact with the unprotected 
parts of the bodies of persons in the 
street. Before the cause was realized 
many persons received painful burns in 



the eyes, although none was severely 
injured.'* 

At Latouche, also, in Prince William 
Sound, 300 miles (480 km.) northeast of 
the volcano, Mr. F. R. Van Campen, then 
superintendent of the mines, in a private 
letter states that, following the eruption, 
the rain was so acidified by the fumes as 
to cause stinging burns wherever it 
touched the flesh. He had his chemist 
analyze this rain, and found that the 
trouble was caused by sulphuric acid, 
which was present in considerable quan- 
tity. Unfortunately the analysis giving 
the precise concentration of the acid has 
been lost. 

This acid rain did serious injury to 
plants. The tender annuals of the gar- 
dens were completely destroyed, and the 
leaves of many of the native perennial 
plants were so burned that they dropped 
off. 

At Cape Spencer, about 700 miles 
(i , 100 km.) east of the volcano, the fumes 
were so strong that "brass tarnished 15 
or 20 minutes after being polished*' on 
the decks of the steamship Admiral 
Sampson, 

The extreme limit reached by the 
fumes was, however, very much more 
distant, for their presence was recorded 
from several places in Washington and 
in British Columbia, about 1,500 miles 
(2,400 km.) from the volcano. It will 
be advisable, however, to defer citation 
of authority for this statement until the 
discussion of the ashfall. 

A FOOT OF ASH OVER AN AREA HALF 
AGAIN AS LARGE AS DELAWARE 

The descriptions of the eruption at 
different points have already given some 
conception of the enormous ashfall. A 
more comprehensive idea of its amount 
and distribution is furnished by the map 
opposite page i, on which the varying 
depths of the deposit are indicated by the 
contours. This map must not, however, 
be construed as supplying exact informa- 
tion. Because of the uninhabited charac- 
ter of the country, it was not possible to 
secure sufficient data to permit drawing 



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26 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by George C. Martin 
INTERIOR OF A BARABARA SHOWING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NATIVE HUTS 
Compare with exterior, page 24. The ash sifted even into such structures. 



the contours with any great precision 
except in the small sector between Kod- 
iak and the volcano. 

Accepting, however, the data on the 
map as the best obtainable, we may list 
the areas within the different contours. 

An area of about 930 square miles 
(2,500 sq. km.) was covered with three 
feet (90 cm.) or more of ash. The area 
covered by a fall of two feet (60 cm.) 
includes 2,500 square miles (6,400 sq. 
km.). Ash to the depth of a foot (30 
cm.) or more fell over an area of 3,000 
square miles (7,800 sq. km.), half again 
as large as Delaware. An area of 29,600 
square miles (77,000 sq. km.) was covered 
with one inch (25 mm.) or more. The 
quarter-inch contour (6 mm.) incloses a 
territory of 42,000 square miles (109,000 
sq. km.), equal to the area of Tennessee. 

In addition to this, dust, having an 
enormous aggregate volume, fell far 



beyond the quarter-inch mark on our 
map. It is recorded, for example, that 
•* about one-fourth inch of ash fell" at 
Katalla, which is 410 miles (660 km.) 
northeast of the volcano, twice as far as 
that depth of fall is indicated on the map. 

DUST FELL TO A DISTANCE OF I,500 MILES 

Small but appreciable quantities also 
fell at much greater distances,* as shown 
by the following records: Ruby and Inno- 
ko, approximately 400 miles (650 km.) 
north; Rampart and Fairbanks, 500 
miles (800 km.) northeast; a point 90 
miles southwest of Eagle, 550 miles 
(875 km.) northeast, on the loth of June; 
Dawson, 650 miles (1,050 km.) northeast, 
on the nth; Chicken, 600 miles (1,000 
km.) northeast; Juneau, 750 miles (1,200 

^ These data are partly from Martin's article 
and partly from Kimball, Monthly Weather Re- 
view vol. 41, pp. 153-59. 1913- 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



27 



km.) east; Loring,in the southeastern cor- 
ner of Alaska, 900 miles (1,450 km.) east. 

Outside of Alaska the ashfall was 
noticed generally for a long distance, but 
definite records are scanty until the 
thickly populated Puget Sound country 
is reached. The experience of a steamer 
in this area was described in a press 
dispatch, dated Monday, June loth, as 
follows: 

"Vancouver, B. C, June 10. — Passen- 
gers on the steamer Camosun, which 
arrived this morning from Prince Rupert, 
witnessed a wonderful phenomenon all 
the way down until within 100 miles of 
Vancouver. A steady shower of ashes, 
presumably from the volcanic eruptions 
in Alaska, began falling into the sea and 
on to the vessel's deck soon after clearing. 

'*The shower kept up steadily from 
Saturday morning until last night at mid- 
night. * It was the strangest spectacle I 
ever saw,* said Dr. U. W. Ewing, the 
chief surgeon of the Grand Trunk Pacific 
Medical Service, who was a passenger. 
The entire heavens were filled with fine 
dust, which fell steadily. 

"The ashes obscured the sun and 
made everything hazy. Every foot of 
the steamer was covered, and extra men 
were assigned to sweeping it away. No 
sooner was it removed than a fresh sup- 
ply fell from the sky. We were not 
aware of the volcanic disturbances in 
Alaska until we steamed into Van- 
couver." 

Definite records of falling dust were 
made by a number of observers in the 
Puget Sound region, which is approxi- 
mately 1,500 miles (2,400 km.) southeast 
of the volcano. 

At Victoria, B. C, Mr. Napier Denni- 
son. Superintendent of the Dominion 
Meteorological Service in British Co- 
lumbia, vouches for the following quota- 
tion from the ** Victoria Colonist " of June 
1 1 , 191 2, adding that he himself furnished 
most of the information : 

** Volcanic ash from the Alaskan crater 
has been falling in Victoria for the past 
thirty hours, the effect being especially 
noticeable on brass work on motor cars 



and elsewhere, due to sulphuric acid in 
the ash. 

"In connection with these remarkable 
after-effects of the great Alaskan erup- 
tion, when thousands of tons of fine 
ashes were thrown up to the upper air to 
drift to many quarters of the globe, Mr. 
Napier Dennison furnishes the * Colonist* 
with some interesting notes. Yesterday 
afternoon he received the following 
report from Mr. C. D. Rouge, at Malbat 
Station (on Vancouver Island 20 miles 
north of Victoria) : 

'* 'I observed a peculiar haze which 
settled upon us Sunday, 9th, about 4 p.m. 
and continued till the time of writing 
(10 a.m. Monday). This haze is appar- 
ently heavily charged with sulphuric 
acid. It is thin in appearance but varied 
in mass as it crossed the sun. Thinking 
perhaps it might be sulphuric acid gas, 
which it resembles both in appearance 
and smell, I thought perhaps our higher 
location might render it more noticeable.* 

"The presence of sulphuric acid gas or 
other injurious fumes was noticed in the 
city (Victoria) by motorists, particularly 
when driving on the higher apd wind- 
exposed roads. The effect was to dis- 
colour the polished brass work of the 
cars. 

"Mr. Dennison and Mr. C. C. Pem- 
berton also found the windward sides of 
the exposed trees on the Gonzales rocks 
covered with a fine white ash, samples 
of which have been secured for analyses." 

The corrosive effects of the acid on 
brass were reported more circumstan- 
tially from Port Townsend, Washington, 
as follows : 

"Port Townsend, June 11. — ^Sulphuric 
acid is present in the air in quantities 
sufficient to blacken the brass work on 
automobiles. The owners of cars noticed 
the presence of a peculiar dull-colored 
corrosion on all brass work. The brass 
work was repeatedly cleaned but the 
deposit would quickly return. The de- 
posit is not hard to remove, being in the 
form of thin dust, but when removed, 
leaves the brass work slightly colored, 
requiring some little trouble to polish." 



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Photograph by G<H)rge C. Martin 
OLD FOREST SPRUCE, WITH MOSS-COVERED TRUNK AND BRANCHES LOADED WITH ASH, 

NEAR KODIAK, SEPTEMBER 4, I9I2 

28 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



29 



More injurious effects of the acid were 
reported in a press dispatch from Van- 
couver the next wash day : 

''Vancouver, B. C, June 12. — Scores 
of housewives in Vancouver were suffer- 
ers because acid, presumably from the 
Alaskan eruptions, permeated their fine 
white clothes hanging on the lines after 
the Monday washing. Linen goods were 
apparently the only ones attacked. 
When this white wear came to be ironed 
it simply fell to pieces, and not until 
many complaints had reached dry goods 
houses today were the women able to 
solve the problem." 

The ashfall was likewise detected at 
Olga and at Tatoosh Island, Washington. 
At the latter place J. E. Hissong, the 
weather observer, reported, on June loth : 

** Light deposit of fine white ash found 
on southwest side of storm-warning 
tower at noon. Evidently carried by 
wind from volcanic explosions in south- 
western Alaska"; and three days later: 
** During the evening of the 13th the air 
was filled with a very fine ash and 
smoke, a light deposit being noticed on 
the office furniture on the morning of the 
14th." 

Beyond this point the effects of the 
dust clouds in the upper air belong more 
properly to the meteorological effects of 
the eruption, and will be discussed in the 
next chapter (see page 32). 

ASH AND SAND TOTAL SIX CUBIC MILES 

It will be of interest at this point to 
attempt a rough estimate of the quantity 
of material thrown out by the volcano. 

Martin, summing up the volumes of 
the deposits of the several thicknesses 
shown on his map, arrives at an estimate 
of 4.9 cubic miles as the volume of meas- 
urable ashfall. Since his work was 
done, a considerable amount of informa- 
tion on matters connected with the cish- 
fall has become available. Part of this 

*The reader may be inclined to inquire if 
another liberal allowance should not be made for 
the dust in the upper atmosphere which was re- 
sponsible for the meteorological effects treated in 
the next chapter. Humphreys, however, has 



tends to increase the estimate, part to 
decrease it. 

Exploration has shown that the ashfall 
to the northeast of the volcano was not 
nearly so heavy as Martin supposed. 
Although details are still exceedingly 
meager, we have ventured to trace con- 
tours of ashfall in this region. From the 
contours of the map, including those in 
the deeper deposits close to the volcano 
(which were unknown to Martin), I 
have estimated the ashfall from Katmai 
as 4.75 cubic miles. 

In this estimate I have assumed that 
the amount of ash that fell outside the 
quarter-inch contour was equivalent to 
one-sixteenth of an inch over a circle of 
500 miles radius. This seems conserva- 
tive, in view of the quarter-inch fall re- 
ported at Katalla, 410 miles away and 
out of the track of the heaviest clouds of 
ash.^ 

In addition to the ash from Katmai 
itself, we should consider here the eject a 
of other vents thrown out at the same 
time, for all belong to the same eruption. 

In the first place, there is the material 
composing the great Incandescent Sand- 
flow of the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes, as described in Chapter xix. 
Though it is impossible to estimate this 
with any degree of satisfaction, its mag- 
nitude is of the order of one cubic mile. 

Second, there is the ash and pumice 
thrown out by Novarupta in the period 
of its explosive activity. This covers a 
circle approximately seven miles in ra- 
dius to a maximum thickness of about 
100 feet. Allowing for the taper char- 
acteristic of volcanoes this may be esti- 
mated conservatively as a cone having a 
radius of seven miles and a height of 50 
feet, the volume being, therefore, ap^ 
proximately half a cubic mile. 

Summing up these various items, we 
have in round numbers a total mass of 

estimated that one fifteen-hundredth part of a 
cubic mile of finely divided dust would be suf- 
ficient to produce the meteorological effects ob- 
served. This is much too small a quantity to be 
considered in our estimate, which is subject to 
errors of very much larger proportions. 



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RECORDS OF THE ERUPTION FROM OTHER LOCALITIES 



31 



volcanic ejecta of 6.25 cubic miles thrown 
out from the interior of the earth during 
the eruption. 

This figure is so stupendous that it 
quite passes the possibility of compre- 
hension. As it has been my privilege to 
work over these deposits, season after 
season, I have found my conception of 
their magnitude continually growing as 
my acquaintance with them has broad- 
ened. Not because I have gained any 
concrete conception of their size, but 
rather because of an increasingly vivid 
realization that their msiss is beyond the 
grasp of the mind. 

EJECTA EQUIVALENT TO OUTPUT FROM 

STONE CRUSHERS OF UNITED STATES 

FOR OVER 500 YEARS 

In attempting to form some idea of 
the bulk of the ejecta, it may be helpful 
to seek an equivalent in terms of human 
labor, which is our chief standard of 
measurement. Since the ash is essen- 
tially pulverized rock, the volcano may 
be compcired to a gigantic stone crusher, 
except that Katmai reduced a large 
percentage of its product to dust, thus 

•This estimate is arrived at by multiplying 
the volume of the deposits by their specific 
gravity. A number of samples of the ash as it 
lies on the ground have been found to average 



doing its work much more thoroughly 
than a crusher. The analogy is not 
quite just, because the ash was formed 
by the disruption of molten magma 
rather than by the crushing of solid 
rock. 

Nevertheless, the energy expended in 
the eruption probably far exceeded the 
power necessary to crush an equivalent 
amount of hard rock and, in any case, 
comparison with the crushed stone 
production of the country will give a fair 
idea of the quantity of material thrown 
out. 

The output of broken stone from all 
the quarries of the United States is 
about 50 millions of tons annually. The 
total weight of the ash was about 28,700 
millions of tons.' It is thus evident that 
Katmai ''working*' only one week, pro- 
duced as much crushed rock as could be 
turned out by all the crushers of the 
United States during a period of 575 
years. That is to say, to catch up with 
Katmai they would have had to begin 
operations one hundred and fifty years 
before the discovery of America and kept 
up steadily at their present rate ever 
since. 

a little greater in density than water. The weight 
of the ejecta may be computed, therefore, as 
equivalent to that of an equal volume of water. 



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Banoaisan Maria 





CURVES SHOWING THE RELATIONS OF TEMPERATURE, SUNSPOT NUMBERS AND RADIA- 
TION INTENSITY (PYRHELEOMETRIC VALUES) AS AFFECTED BY VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS 

(After Humphreys.) 
32 



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IV 



CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 



As intimated in the last chapter, the 
effects of the eruption were felt far be- 
yond the zone of ashfall. They were in 
fact world-wide. 

The fine dust carried into the upper 
atmosphere formed a haze which so re- 
duced the intensity of sunshine as to 
cause the cold summer of 1912, through- 
out the northern hemisphere. Many 
readers will probably be surprised to learn 
that a single localized eruption can have 
any measurable effect on the weather of 
so large an area. Nevertheless, an ex- 
amination of the records shows that all 
great volcanic explosions have been fol- 
lowed by pronounced drops in tempera- 
ture, the world over. 

The lowest point ever reached in the 
temperature of the world, since the 
beginning of reliable records, occurred in 
the years 1 783-1 785, following the erup- 
tions of Asama-yama in Japan, and 
Skaptar JokuU in Iceland, which are 
reported as having been among the most 
frightful known. 

Asama hurled enormous rocks in all 
directions. One of these, said to have 
measured 264 by 120 feet, fell into a river 
forming a miniature island . Many towns 
and villages were buried. The activity 
of Skaptar Jokull largely took the form of 
immense lava flows, the greatest within 
historic times; but there were also ex- 
plosions producing ashes and fumes that 
affected a large area, even destroying 
crops in Scotland, 600 miles away. 

These eruptions were followed by a 
remarkable "dry fog" which appeared 
simultaneously on June 17, 1783, all 
over Europe. It was world-wide, being 
recorded in Asia, Africa, and America, 
as well as Europe. It was so thick that 

^ This material is summarized from the Report 
of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society 
pp. 388-392. 1888. The observations of twi- 



in some places '* large houses 2 miles off 
could hardly be seen." The sun was 
invisible for some time after rising and 
before setting. At noon it was blood- 
red, and could be observed easily with 
the unprotected eye. In the middle of a 
moonless night, the twilight, due to reflec- 
tion from the dust cloud illuminated the 
earth as much as a full moon. Strong 
sulphurous fumes, which accompanied 
this haze, damaged many plants, were 
unpleasant to the eyes, and caused some 
persons inconvenience in breathing.* 

The effect of the same fog in America 
was thus described by Benjamin Frank- 
lin, who at the time was ignorant of its 
cause.^ 

"the year without a summer" 

''During several of the summer months 
of the year 1783, when the effects of the 
sun*s rays to heat the earth in these 
northern regions should have been the 
greatest, there existed a constant fog 
over all Europe, and great part of North 
America. This fog was of a permanent 
nature; it was dry, and the rays of the 
sun seemed to have little effect toward 
dissipating it, as they easily do a moist 
fog arising from the water. They were 
indeed rendered so faint in passing 
through it that, when collected in the 
focus of a burning-glass, they would 
scarce kindle brown paper. Of course, 
their summer effect in heating the earth 
was exceedingly diminished. 

*' Hence the surface was early frozen. 

"Hence the first snows remained on it 
unmelted, and received continual addi- 
tions. 

"Hence perhaps the winter of 1783-4 

light at midnight were probably made in northern 
Europe above latitude 50". 

•As quoted by Humphreys, Physics of the 
Air, p. 570. 1920. 



33 



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34 



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was more severe than any that happened 
for many years." 

In 1815 occurred the eruption of Tom- 
boro, in the East Indies. This, **if the 
published reports are to be credited, 
appears to have exceeded all other known 
eruptions. It caused darkness lasting 
for three consecutive days at a distance 
of over 300 miles. Ash fell to a depth of 
two feet more than 850 miles away. 
Dust fell over an area of 1,000,000 square 
miles. The explosions were heard at a 
distance of 1,000 miles. The material 
ejected has been variously estimated at 
28.6, and even at 50 cubic miles."' In 
this eruption 56,000 people are reported 
to have lost their lives. 

After Tomboro, streaky skies, hazi- 
ness, and brilliantly colored sunsets were 
conspicuous in Europe. At the same 
time the temperature dropped about 1.1° 
C. below the normal, producing such 
marked effects on plant growth that the 
year 1816 is known as "the year without 
a summer," ** poverty year," or ** eight- 
een hundred and froze-to-death." 

REMARKABLE ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTS OF 
THE ERUPTION OF KRAKATOA 

The best known instance of world- 
wide effects from an eruption is that of 
Krakatoa. The eruption occurred in 
August, 1883, but scant notice of it was 
taken in Europe until months afterward, 
when its remarkable atmospheric effects 
compelled attention. 

The dust from the volcano caused 
such brilliant sunsets that they became 
matters of universal comment. The 
dust particles in this case were blown so 
high that it required two years for them 
to settle down to the level of the highest 
clouds. During all this time remarkable 
sunset colors, haze effects, and abnor- 
mally long twilights occurred through- 
out the whole world. 

The amount of material thrown put in 
this eruption, 3.2 cubic miles, was only 
about half as much as from Katmai. But 
in violence, the explosion far exceeded 

» Martin, G. C, National Geographic Maga- 
zine, 1913. P- 165. 



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CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 



35 



Katmai, for it was heard at much greater 
distances. 

In the Andaman Islands, 1,500 miles 
from the volcano, the ''report was heard 
as of a distant signal gun. A steamer 
was sent round the coast to search for 
the vessel supposed to be firing as signals 
of distress.'** At a point in South 
Australia 2,023 miles from Krakatoa, 
people were awakened at midnight by 
the explosion, which resembled blasting. 
The extreme limit at which the sounds 
were detected was, however, nearly 
twice as far away. At Rodriguez, 2,968 
miles distant, the detonations sounded 
like '*the distant roar of heavy guns." 

In addition to the tremendous sounds, 
the explosion of Krakatoa set up another 
type of atmospheric disturbance marked 
by a fall in air pressure, as recorded by 
self-registering barometers all over the 
world. This remarkable air wave pro- 
ceeding from the volcano spread entirely 
round the earth to the antipodes; was 
there reflected and passed back again to 
the volcano, where it was again reflected 
back to the antipodes; was again sent 
back to the volcano; and so on, until it 
had circled the globe seven times before 
it finally became too faint to be detected. 

After the eruption of Krakatoa the 
intensity of the sunshine was reduced 

* Quotation from Report to Royal Society, op. 
cit., pp. 84-87. 

* The data concerning this haze and its effects 
have been collected by Kimball, Humphreys, 
Abbot, and Fowle, from whose contributions I 
gather the facts summarized below. For more 
detailed accounts the reader is referred to the 
original papers: 

Abbot, C. G. Do Volcanic Explosions Affect 
Our Climate? National Geographic Magazine, 
vol. 24, pp. 181-198. 1913. 

Abbot, C. G. and Fowle, F. E. Volcanoes and 
Climate. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collec- 
tions, vol. 60, No. 29, 1913. 

Humphreys, W. J. Volcanic Ehist and Other 
Factors in the Production of Climatic Changes 
and Their Possible Relation to Ice Ages. Bulle- 
tin Mt. Weather Observatory, vol. 6, pp. 1-34, 

1913. 

, Physics of the Air, Philadelphia, 1920. 

Kimball, H. H. The Dense Haze of June lo- 
II, 1912. Bulletin Mt. Weather Observatory, 
vol. 5, pp. 161-165, 1912-1913. 



very much as in the other instances cited, 
but in this case the greatest eflfect, 
amounting to a 12 per cent loss in the 
sun's power, was not reached until 
nearly two years after the eruption. 
These sky phenomena were accompanied 
by a marked drop in the world's tempera- 
ture — 0.45° C. (see page 32).* 

VOLCANIC HAZE FROM KATMAI APPEARED 

IN WISCONSIN BEFORE THE 

ERUPTION WAS OVER 

With these records of previous erup- 
tions before us, we are prepared to accept 
reports of world-wide effects from the 
explosion of Katmai that would seriously 
tax our credulity if they stood alone. 

Within the two days after the begin- 
ning of the eruption, June 8, a curious 
haze different from anything ever before 
seen by the observer appeared at Madi- 
son, Wisconsin.* It assumed '*the form 
of streaks, rapidly moving wave systems, 
and clotted forms, observed from 11 
a.m. until late in the afternoon.'** On 
the next two days the "high haze con- 
tinued but became denser, so that definite 
forms were more difficult to identify." 

By June loth the haze had spread to 
Virginia, where it was so noteworthy on 
the loth and nth as to induce Professor 
H. H. Kimball to publish a special paper 



, The Effect of the Atmospheric Tur- 
bidity of 1912 on Solar Radiation Intensities 
and Skylight Polarization. Ibid., pp. 295-312, 

1913. 

, The Effect upon Atmospheric Trans- 
parency of the Eruption of Katmai Volcano. 
Monthly Weather Review, vol. 41, pp. 153-159, 

1913- 

, The Relation between Solar Radi- 
ation Intensities and Temperatures of the Air 
in the Northern Hemisphere in 1912-1913; Bul- 
letin Mt. Weather Observatory, vol. 6, pp. 
205-220, 1914. (With full citations to other 
literature). 

, Volcanic Eruptions and Solar Radia- 
tion Intensities. Monthly Weather Review, vol. 
46, pp. 355-356, 1918. 

See also Arctowski, Henryk. Volcanic Dust 
Veils and Climatic Variations. Annals N.Y. 
Academy of Science, vol. 26, pp. 149-174, 191 5. 
(Also literature there cited.) 

•Monthly Weather Review, 1913, vol. 41, p. 
154. 



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36 



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CURVES SHOWING THE EFFECT OF THE DUST FROM KATMAI ON: 

I. Skylight polarization at Mount Weather, Vii^inia. 

II. Insolation at Mount Weather, Virginia (O) and Madison, Wisconsin (X). 
III. Temperature Departures in the Northern Hemisphere, for the period following the eruption. 
(After Kimball.) 



devoted to it, although at the time of 
writing he had no inkling of its cause. 

"On the 8th and 9th the atmosphere 
was unusually clear for June."^ But on 
the loth "the upper atmosphere was 
filled with a white veil of haze," although 
the lower air "was still clear so that 
mountains 30 miles distant were dis- 
tinctly visible." . . . "Just before noon 
the polarization of skylight, which was 67 
per cent at 9 a.m. of the 9th had decreased 
to 14 per cent, and the atmospheric trans- 
mission coefficient, which was 0.756 
shortly before noon of the 9th, had 
decreased to 0.589." 

'H. H. Kimball in Bulletin Mt. Weather 
Observatory. 191 2-13, vol. 5, pp. 162-3. 



Abbot and Fowle, who were engaged 
in studying the intensity of solar radia- 
tion, the former in Algeria, the latter in 
California, soon afterward found their 
observations interfered with by the same 
peculiar haze, which, needless to say, 
was most unexpected in the desert regions 
which they had chosen especially because 
of their freedom from clouds. Abbot 
describes his experience thus:* 

PECULIAR HAZE PERSISTED ALL SUMMER 
IN ALGERIA 

"While observing on June 19, 1912, I 
noted streaks resembling smoke lying 

' National Geographic Magazine, February, 
1913, p. 181. 



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CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 



37 



along the horizon, as if there were a forest 
fire in the neighborhood of the station. 

"These appearances continued and 
were soon joined by others more notice- 
able. After a day or two we began to see 
peculiar mottled figures like those of the 
mackerel sky, although absolutely no 
clouds were present. The phenomenon 
became so marked that we ceased en- 
tirely our observations of solar radiation, 
as the sky seemed to be quite too poor 
for such work. 

"About the 25th of June a cloudy 
period began, with rain, and, after this, 
of course, we expected that all these curi- 
ous sky phenomena would have passed 
away ; but not so, for when the clouds had 
quite passed by, about the 29th of June, 
we found that the whole sky was filled 
with haze, and this state of affairs con- 
tinued even more pronounced until the 
expedition left Algeria, about Septem- 
ber 10." 

Unusual haze was noticed during this 
summer at many other stations, both in 
the United States and in Europe, but 
few made the precise instrumental ob- 
servations that give especial significance 
to the accounts above quoted. 

The dust veil interfered also with the 
work of the astronomical observatories. 
At the Yerkes Observatory "all observers 
using the Bruce Spectrograph noted that 
exposure times had to be lengthened." • 
The Director of the Dominion Observa- 
tory, Ottawa, reported: "Photographs 
of the solar spectrum show a marked de- 
crease in intensity (apparently not less 
than 25 per cent) ." • P. G. Nutting, work- 
ing at the Bureau of Standards, Wash- 
ington, states: "We detected a change 
in color of direct sunlight by spectro- 
photometric comparison with acetylene. 
First noted on June 11," • the next day 
after it was observed in Virginia. 

In the train of this haze was a more or 
less marked increase in the intensity of 
sunset colors, somewhat like that which 
followed the eruption of Krakatoa in 
1883, but so much less pronounced as not 

• Monthly Weather Review, vol. 41, p. 157, 
1913. 



to have attracted general notice, being 
recorded only by a few careful obser^'^ers. 

THE DUST CLOUD ABSORBED TEN PER 
CENT OF THE SUN's HEAT 

The haze had the effect of intercepting 
a very considerable fraction of the sun's 
rays and reflecting them back into space, 
materially reducing the intensity of the 
sunshine. 

Abbot and Fowle's measurements 
summarized in the table given below ^'^ 

Table Showing Diminishbo Hbating Power of Sun- 
light Due to the Dust from Katmai 



Total radiation 



Values in 
calories 



Ratio to 
early June 



Percentage 
depletion 



A Mount WUson. California 



Early June . . . 
Late June .... 

July 

August 

Haziest Days. 



1.49 


1. 00 


1.48 


.99 


1.33 


.89 


1.24 


.83 


1. 13 


.76 



II 
17 
24 



B. Bassour, Algeria 



Early June . . . 

Late June 

July 

August 

Haziest Days. 



- 1.39 


1. 00 


1.37 


.99 


1. 14 


.8a 


1. 14 


.83 


.99 


.71 



18 
18 
29 



show "that the uncommon haziness of 
the sky during the summer of 191 2 
produced a very marked decrease in the 
direct solar radiation in all parts of the 
spectrum, and reached nearly 20 per 
cent at high sun for the total heat.*'" 

There was, however, some compensa- 
tion for this great loss in an increase of 
the brightness of the sky, due to the 
fact that dust particles reflect a portion 
of the light down to the earth's surface 
as well as off into space. The effect of 
this diffuse reflection was to increase the 
twilight both in duration and intensity. 
Taking everything into consideration, 
Abbot concluded **that the dust of 
Katmai diminished the heat available to 

^^ From Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 
vol. 60, No. 29, p. 6, 1913. 

^i National Geographic Magazine, February, 
1913, pp. 184-186. 



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Photograph by B. B. Fulton 
MASSES OF MOSS ON THE TREES NEAR KODIAK 

These moss balls held quantities of the falling ash, which have since been consolidated and bound in 

place by new growth. 

38 



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CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 



39 



warm the earth in the North Temperate 
Zone by about lo per cent during the 
summer of 1912. 

THE WHOLE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WAS 
COOLER BECAUSE OF THE ERUPTION 

**In accordance with the laws of heat 
and radiation, this might produce a fall 
of 7° C. [12.6° F.] in the temperature of 
the earth as a whole, if it was effective 
for a long enough period of time, pro- 
vided that there were no counteracting 
influences." The records show that the 
cooling of the earth postulated by Abbot 
actually occurred. 

As summarized by Kimball*^ they re- 
veal a deficiency in temperature amount- 
ing to 0.9° C. [1.6° F.], which reached its 
maximum in September. 

None of the eruptions since the be- 
ginning of the record has produced so 
striking an irregularity in the tempera- 
ture curve as Katmai, for the reason that 
it occurred at a time when terrestrial 
temperatures were at a maximum,*^ so 
that the depression it caused appears as 
a notch out of the top of the curve shown 
on page 32, whereas the other great 
eruptions happened to come at periods 
when their depressing effect on the 
temperature curve is not so conspicuous. 

A reduction of the earth's temperature 
by a degree or two will doubtless appear 
to most people a trivial matter, without 
any bearing on the affairs of everyday 
life: this is a great mistake. 

We are all so used to variations of sev- 
eral degrees from hour to hour and from 
day to day that we are likely not to real- 
ize that, although short-period daily va- 

" "Temperatures below the normal commenced 
to prevail throughout Alaska, the United States, 
and Mexico in June, 1912; over Canada, the 
Atlantic Ocean, Europe, and northern Africa in 
July; over Asiatic Russia to longitude 105** E. in 
August; and over the eastern part of Asia in 
September. Low temperatures persisted gen- 
erally in low latitudes during the remainder of 
191 2 and throughout the summer of 191 3, with 
a maximum deficiency for the whole hemisphere 
of 0.9° C. [1.6° P.] in September, 1912. There 
was an excess of temperature in high latitudes 
[due perhaps to increased sky light] during the 
winter of 1912-13, with a maximum departure 



riations compensate each other, the cu- 
mulative effect of a slight reduction of 
temperature continued over a long time 
becomes very important. A change of 
even i° F. continued through the season 
has a marked effect on plant growth. A 
deficiency of that amount entails a shift 
of fully 80 miles in the limits at which 
crops can be grown. That is to say, 
other things being equal, the occurrence 
of an eruption like that of Katmai means 
that wheat would fail to mature over a 
belt 80 miles wide along the northern bor- 
der of its range. 

In addition to changing the area over 
which crop production is possible, such 
changes in temperature may greatly 
affect the time required for plant devel- 
opment. Thus, a deficiency of only 1 .26** 
F. has been known to postpone the ma- 
turing of sugar-cane by a full year! 

VOLCANOES CAPABLE OF CAUSING ICE 
AGES 

An eruption like that of Katmai would 
lower the temperature of the world very 
much more than 1°, if the dust remained 
in the air long enough for its full effect 
to be felt. Abbot and Humphreys agree 
that the dust from Katmai would have 
reduced atmospheric temperature 6** or 
7*" C. (about 12° F.), if the dust had re- 
mained in the air long enough. for the 
earth to adjust itself fully to. the de- 
creased radiation and no compensating 
factors had intervened to counteract its 
effect. 

Such a lowering of terrestrial tempera- 
ture, *'if long enough continued, would 
be more than sufficient to produce 

for the hemisphere of 0.7° C. [1.3° F.] in Decem- 
ber. The average daily deficiency of tempera- 
ture for the whole Northern Hemisphere for the 
period of June, 1912, to October, 1913, inclusive, 
was 0.16° C. [0.29° F.]" Bulletin Mt. Weather 
Observatory vol. 6, pp. 214-15, 19 13. 

*' Terrestrial temperatures vary inversely with 
the spots on the sun's disc, reaching a maximum 
when sunspots are fewest and vice versa. The 
discrepancies between the temperature and sun- 
spot curves, T and S (page 32) occurred "in 
every important case simultaneously with violent 
volcanic eruptions." Humphreys. Bulletin Mt. 
Weather Observatory vol. 6, p. 24, 1913. 



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Photograph by Robert F. Griggs 
A DEVIL CLUB GROWING THROUGH THE ASH 

There are two sets of roots, one just beneath the surface, the other in the old soil. The three layers 
of ash are well shown. The ashfall in Lower Katmai Valley averaged 20 inches. 

40 



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CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 



41 



glaciation equal to the most extensive of 
any ice age.**^* 

Whether volcanic explosions actually 
brought on the great ice ages to which 
the earth has been subjected repeatedly 
in the past is, of course, another question. 
Because of the ephemeral character of 
their products, it is difficult to ascertain 
whether such explosions were frequent 
enough at any given time in the past to 
produce the glacial periods recorded. 
But, even in historic times violent erup- 
tions have been so frequent that they 
have markedly reduced the earth's 
temperature throughout that period. 
Humphreys concludes on this point: 

** Since the beginning of reliable rec- 
ords, say 160 years ago, the average tem- 
j>erature of the earth has been percepti- 
bly lower, possibly as much as i** F., 
than it would have been if, during all 
this time, there had been no volcanic 
explosions violent enough to put dust 
into the isothermal region of the atmos- 
phere. Similarly, on the other hand, if, 
during this period, violent volcanic ex- 
plosions had been three or four times 
more numerous than they actually were, 
our average temperatures probably 
would have been at least 2° F. to 3° F. 
lower, or low enough, if long continued, 
to bring on at least a moderate ice age.'* ^^ 

WATER LIBERATED IN ERUPTIONS PROB- 
ABLY OF VAST IMPORTANCE IN THE 
ECONOMY OF NATURE 

It would not be proper to bring this 
chapter to a close without brief allusion, 
at least, to one other way in which the 
eruption exerted a world-wide influence 
of far-reaching significance. 

It is recognized that the chief agent in 
the tremendous explosions was the ex- 
pansion of gases imprisoned in the mol- 
ten ms^ma, as the lava is called while 
yet in the bowels of the earth. We ought 

^ Humphreys, Physics of the Air, p. 590. 

>* Bulletin Mt. Weather Observatory, 1913, 
vol. 6, pp. 33-34- 

w As quoted by F. W. Clarke, Data of Geo- 
chemistry, 4th ed., p. 209, 1920. This work gives 
authority for my other statements relative to the 
contributions of volcanoes to the atmosphere. 



to make some inquiries concerning the 
quantity of the gas thus liberated, its 
source, and its effect on the atmosphere. 

Analysis shows that the ash has practi- 
cally the same composition as granite. 
If the magma had not been extruded, it 
would have become granite. Now it 
has been demonstrated that granite, if 
heated to the temperature prevailing in 
a volcano, gives off water and gases 
identical with those of an eruption. 

The celebrated French volcanologist, 
Gautier,^' estimated that a cubic kilo- 
meter of granite heated to 1,000** C. 
would give off 160,000 millions of cubic 
meters of steam and 28,000 millions of 
cubic meters of other gases. The magma 
from which the ash and pumice came, 
before expansion, amounted to some- 
thing like ten cubic kilometers. Hence, if 
these data represent conditions in Kat- 
mai, the ash and pumice thrown out 
would have liberated in round numbers 
56,000,000 million cubic feet of steam 
and 10,000,000 million cubic feet of other 
gases. 

As a matter of fact, however, a highly 
explosive magma like that in the recent 
eruption probably contains far more gas 
than the average granite. Our estimates 
are, therefore, presumably much too low. 
Besides, they include only the gases set 
free by the ash thrown out, and take no 
account of the vast quantities of steam 
which have been given off continuously 
ever since the eruption, without further 
extrusion of solid matter. The numerical 
value given is, therefore, too small, but 
the estimates serve to suggest the enor- 
mous quantity of steam given off in a 
great eruption. 

Even this quantity of steam, repre- 
senting only a fraction of the total out- 
put of the volcano, would form, when it 
condensed, about 300 million long tons 
of water.^^ 

*^ It must be recognized that this figure, great 
as it is, is relatively minute when compared with 
either the stock of water in the ocean or the rain- 
fall of the world. Its significance lies not in the 
size but in the fact that it is ?tew water, a per- 
manent addition to the ocean. 



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42 



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CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF THE ERUPTION 



43 



Whence came this great volume of 
water? 

Some have maintained that it was due 
to the percolation of sea water into the 
molten magma in the depths. But this 
view does not stand up well under close 
examination. It is more probable that 
it is ** juvenile water'* brought up from 
the interior of the earth for the first 
time, forming, therefore, a permanent 
addition to the waters of the earth's 
crust. 

In the words of that great master, 
Exluard Suess,^^ "Volcanoes are not fed 
by the infiltration of the sea but the 
waters of the sea are increased by every 
eruption." If this view is correct, vol- 
canoes play a r61e of supreme importance 
in the economy of nature, for their erup- 
tions are the principal means by which 
the oceans and all of the waters of the 
world have been separated from the solid 
crust. If there had been no volcanic 
eruptions in the past, the earth would be 
an uninhabitable desert on which life 
could not have developed. 

ALL LIFE PERHAPS DEPENDENT ON THE 
CONTINUANCE OF VOLCANIC ACTION 

One other product of eruptions re- 
quires consideration: carbon dioxide. 
This gas is an absolute essential to green 
plants; it is the indispensable basis from 
which all human foods are built up. 
Moreover, it has been locked up in coal 
and in limestone in such enormous 
quantities during past ages that the 
original source of supply has always been 
a puzzle to geologists. 

It may be seen how vital this problem 
is when it is stated that the amount of 
this essential compound that has been 
withdrawn from the atmosphere and 
stored away in coal and limestone *'is 
about 30,000 times as much as is now 
contained in the atmosphere.*' ^' 

But it is not probable that any such 
quantity of carbon dioxide was present 
at one time in the atmosphere of the 
primeval world. If it were all liberated 

*• Geographical Journal, vol. 20, p. 520, 1902. 
» F. W. Clarke, op. cit. p. 48. 



at once, it would raise the pressure of the 
air to several hundreds of pounds per 
square inch and make impossible the life 
of any such organisms as we are ac- 
quainted with today. No sort of animal 
life can endure even a moderately high 
concentration of carbon dioxide. 

The abundance of animals throughout 
the whole period when carbon was being 
laid away in the rocks indicates a uni- 
formity of conditions throughout geolog- 
ical history and argues against any great 
concentration at the beginning. Indeed, 
it is largely by the activity of organisms 
of one sort or another that all carbon de- 
posits, whether in coal or limestone, were 
produced. 

The facts seem to require us to suppose 
that carbon dioxide has been steadily 
supplied from some source at about the 
same rate at which it was consumed 
throughout the geological ages. No 
terrestrial source other than the gradual 
additions known to be brought in by 
volcanoes has been suggested. 

We do not know the history of vol- 
canic eruptions well enough to enable us 
to be certain whether they have contrib- 
uted enough in the past to have main- 
tained the supply. But we do know 
that the amount of this indispensable 
substance which they bring up from the 
interior of the earth is very great. There 
is no means of estimating how much may 
have been liberated by Katmai. But an 
ordinary quiescent volcano may give oflF 
tremendous quantities. It has been 
stated, for example, that Cotopaxi pours 
forth more carbon dioxide than a city 
like Paris (100 million cubic feet per 
day).2o 

Although our data are not sufficient to 
permit assurance, it is evident that we 
are here dealing with one of the most 
fundamental questions in the whole realm 
of nature and one of extreme importance 
to mankind. In the words of F. W. 
Clarke: 2* ** Obviously, if the volcanic 
hypothesis be true, the cessation of vol- 
canism would signify the end of life on 

^ F. W. Clarke, op. cit. p. 47. 
« Ibid., p. 56. 



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44 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggt 
SLEEK GALLOWAY CATTLE BELONGING TO THE EXPERIMENT STATION AT KODLAK 

After the eruption the station herd had to be taken to "the States*' for the first two years; but 
their pastures made such a remarkable recovery that they were soon returned. A stranger would 
hardly suspect that this country had been buried under a foot of ash only four years previously. 

the globe. It would be followed by the Suggestive as are speculations of this 
consumption of all available carbon diox- nature, their pursuit is beyond the scope 
ide, so that plant life, and consequently of this book. We must return to a con- 
animal life, could no longer be sup- sideration of our specific subject — the 
ported/ ' more immediate effects of the eruption. 



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THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK^ 



The effect of the ash blanket at Kodiak, 
coming as it did just when the plants 
were putting forth their spring growth, 
was to strike down all weaker plants, 
giving "Green Kodiak" the appearance 
of a pine barren devoid of vegetation, ex- 
cept for the trees and bushes which pro- 
truded through the ash uninjured. To 
everyone who visited Kodiak during the 
first two seasons after the eruption, the 
damage done to vegetation seemed ir- 
reparable. 

It was during this period that I first 
saw Kodiak, in June, 1913, almost 
exactly a year after the eruption. It 
was indeed a bleak and desolate prospect. 
Outside the forest the country had the 
appearance of a desert, whose gray- 
brown slopes were relieved only here and 
there by spots of green where some alder 
or willow pierced the ashy blanket 
(see page 22). 

Lupines, fireweeds, and other strong- 
stemmed perennials had, to be sure, come 
up through the ash in places, but they 
were not abundant enough to lend much 
color to the landscape. Within the 
forest the prospect was less desolate. 
Yet even here the undergrowth was gone, 
and the branches were still heavily laden 
and bent down to the ground with ash. 

The officials of the Experiment Station 
and of the Kodiak Baptist Orphanage 
were attempting to grow a crop of oats, 
to provide ensilage enough to keep their 
cattle alive over the winter. We felt it 
our duty to encourage them in this effort, 
but in reality the prospect seemed very 
gloomy. 

I well remember debating with one 
of the citizens whether the country would 
ever come back to its original condition. 

' For a more detailed discussion of this aspect of 
the eruption^ with citations to the literature, the 
reader is referred to a paper by the writer under 
the same title in the series of "Scientific Results 



With the vividness of his memory of 
things as they had been before the erup- 
tion, he was pessimistic; but believing 
that the ash would probably be bene- 
ficial after it was incorporated with the 
soil, I reassured him with the prediction 
that in ten years vegetation would begin 
to come back in some abundance. 

THE REMARKABLE RETURN OF 
VEGETATION 

The recovery of the area was, however, 
extremely rapid. During the second and 
third years the old roots of the stronger- 
growing plants sent up new growth 
through the ash layer in such profusion 
as to upset completely even the most 
optimistic of predictions. 

When I landed in June, 1915, I could 
not, despite the reports I had received, 
believe my eyes. It was not the same 
Kodiak I had left two years before. The 
mountains were everywhere green with 
their original verdure. The character of 
the change is indicated by the picture on 
page 42 better than by any description. 
Where before had been barren ash there 
was now rich grass as high as one's head. 
Everyone agrees that the eruption was 
*'the best thing that ever happened to 
Kodiak." In the words of our hotel 
keeper, "Never was any such grass be- 
fore, so high nor so early. No one ever 
believed that the country could grow so 
many berries nor so large, before the 
ash'* (see page 51). 

I had come to study the revegetation, 
but I found my problem vanished in 
an accomplished fact. The revegetation 
which I had hoped to study at Kodiak 
had given place to a remarkable recovery 
of the antecedent plants, transferring the 
problem of revegetation proper to the 

of the Katmai Expeditions of the National Geo- 
graphic Society,*' Ohio Journal of Science, vol. 
19, pp. 1-57, 1919. 



45 



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46 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
ASH DRIFT LODGED BEHINT) FIREWEEDS 

The drifts have every appearance of snow banks. The fireweed endured such burial for three years, 

but then succumbed. 

more deeply buried country near the cerning the fertility of volcanic soils- 
volcano. Some basic lavas have all the ingredients 

of a rich soil. Some acid rhyolites are 

THE LUXURIANT GROWTH NOT DUE TO ANY , ^ «* j a 

almost as poor as quartz sand. As 

shown by the subjoined analysis, the ash 

There is a widespread idea that the from Katmai is in the latter class.* It 

luxuriance of growth was due to some has in fact practically the composition of 

fertilizer added to the soil by the ash, . 

which stimulated the plants. This is er- rl^"^^/^^ ^jS^t- ^ f'^'^u ^n^^^ 

, t- r •! •! Chemist of Washmgton, for the United States 
roneous. The ash forms as stenle a soil Department of Agriculture. Sample was col- 
as can well be imagined. lected at Kodiak and consisted of all three layers 
The belief that volcanic ash forms mixed so as to give a fair average of the condition 
good fertilizer rests largely on miscon- encountered by plant roots. 

ception. It is commonly supposed that sil^^"(s!o'^/^" 2 '^6'^'' 

all lavas are very much alike. The fer- ^'J^^ ^\^^ (Fe^O,)..'; . . . ^1% 

tility of soils derived from the weathering Manganese oxide (MnO) 0.41 

of basaltic lava flows is well known. It is Titanium oxide (TiOt) trace 

assumed that volcanic ash has the same Alumina (Al»Oj) 13 85 

property. There is, however, a very li""^ ^^^^?xV,w^^ ^!? 

*^ *V J • 'j- ' ' 1 T-u Magnesia (MgO) 0.47 

great diversity in igneous rocks. The g^^ (^^^j 3 86 

content of inert silica may be as much as Potash (KjO) 2 .43 

77.0 per cent or as little as 35.0 per cent. Sulphuric add (SOj) 0.20 

Potash varies from 8.6 per cent to 0.04 Phosphoric acid (P,0,) Q-36 

percent; lime from 15.5 to 0.2 per cent; ^^^^j 101.05% 

phosphoric acid from 2.6 per cent to ^ , ^ ,...,, . ... 

nth tr Remarks: The ash is highly magnetic; in all 

^ J™'^^' . re . probability some of the iron present is magnetic. 

These figures are quite sufficient to of more interest in the present connection is an 

show the fallacy of generalizations con- analysis made by Prof. C. W. Foulk, of the Ohio 



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THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK 



47 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



HORSETAIL SENDING RUNNERS INTO BARE ASH 

This plant has occupied large areas which otherwise would have become dunes of drifting ash. 
importance in the revegetation of the country cannot be overestimated. 



Its 



pulverized granite. And granite noto- 
riously forms a poor soil. 

In order to put the fertility of the ash 
to a practical test, a number of experi- 
ments were set up in which it was used as 
a soil, either alone or in various mixtures. 

One series of these pot cultures is 
shown on page 50. The plants in the 
lower row of glasses were grown in the 
ash ; in the upper row in the purest quartz 
sand. To each series were added ferti- 
lizing salts as indicated by the symbols 
on the labels. Whether in sand or in ash, 
the plants turned red and died of starva- 
tion as soon as the food stored in the seed 
had been consumed, unless they were 
supplied with a complete fertilizer. 

Of the different fertilizer salts, nitrates 
were more beneficial than any others 
used singly. This accords with field 
experience at Kodiak. With the use of 
nitrate fertilizers very fair crops of oats 
were grown for ensilage the first year 
after the eruption. Curiously enough. 

State University, to determine the quantity of 
iK'ater-soluble salts, for plants can use only the 
soluble constituents of the soil. He found the 
available potash (KtO) 0.05 per cent, and the 



it was not possible to duplicate these 
results in succeeding seasons, perhaps 
because the small quantities of other 
essential salts present were leached out of 
the ash during the first year. 

BENEFICIAL EFFECT OF ASH DUE TO ITS 
ACTION AS A MULCH 

The cause of the improvement in the 
vegetation of Kodiak is to be sought not 
in any chemical added to the soil by the 
ash, but in its action as a mulch. 

It destroyed the smaller plants and 
gave the quick-growing species, which 
are of most interest to man, more favor- 
able opportunities for growth than they 
had ever enjoyed under normal condi- 
tions. It helped the surviving plants 
very much as weeding improves a 
garden. 

Probably the most striking example of 
this fact is furnished by the trees, whose 
rate of growth increased remarkably 
after the eruption. A section of a tree 

phosphoric acid he denominated as a "small 
amount." This, according to Professor Foulk, 
was rather more than a trace, yet it was so small 
that it would have been difBcult to weigh it. 



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48 



THE VALLEY OF TEX THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by George C. Martin 
INSPECTING AN EXHUMED GARDEN AFTER THE ERUPTION 

Captain Perry and Mr. Learn of the Kodiak Baptist Orphanage speculating on the possibilities of 
growing vegetables after the eruption. The result may be seen by a comparison with the picture re- 
produced on the opposite page. 



from the ash-covered district pictured on 
page 53 gives clear testimony of the ex- 
tent to which the ashfall bettered grow- 
ing conditions. 

For twenty years this particular tree 
had been struggling along, growing very 
slowly. During all that time it had 
reached a diameter of only 0.6 inch (16 
mm.). Then came the eruption. The 
record of that year appears as a ring of 
extreme thinness, scarcely perceptible in 
the photograph. In 1913 the tree re- 



covered and did a little better than in any 
previous year. But the next year there 
came a great jump. Five times as much 
new wood was produced as before. This 
greatly increased growth continued there- 
after till the tree was cut. In four years, 
it had more than doubled its diameter. 
The trunk selected for figuring was an 
extreme case — a suppressed tree from a 
former bog. Its reaction to the ashfall 
was, however, typical. In habitats orig- 
inally more favorable the percentage of 



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THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK 



49 



Photograph by B. B. Fulton 
THE SAME GARDEN THREE YEARS LATER 
All anxieties concerning the size of the crop have long since vanished. 



increase was naturally not so great; yet 
it is plainly evident in trees from all sorts 
of situations. Trees of all ages and of all 
species were, moreover, similarly affected. 
Even if the ash were rich in fertilizing 
salts, the good it did the trees by destroy- 
ing the grass would probably outweigh 
any possible fertilizing effect. It has 
been shown by experiment * that com- 
petition among closely crowded plants, 
whether of the same sort like the grasses 
of a meadow, or of different sorts like 
trees and undergrowth in a forest, stunts 
growth to a surprising extent. 

' This will be discussed in detail with citations 
to the literature in a special paper devoted to the 
subject. 



Before the ashfall the trees were in the 
condition of an orchard that has been 
allowed to run to grass. Removal of the 
sod from a neglected orchard will often 
more than double the growth. The ash- 
fall had the same effect on these trees 
that cultivation has on an apple orchard. 

REVEGETATION DUE TO RECOVERY OF OLD 
PLANTS 

It was assumed by all who visited 
Kodiak during the first two seasons fol- 
lowing the eruption that the smaller 
plants had been practically exterminated, 
except for the few individuals so situated 
that they could readily grow through the 
ash layer. Consequently, when the re- 



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50 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



SOIL VALUE OF KATMAI ASH AS COMPARED WITH SAND 

Wheat seedlings in the upper row were grown in quartz sand, the lower in ash from Kodiak. The 
pots at the left were untreated. To the others fertilizers were added as indicated by the symbols on 
the labels (N, Nitrogen; K, Potassium; P, Phosphorous). Unless a complete fertilizer was supplied, 
the plants turned red and died when the nutriment stored in the seed had been exhausted. 



markable growth of succeeding seasons 
was observed, it was natural to suppose 
that the new vegetation must consist of 
new plants which had started in the ash 
from seed. 

Field study at once showed this to be 
incorrect. Even the most superficial 
observation indicated that at the begin- 
ning of the fourth season (191 5) there 
were practically no seedlings, most of the 
new plants being directly traceable to the 
old roots. 

An excellent demonstration of this 
fact was furnished by the condition of a 



field on the Frye-Bruhn ranch, south of 
Kodiak, which had been plowed before 
the eruption. Where cultivation had 
destroyed the weeds, no new vegetation 
appeared for five years, but the plants of 
the uncultivated land all around came up 
in undiminished vigor and tx)mpletely 
covered the ground. The contrast be- 
tween the bare field and the luxuriant 
growth surrounding it was conspicuous 
at a distance of five miles (see page 

54). 

Excavation around the underground 
parts of the new vegetation always re- 



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THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK 



51 



Photograph by M. G. Dickman 

A BRANCH OF SALMON-BERRIES, INDICATING THE PROFUSION OF WILD BERRIES AT 

KODIAK SINCE THE ERUPTION 

These berries are somewhat like the persimmon, in that they have an astringent taste that disap- 
pears only when they are dead ripe. They have, however, a distinctive and extremely delicate flavor, 
and when served with sugar and cream equal or surpass any other berry with which the author is 
acquainted. 



vealed its connection with old roots in the 
original soil. 

A number of species of trees and 
shrubs were found to have developed 
striking "two-storied" root systems by 
putting out new roots from their stems 
just below the surface of the ash (see 
page 133). It was noteworthy that the 
new roots were confined to the top of the 
ash. The intermediate zone between 
the surface and the old soil was as bare 
as though still growing in air. 

PLANTS RESURRECTED AFTER THREE 
years' BURIAL 

If the recovery of vegetation had oc- 
curred during the first season after the 
eruption, it would have occasioned no 
particular surprise. It was the delay in 

*For details, see the appropriate technical 
papers in the Scientific Results of the Katmai 



the reappearance of the plants that upset 
all predictions. 

Everyone assumed that only that 
small percentage of the old plants which 
reappeared within a few weeks had sur- 
vived. But, as demonstrated by the 
event, practically all of the members of 
the plant society had the capacity of re- 
covering after having lain dormant be- 
neath the ash for an astonishingly long 
period. 

Both at Kodiak and on the mainland 
it was proved beyond question* that the 
old roots could send up new growth after 
a period of enforced dormancy of three 
years. In a number of cases, where 
there could be no doubt as to the dura- 
tion of the dormant period, the new 
growth was as vigorous as though it had 

Expeditions, Ohio Journal of Science, vol. 19, pp. 
32. 195. 



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52 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by Robert F. Griggs 
WHERE NO PLANTS COULD COME THROUGH ON 
THE LEVEL 

Horsetail sometimes penetrated the reduced thickness of 
ash in the bottoms of the gullies. 



been buried only a week or two (see 
also page 153). 

The bulk of the vegetation that 
wrought such a change in the appearance 
of Kodiak after two years consisted of the 
same species of strong-growing plants that 
had appeared from the first in smaller 
numbers. After these had reappeared in 
full force a number of the smaller plants, 
such as the little ''Kostinika" berry 
(Rubus pedatus), the baked-apple berry 
{Rubus chamaemorus), and the mountain 
cranberry {Vitis-Idaea) , also began to 
grow up from the old roots, under con- 
ditions that made it certain that they 
had lain dormant through the interim. 

SEEDLINGS SLOW TO START 

These luxuriant hold-over plants stand 
in strong contrast to the feeble seedlings 



which in places came up in the 
ash. At the Experimental Farm 
at Kalsin Bay a plot was seeded 
down with timothy soon after the 
eruption. Although the seeds 
had sprouted well and given a 100 
per cent stand, the plants were 
mostly only about 3 inches tall 
at the end of three years (see 
page 54). The contrast between 
this grass and that shown on page 
42, which in places penetrated 20 
inches of ash, requires no com- 
ment. 

THE SAND BLAST 

The importance of surviving 
plants in the re vegetation of 
Kodiak cannot be overestimated. 
Where there was no plant cover 
to protect the surface of the 
ground, the loose ash was picked 
up in clouds by every passing 
wind, forming a sand blast that 
was very hard on the plants ex- 
posed to it. All of them were 
lopped over before the wind, and 
their lower leaves were either cut 
to pieces by the sharp sand or 
buried beneath it (see pages 46 
and 59). 

The particles of ash are all very 
sharp, sharper than ordinary sand. In- 
deed, volcanic ash forms thd basis of nu- 
merous commercial scouring agents. The 
ash is also finer and much lighter than 
shore sand, and it is more easily carried 
by the wind. Consequently, this sand 
blast is a very different thing from the 
drifting sand common among beach 
dunes. 

One might suppose that the frequent 
rains which characterize the climate of 
the region would hold the sand blast in 
check, but it is surprising how quickly it 
starts again after the rain stops. We 
found that after a day of soaking rain the 
sand was blowing early the next morn- 
ing, although only the very surface had 
dried off. 

This blowing .ash lodged behind any 
obstruction, like snow. Among the 



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THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK 



53 



weeds at the edge of cultivated fields and 
along the fence rows, drifts two feet deep 
were formed. On mountain tops and in 
other places where there was no vegeta- 
tion to catch the ash, it formed dunes 
like those on a seashore (see page 59). 

One could see no prospect of revegeta- 
tion in such situations until the ash sur- 
face should become stable enougli neither 
to bury the young plants before they 
were well started nor to blow away the 
soil and expose their roots. 

IMPORTANCE OF HORSETAIL AS A SOIL 
BINDER 

It was of the utmost importance that 
the ground be covered with vegetation, 
regardless of the value of the plants 
making the cover. 

Of all the native plants the one which 
could grow through the deepest ash and, 
once through, spread most rapidly on the 
bare surface was the field horsetail 
{Equisetum arvense). This is a common 
weed of railway embankments and like 
places in the United States. In Kodiak 
scattered individuals were frequent be- 
fore the eruption, though they formed no 
noticeable element in the landscape. 
But it has come up everywhere through 
the ash and has spread out on the surface, 
forming in many places a beautiful 
greensward, where hardly anything else 
could come through. 

Its present abundance contrasts so 
greatly with its former state that, ac- 
cording to Mr. Snodgrass of the Experi- 
ment Station, some of the natives thought 
it must have '*come with the ash," and 
could only be convinced to the contrary 
when he dug out the rootstocks and 
showed that they originated in the old 
soil beneath the ash. 

A deposit of 10 or 12 inches would 
have been fatal to most plants, if it had 
not been for the contraction cracks in the 
ash; yet the horsetail in many places 
came through from 30 to 36 inches of ash ! 
This was especially well shown in the 
deep deposits on the mainland, where, 
with the ash four or five feet deep, nothing 
at all could come through on the level; 



THE EFFECT OF THE ASHFALL ON TREE 
GROWTH 

The slow gro^'th before the eruption is recorded 
in the thin central rings. The great increase in 
vigor since the ashfall is registered by the hea\'y 
outer rings. Twice natural size (see text p. 48). 

but little gullies in the ash were green 
with a carpet of horsetail (see picture 
opposite). 

The description given thus far applies 
largely to the open country. In the 
forest the thick trees greatly modified 
conditions by protecting the soil from the 
wind and increasing the humidity of the 
air. Their branches still retain a good 
deal of ash in places (see p. 28). 

In the deepest, most humid parts of 
the forest great masses of moss grew 
on the branches. These have since 
grown out through the ash and consoli- 
dated it into heavy balls, which give 
the trees a very bizarre appearance (see 
page 38). 

THE NETWORK OF MOSS ON THE FOREST 
FLOOR 

More striking than anything in the 
trees, however, was a remarkable net- 
work of moss which developed on the 
forest floor. When the ash dried up 
after the heavy rains following the erup- 
tion, deep cracks appeared, like the mud 
cracks in a dried puddle (see page 58). 

The cracks were, of course, quickly 



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54 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

A PLOWED FIELD, PART OF WHICH WAS CULTIVATED JUST BEFORE THE ERUPTION 

New plants were unable to start in place of the weeds destroyed by cultivation — ^illustrating the 

importance of residual vegetation. 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
A TIMOTHY PLAT THREE YEARS OLD 

Sowed in the ash soon after the eruption, the seed came up well and most of the plants are still alive 
but have made no growth. Contrast with the grass come up from old roots, shown on page 42. 



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THE RECOVERY OF VEGETATION AT KODIAK 



55 



filled up by drifting ash, but their posi- 
tion was preserved by a heavy growth of 
moss, which formed a most curious net- 
work all over the ground. The micro- 
scopic spores carried by the wind had 
settled into the cracks. The same moss 
was to be found around fallen sticks or 
other objects that would catch wind- 
borne spores. 

SEEDLINGS OF ALL SORTS STARTED IN 
THE FOREST 

In the forest the trees protected the 
ground from the wind, and insured a 
stable surface on which new plants could 
start. It was several years after the 
eruption, however, before seedlings made 
their appearance in any numbers, even in 
the most protected situations. None 
were observed in 191 3, and in the begin- 
ning of the season of 1915 they were few 
and far between. 

But during the latter part of 19 15 they 
began to appear in numbers. The seed- 
lings included representatives of all the 
important members of the flora. Al- 
though they grew very slowly, still they 
persisted, and some of them survived the 
winter. 

But seedlings had assumed no im- 
portant place in the vegetation even five 
years after the eruption. 

It is already clear that the recovery at 
Kodiak is permanent. For with the 
demonstration that seedlings can start in 
the ash, it is evident that any gaps which 
may develop in the ranks of the old vege- 
tation will be filled promptly by new 
plants starting from seed. 

The unstable conditions caused by the 
shifting sand will be, for the most part, of 
short duration. Where the ash layer 
was only a foot thick originally it will 
not require a very long period for the 
wind to remove the whole deposit. 

Indeed, in many exposed situations 
the ash is already completely gone. 
And in any case, it will be only a few 
years before the larger part of the ash 
from the mountains has been blown out 
to sea. Even on the level some places 
have already been nearly cleared. Thus 



the field at the Frye-Bruhn ranch, pre- 
viously spoken of, retains at present only 
enough ash to veil the black soil be- 
neath, and the sand blast is almost a 
thing of the past. 

In places sheltered from the wind, 
erosion by water has proceeded rapidly, 
and where the land is even moderately 
steep, nearly all the ash has been washed 
away. On the average grass-covered 
mountain sides, the present covering of 
ash amounts to only an inch or two and 
this is so mixed with plant stems and 
roots as to form a very indefinite layer. 
By 1919 it appeared almost incredible to 
a stranger that the ash had stood a foot 
deep only seven years before. 

EARTHWORMS WORKING OVER ASH 

Another factor which is tending to 
destroy the identity of the ash as a 
separate layer is the action of earth- 
worms. Ever since the classic researches 
of Charles Darwin it has been recognized 
that the constant working over of the 
soil by these creatures is of great impor- 
tance, by reason of the continual additions 
of new material which they bring up 
from below and void on the surface. 

At Kodiak their castings are abundant 
on the ash surface. From the character 
of the castings it would appear that the 
worms are confining their activity largely 
to the ash itself; but, even so, their action 
will serve to bury increasing quantities 
of vegetable debris. And where they 
bring up the old soil from beneath the 
ash, they will thoroughly mix ash and 
soil till the ash layer becomes hardly 
recognizable. 

On the whole, we must recognize that 
the experience of Kodiak is decidedly re- 
assuring. The damage to vegetation by 
an eruption is not likely to be so great as 
at first appears. Where the ashfall is a 
foot or less in thickness, no permanent 
injury to agricultural interests is to be 
expected. There is no occasion for the 
people in a region similarly affected to 
abandon their property and go else- 
where, as some were inclined to do at 
Kodiak. 



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VI 



THE ALASKAN VOLCANOES 



The eruption of Katmai was not ac- 
companied, as some eruptions have been, 
by other sympathetic activity at a dis- 
tance from the main focus. Yet it 
should be recognized that Katmai is not 
an isolated vent but one member of a 
long chain. In a larger view the chain 
itself is a single unit whose uplifting 
and activities are the expression of a set 
of fundamental stresses that have devel- 
oped deep down within the earth's inte- 
rior. Any particular eruption is, there- 
fore, only a trivial incident in the drama. 

Nothing could be more fascinating 
than to unravel the history and discuss 
the forces underlying the formation of 
volcanic chains. But that would carry 
us too far afield. Nor do we possess the 
knowledge requisite for the purpose. 
Yet we cannot properly take up the 
problem of Katmai without giving some 
idea of its setting and of the Asiatic vol- 
canic complex of which it is a part, for, 
as will appear, the relations of the Alas- 
kan volcanoes are not American but 
Asiatic. 

It should be observed that all the vol- 
canoes of Alaska except two ^ belong to 
the Aleutian chain. This, although 
reaching many miles into the mass of the 
American continent, has an unmistak- 
able affinity with the Asiatic volcanic 
belts, while it shows no connection with 
other American volcanoes. 

THE VOLCANIC FESTOONS OF ASIA 

An examination of eastern Asia (see 
map opposite) reveals a very curious 
succession of volcanic chains stretching 
down the coast, like a series of garlands 
draped along the edge of the continent. 
Each member of the series is a gigantic 

* Mt. Wrangell in the interior and Mt. Edge- 
cumbe near Sitka. 

* The data concerning these volcanic festoons 
and the structure lines are largely summarized 



crescent, convex toward the ocean. 
Each trends southwesterly, beginning 
with a southerly course and bending to- 
ward the west as it continues along the 
coast. Each joins the next lower seg- 
ment approximately at right angles. The 
crescentic arrangement recurs with re- 
markable regularity five times in a series 
of arcs stretching from Alaska to Suma- 
tra.2 

Directly in line with the prolongation 
of the Aleutian chain are the Command- 
er Islands (volcanic, though without any 
modern vents), carrying our chain, the 
first arc of the series, over to the shores of 
Kamchatka, where it meets the second 
crescent, a line of very lofty and notable 
volcanoes running down through the 
Kuril Islands into northern Japan. 

The third member of the series begins 
with the Island of Rishiri, in northern 
Japan (with a theoretical extension 
northward on a great fault along Sakha- 
lin Island), and stretches south and south- 
west to the western extremity of the 
Japanese Islands, where, like the Aleu- 
tian and Kuril chains, it meets the next 
member of the series nearly at right 
angles. 

The only break in the regularity of 
these festoons of volcanoes occurs in this 
Japanese arc, which is intersected in the 
middle by the great transverse fault of 
Central Japan, along which an inde- 
pendent series of volcanoes, including 
the celebrated Fujiyama, stretches out 
at right angles toward the Bonin Islands 
far to the south. The general relations 
of this chain suggest that it is a member 
of the same series of festoons as the 
others, but it appears to end in deep 
water, without curving around to join 
the next at its southern extremity. 

from Hobbs* reviews of the work of Suess and 
Richtofen. See American Geologist, vol. 34, p. 
69, 1904. 



57 



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58 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by B. B. Fulton 
THE MESH WORK OF MOSS ON THE FOREST FLOOR 
Perpetuating the position of the contraction cracks, see page 22 and text page 53. 



The volcanoes of southern Japan are 
developed along a fourth great line of 
weakness, which comes down the east 
coast of Korea and curves around 
through the Lu-Chu Islands to northern 
Formosa. Here again a fifth curving 
line of volcanoes, also convex seaward, 
carries the system through the Philip- 
pines and Borneo into the great volcanic 
complex of the East Indies. 

REMARKABLE PARALLELISM OF VOLCANIC 
ARCS 

Not only is there a striking similarity 
in the general position of these volcanic 
festoons, but there is a very interesting 
parallelism, perhaps only accidental, but 
none the less remarkable, between the 
physiographic features of the several 
units. 

In each case the crescent shuts off a 
considerable sea. Nowhere else in the 
world is there anything to be compared 
with the series of enclosed basins con- 



sisting of Bering Sea, Okhotsk Sea, 
Japan Sea, Eastern Sea (Tunghai), and 
China Sea. 

The parallelism is further emphasized 
by the remarkable fact that in three of 
the five arcs the northeastern end con- 
sists of a large peninsula — the Alaska 
Peninsula, Kamchatka, and Korea — 
while the distal portion is made up of a 
narrow chain of small islands — the 
Aleutians, Kurils, and Lu-Chu Islands. 

It is of great interest to observe further 
that the coastal region of Asia is cut off 
from the interior by two older series of 
similar crescents stretching from the 
Arctic into Central Asia. The two arcs of 
the Stanovoi Mountains and the Great 
Khingan Mountains are conspicuous even 
on ordinary political maps of Asia. Far- 
ther south are four other crescents, not so 
readily traced in the atlases because of the 
rugged character of the country they 
traverse. Theirposition as delineated by 
Hobbs is shown on the accompanying 



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THE ALASKAN VOLCANOES 



59 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

A DUNE OF WIND-BLOWN ASH: WOMEN'S PENINSULA, NEAR KODIAK 

This blowing ash lodged behind any obstruction, like snow. Among the weeds at the edge of cul- 
tivated fields and along the fence rows drifts two feet deep were formed. On mountain tops and 
in other places where there was no vegetation to catch the blowing ash it formed dunes like those on 
a seashore. 



map (facing page 56). Between these 
and the island festoons is another in- 
complete series along the coast line. 

A study of Eastern Asia discloses the 
fact that the same type of fractures has 
dominated cnistal deformation through- 
out the area since the beginning of the 
geologic record. 

The inner crescents are not at present 
the seat of active volcanism, but it can 
hardly be doubted that their formation is 
due to the same cause as the volcanic 
festoons along the coast. The regular 
repetition of such striking lines of cres- 
centic fractures over so large a segment 
of the earth's crust cannot be thought of 
as accidental. The cause responsible 
for such great and long continued move- 
ments must indeed be very deep-seated, 
inherent in the very constitution of the 
globe. 



The fundamental character of the 
forces which fix the location of the lines 
of volcanoes is emphasized by the fact 
that the course of the volcanic chains 
shows in places a complete independence 
of all surface features of the earth's to- 
pography. 

ALEUTIAN CHAIN CUTS ACROSS CONTI- 
NENTAL AREAS AND OCEAN DEEPS 

The Aleutian chain in particular holds 
its course through continental strata and 
across ocean deeps with a constancy that 
is very significant. 

The northern end of the chain parallels 
the Chigmit Mountains, a much crumpled 
mountain system of typical character. 
Beyond this, in the Katmai district, the 
volcanoes are built up on a thick plat- 
form of sedimentary rocks, whose strata 
lie almost as they were laid down on the 



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THE ALASKAN VOLCANOES 



6l 



shallow sea bottom, having been raised 
above sea-level with scarcely any de- 
formation. This whole area, both the 
folded mountains and the eroded plateau 
of our district, lies in a distinctly conti- 
nental region, for Cook Inlet and the 
waters around Kodiak are notably shal- 
low, forming in fact considerable banks, 
like the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. 

In the strongest possible contrast to 
this is the line of islands which stretches 
500 miles beyond the tip of the penin- 
sula. These are the crest of a very steep- 
sided ridge rising directly out of water 
more than a mile deep. Indeed, the 
ridge between the thousand fathom 
marks averages only about 90 miles wide. 

Only a few miles south of the islands 
lies one of the deepest depressions on the 
ocean floor, a narrow groove running 
closely parallel to the course of the vol- 
canoes. Within a hundred miles of 
peaks whose heights exceed 8,000 feet, 
soundings of more than 24,000 feet have 
been made. Here is one of the greatest 
contrasts in elevation on the whole globe. 

The basin of the Bering Sea on the 
north is not so much depressed, yet the 
depth attained here also is more than 
12,000 feet, — ^as great as the average 
ocean depth. There can be no doubt, 
therefore, that the Aleutians stretch out 
into a truly oceanic basin. 

VOLCANIC CHAINS AMONG THE MOST 
FUNDAMENTAL FEATURES OF THE GLOBE 

It is unnecessary to point out the sig- 
nificance of this fact, for as is well known 
the dogma of the "permanence of ocean 
basins and continental masses" has been 
one of the most universally accepted 
dicta of geology for fifty years, and an 
inspection of a physical map of the world 
makes it evident enough that most of the 
larger structural features of the globe 
parallel the boundary of ocean and conti- 
nent. 

It is not only unusual but significant 
for the Aleutian axis, starting in the in- 
terior of the continental mass, to reach 

• Martin and Katz, U. S. Geological Survey 
Bull. 485, p. 94, 1912. 



out into the ocean deeps. That the line 
of volcanoes should continue its course 
straight through such diverse features as 
folded mountains, elevated plateaus, con- 
tinental shelves, and ocean deeps, sug- 
gests that the causes underlying its 
formation are among the most funda- 
mental of terrestial forces. 

The Aleutian chain is one of the 
longest and straightest single lines of 
volcanoes on the globe. Although situ- 
ated in a sparsely settled region where 
few records of eruptions have been pre- 
served, ent)ugh is known to demonstrate 
that it is likewise one of the most active 
of volcanic belts. 

But many of its peaks are so little 
known that it is impossible to ascertain 
whether or jiot they are volcanoes or com- 
posed of volcanic rocks. Even the geo- 
graphical position of some of them is un- 
certain to the extent of several miles. 
It was discovered in 1920, for example, 
that the charted position of Bogoslof, 
one of the best known vents, was in error 
by six miles. 

Beginning near the head of the Cook 
Inlet, the active vents in the Aleutian 
chain stretch out in a southwesterly di- 
rection for more than 1,200 miles. There 
is not space for any detailed account of 
the 50 or 60 volcanoes which compose 
this long chain. All that can be done is 
to single out for brief comment a few of 
the more noteworthy of them (see map 
opposite). 

Everyone who enters Cook Inlet has 
occasion to admire the great snowy cones 
of Redoubt and Iliamna, each standing 
more than 10,000 feet above the water. 

The perfection of their conical forms 
is evidence enough that neither has ever 
suffered a great eruption, yet both have 
at different times showered the country 
with ashes for many miles round about. 

On January 18, 1902, an eruption of 
Redoubt which "sent showers of dust 
over the country from Lake Clark to the 
Squentna Valley." ' It has been stated^ 
that Iliamna was the source of half an 

* Davidson, George, Science, vol. 3, p. 286, 
1884. 



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62 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph from Geo. C. Martin, by J. E. Thwaites 

ISANOTSKY PEAKS, UNIMAK ISLAND 

So many craters occur on Unimak Island that there is much confusion as to the location of the 
various eruptions reported. Isanotslcy is credited with a violent eruption within the last century, 
but there is no confirmation. Its appearance suggests a long period of erosion rather than frequent 
activity. 



inch of ash which fell atKodiak in March, 
1867, but there is otherwise no record of 
this eruption. 

THE EXPLOSION OF AUGUSTINE VOLCANO 

Augustine Volcano affords a good ex- 
ample of what happens to a volcano in a 
moderately violent eruption. Captain 
Cook and others of the early explorers 
describe it as a perfect cone, presenting 
nearly the same appearance from every 
point of view. 

But some years ago its top blew off, 
leaving behind a great cavity with a 
jagged rim, resembling, on a small scale 
the crater of Katmai (see page 60). 
This eruption was described by David- 
son as follows: ^ 

"About eight o'clock of the morning 
of October 6, 1883, the weather being 
beautifully clear and the wind light from 
the southwestward (compass), and the 
tide at dead low water, the settlers and 
fishing parties at English Harbor [Port 
Graham] (on the Eastern Shore of Cook 
Inlet) heard a heavy report to windward 
. . . when the heavy explosion was 
heard vast and dense columns of smoke 
were seen rolling out of the summit of St. 



Augustine. . . . Fine pumice dust 
soon began to fall. . . . 

** Twenty-five minutes after the great 
eruption a great 'earthquake wave* es- 
timated as from twenty-five to thirty 
feet high came upon Port Graham like a 
wall of water. It carried off all the fish- 
ing boats from the point and deluged the 
houses. This was followed at intervals 
of about five minutes by two other large 
waves estimated at eighteen and fifteen 
feet ; and during the day several large and 
irregular waves came into the harbor. 
The first wave took all the boats into the 
harbor, the receding wave swept them 
back again to the inlet and they were 
finally stranded. Fortunately it was low 
water or all the people at the settlement 
must inevitably have been lost. The 
tides rise and fall about fourteen feet." 

For several months *' flames*' could be 
seen issuing from the summit from a dis- 
tance of 50 to 60 miles at night, while 
vast columns of smoke appeared by day. 

THE VOLCANOES OF UNIMAK, SHISHALDIN, 
AND POGROMNI 

Unimak Island, at the end of the pen- 
insula, is a focus of volcanic activity 



' Science, vol. 3, p. 186, 1884. 



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THE ALASKAN VOLCANOES 



63 



Photo and copyright by J. E. Thwaites 

POGROMNI VOLCANO STANDING SENTINEL OVER UNIMAK PASS 

Pogromni is said to have "burst" in 1795. Other violent eruptions are reported in the years 1827 

to 1830. 



little inferior to the Katmai district. 
Grewingk's map shows no less than 
eleven craters within its comparatively 
narrow limits. Because of the multi- 
plicity of vents there is much uncertainty 
as to which ones were concerned in the 
numerous eruptions recorded. 

The two best known peaks are Pog- 
romni on the west and Shishaldin on the 
east. The latter is one of the most 
perfect cones in the world, seeming to 
float high above the cloud-girt base, 
recognized by all who have seen its white 
symmetry as a formidable rival of the 
celebrated Fujiyama. 

THE BIRTH OF A NEW ISLAND, BOGOSLOF 

One of the most interesting members 
of this chain, and indeed one of the most 
remarkable volcanoes in the world, is 
Bogoslof , which lies about 40 miles north- 
west of Unalaska. Here in 1796, a new 
volcano suddenly appeared above the 
surface of the ocean. In 1883 another 
eruption occurred and a companion was 
bom, which was named Grewingk in 
honor of the great authority on the early 
history of Alaskan volcanoes. 

Since the first advent of the white man, 



the locality had been marked by a single 
pinnacle, doubtless the remnant of an 
earlier eruption, known as Ship Rock, 
standing high out of the water. Captain 
Cook sailed close to it on October 29, 
1779. 

In March, 1906, activity was resumed 
on a grand scale and two new peaks were 
succe^ively pushed up in the general 
position formerly occupied by Ship Rock. 
These were so close together that the 
first, Metcalf Peak, was half destroyed 
by the rise of the second, McCulloch 
Peak. 

"It would be difficult to imagine a more 
extraordinary spectacle"* than that pre- 
sented by the island at this time. "As 
a land mass above tide water it was a 
continuous island about two miles long 
with the two new steaming cones in the 
middle. . . . Grewingk, flat-topped 
and cliff -encompassed, guards the north 
end of the island, while Castle Rock 
[old Bogoslof], pinnacled and jagged, 
rises in the south." 

McCulloch Peak between these two 
was cone-shaped, nearly 450 feet high, 
and appeared like a steaming heap of 
bowlders. The top was flattish but 



•Quoted from Jaggar, Bull. American Geographical Society, vol. 40: pp. 385-400, 1908. 



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THE ALASKAN VOLCANOES 



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lumpy, made of hard rock and without a 

crater. It was nearly enclosed by a 

sickle-shaped lagoon of hot salt water 

(temperature 90®). 

If the loose stones ** could have been 

washed away the rock core would have 

looked like a gigantic potato lifting its 

limipy protuberances above the waves. 
>> 

EXPLOSIONS OF THE PEAKS OF BOGOSLOF 

On September i, 1907, about six 
months after the discovery of McCulloch 
Peak, the inhabitants of Unalaska saw a 
dense black cloud rising in the west, and 
the air was full of sulphur fumes, fol- 
lowed by rain and distant rumbling. Ash 
and sand descended on the town in the 
evening to the depth of a quarter of an 
inch. When Bogoslof was visited on 
October 15 it was found that ''Mc- 
Culloch Peak was absolutely gone, a 
steaming lagoon in its place and the 
rest of the island piled high with fallen 
debris." 

The half of Metcalf Peak was still 
"standing in grim silence as a headstone 
at the grave of the departed peak." 
"The lagoon where McCulloch Peak had 
been was a deep bay open to the west, 
half a mile in diameter, with steam ris- 
ing in considerable quantities from the 
surface of the water.'* 

Renewed activity in the bay between 
Castle Rock and Grewingk is reported in 
September, 1909, and in June, 1910, it 
was found that a new peak with two 
summits held risen to a height of 178 
feet in the center of the island. 

On September 18 of that year the 
Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, which hap- 
pened to be in the vicinity, reported : 

"Forked lightning in the direction of 
Bogoslof was seen before daylight, and 
when Bogoslof was sighted the new cen- 
tral peak was seen to be in a state of 
eruption. Immense clouds of vapor, 



smoke, and ashes issued from the peak, 
and enveloped the entire island. Flames 
were reported at the peak, and lightning 
followed by thunder appeared in the 
cauliflower cloud of smoke and volcanic 
dust which rose to a height of several 
thousand feet above the island. The 
eruption lasted during the several hours 
the steamer remained in the vicinity and 
two days later the central peak was ob- 
served to be still steaming.** ^ 

From that time until the present the 
activity has gradually subsided. The 
cutter McCulloch reported a hot pond as 
late as 1916, but when visited by the 
cutter Boihwell August 9, 1920, the rocks 
and water were all cold. Considerable 
changes in the configuration of the island, 
probably due entirely to erosion, had 
occurred, however. 

No man may predict how long the 
present quiescent condition will continue 
on Bogoslof. From past experience it is 
evident that a new upheaval is likely to 
occur at any time. 

It is more probable, however, that the 
next great eruption will come not from 
Bogoslof or Katmai but from some one of 
half a hundred unknown peaks. The 
history of other regions shows that most 
of the great eruptions have come from a 
reawakening of vents that previously 
had attracted little attention, many of 
them being considered extinct. 

Among the Aleutian volcanoes, where 
only the most conspicuous and readily 
accessible peaks are known, it is evident 
that the probability of an eruption from 
an unknown volcano is much greater 
than in most regions. 

It is very much to be hoped that before 
the next great eruption occurs the Aleu- 
tian region will have been studied suffi- 
ciently to give us definite knowledge 
of antecedent conditions — information 
which is sadly lacking in the case of 
Katmai. 



' Quoted from Sidney Powers, Geographical Review, vol. 2, pp. 218-221, 1916. 

As this goes to press, R. H, Sargent and W, R. Smith, of the Geological Survey, re- 
port the discovery on the Alaska Peninstda of a gigantic crater six miles across, similar 
to the basin of Crater Lake in Oregon, 

6 



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VII 



CARRYING THE WORK INTO THE VOLCANIC AREA; 

PRELIMINARY ACCOUNTS OF GEOGRAPHY, 

CHRONOLOGY, AND PERSONNEL 



Although the great distance at which 
the eruption was felt gives a vivid con- 
ception of the tremendous forces in- 
volved, the narrative of the effects of the 
ashfall at Kodiak and elsewhere leaves 
us without much idea either of the vol- 
cano itself or of the succession of events 
during the outbreak. 

The knowledge that the eruption was 
of the first magnitude naturally aroused 
a desire to learn more about the volcano 
from which the ashes had come, and to 
find out something of the nature of the 
forces that had broken loose or, at least, 
to ascertain their effect on the country 
immediately surrounding the vent. 

The Katmai volcanic district is so re- 
mote from the conveniences of civiliza- 
tion that its exploration involved 
considerable difficulties. Comfortable 
ocean steamers carry one cis far as Kodiak, 
and there one finds boarding-houses and 
well-stocked stores. But from thatpoint 
forward it is necessary to charter a boat 
and to provide all supplies, for the 
country is an uninhabited wilderness 
affording the explorer only water and 
fuel. 

DANGERS OF NAVIGATION IN THE DISTRICT 

From the time we set sail, the enter- 
prise presented serious obstacles. The 
waters around the Kodiak Islands are 
very difficult to travel. The coast is not 
only imperfectly charted but has many 
reefs and outlying rocks, which compel 
the utmost vigilance on the part of the 
mariner. The narrow channels are, 
moreover, full of heavy tide-rips and the 
region is subject to fogs, which render 
navigation unusually hazardous. 

Shelikof Strait, which separates the 
islands from the Alaska Peninsula, has 



67 



an especially bad reputation, being 
counted one of the most treacherous 
bodies of water in the world. 

Some of our experiences fully justified 
the worst that could be said of it. Three 
separate times during the expeditions a 
gale, descending without warning from 
the most promising skies, caught us as we 
were in the midst of loading our supplies 
and came near putting an end to our 
work. 

GENERAL SKETCH OF THE GEOGRAPHIC 
FEATURES OF THE KATMAI DISTRICT 

Before proceeding to a circumstantial 
account of the changes wrought in the 
volcanic area, and its many phases of 
unique interest — the immense deposits 
of ash, the dead forests, the great land- 
slides, the tremendous flood, the in- 
numerable f umaroles — it will be desirable 
to sketch some of the more prominent 
topographic features of the district. 
This will help us keep our bearings as we 
deal with details, now here, now there. 
It will best serve our purpose if we can 
imagine ourselves viewing the country 
from an airplane skimming over its 
surface. 

The dominant feature of the region in 
point of altitude is the line of old vol- 
canoes running from northeast to south- 
west and dividing the drainage of the 
Pacific Slope from that of Bering Sea. 
The volcanoes are not, however, the most 
striking feature of the district. 

The attention of an observer in an air- 
plane would first be attracted by several 
large open valleys in a country otherwise 
covered with rugged mountains. The 
most prominent of these is the broad flat 
of Katmai River, stretching back north- 
westward at right angles to the coast for 



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GEOGRAPHY, CHRONOLOGY AND PERSONNEL 



69 



20 miles and furnishing a sea-level route 
into the very heart of the mountains. 

This valley hcis two important tribu- 
taries, one coming from the northeast, 
the other from the west. Soluka Valley, 
on the northeast, connects by a low pass 
with Geographic Harbor at the head of 
Amalik Bay. Martin Valley in the 
west, extending up to the foot of the vol- 
cano from which it takes its name, is oc- 
cupied by the detritus of the great land- 
slide which forms the subject of Chapter 
XI (see map in back cover). 

Katmai River is, further, the dividing 
line between two types of physiography 
which differ notably from each other. 
To the south is an open country with 
broad valleys and mountains of the mesa 
type — a country readily traversed in any 
direction. On the north the valleys are 
narrow V*s, crowded in between close-set, 
precipitous mountains — a. country of 
great scenic beauty, but difficult to ex- 
plore. 

Although six miles wide at its mouth, 
Katmai Valley narrows rapidly up- 
stream, until, under Katmai Volcano, 
less than 25 miles from the coast, it is 
constricted into a narrow canyon 4,000 
feet deep. 

Beyond the volcano it expands again, 
however, into a second, broad, open 
basin. But this Second Katmai Valley 
trends at right angles to the lower flat, 
giving the impression that its drainage 
has not always found outlet through the 
canyon (see map opposite). 

Connecting with Katmai Valley, 
through the pass of the same name, is 
another very wide basin, now the main 
arm of the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes, stretching at right angles to the 
volcanic axis from Mageik ^ Volcano 
northward to the head of Naknek ^ Lake. 
Curiously enough, this is crossed by the 
broad valley of Knife Creek, also full of 
fumaroles in its upper end, the two form- 
ing a gigantic X which connects the two 
ends of Iliuk Arm of Naknek Lake with 
the two dominant volcanoes of the main 
chain, Katmai and Mageik. 
* Pronounced Ma-ge€k' — g hard as in get. 



Indeed Katmai and Mageik may al- 
most be thought of as standing athwart 
these great valleys. The two parts of 
Katmai Valley can, without any great 
stretch of the imagination, be considered 
as the extensions of the two arms of the 
great X-shaped valley across the range. 
The Second Katmai Valley appears al- 
most like the extension of Knife Creek 
Valley projected beyond Mount Katmai, 
and the lower Katmai Valley bears a 
somewhat similar relation to the main 
arm of the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes. The alignment in the latter 
case is not so close, but these two are 
brought more nearly into physical con- 
nection by the pass which joins them. 

Katmai Pass is the key to the former 
geographic importance of the district. 
Joining two open valleys, it formed an 
easy avenue for passage through a 
mountainous country difficult of pene- 
tration elsewhere. This route across the 
peninsula, saving a thousand miles of 
hazardous voyage into Bering Sea, was 
much used for the transfer of supplies. 

To the north of the volcanic area lies a 
wide stretch of country occupied by alter- 
nating series of mountain ranges and 
broad depressions scooped out several 
hundred feet below the level of the sea. 
These are filled with a number of large 
lakes, which, with the portages between 
them, allow ready access to any part of 
this section. 

GEOGRAPHIC ORDER ADOPTED IN PREFER- 
ENCE TO CHRONOLOGICAL 

The features of the Katmai district 
were so manifold, as they gradually came 
to light during the progress of the explo- 
ration, that it was necessary for the Na- 
tional Geographic Society to send no less 
than five expeditions into the country be- 
fore even a preliminary account of its 
phenomena could be sketched with any 
degree of completeness. 

In bringing together the accumulated 
results of these expeditions, it would 
be manifestly confusing to narrate the 
chronological development of work cov- 

' Pronounced Nik'-nftk. 



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GEOGRAPHY, CHROxNOLOGY AND PERSONNEL 



71 



ering somewhat the same area year by 
year. It has seemed better, rather, to 
follow a geographical sequence, carrying 
the description up Katmai Valley, across 
the Pass into the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes, and finally into the forested 
country around the lakes. 

It is recognized that in thus piecing 
together the experiences of different 
seasons some confusion as to the activi- 
ties of the various expeditions is likely to 
develop in the mind of the reader. In 
order to permit the historical develop- 
ment of the work to be followed it will be 
well, therefore, to summarize at the out- 
set the personnel and results of each of 
the expeditions in turn. 

PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO REACH THE 
CRATER 

Before 191 5 only two parties had at- 
tempted any exploration of the main- 
land. Dr. George C. Martin, gathering 
material for his account of the eruption 
published in the National Geographic 
Magazine of February, 1913, landed at 
Katmai Village in August, 1912, but was 
unable to penetrate inland or to see the 
volcano. 

In 1913, William A. Hesse, of Cordova, 
accompanied by M. A. Horner, of Sew- 
ard, attracted by the possibility of 
securing motion pictures of the volcano, 
endeavored to reach the crater. They 
were not adequately equipped for the 
undertaking, but after suffering great 
hardships they managed to secure good 
photographs of Mount Martin. Post- 
cards from their negatives, labelled 
** Katmai Volcano,** are still for sale in 
Seward. 

Hesse and Horner themselves had, 
however, no illusions as to the identity 
of the volcano they had ascended. Both 
have told me that they saw and recog- 
nized the real Katmai from a distance 
but were utterly unable to reach it. As 
it was, they told me, they traveled con- 
tinuously for twenty-three hours the day 
they made their ascent of Martin. 

They agree that they were able to 
reach only the edge of the volcanic 



district; that if they could have gone 
farther they would have seen '*much 
more than they did.** 

They gave no clear account of what 
they had seen in the distance, but as a 
part of the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes is visible from the summit of 
Mount Martin I am satisfied that they 
must have had a glimpse of its fuma- 
roles. 

All the information Hesse and Horner 
have been able to give me indicates that 
the volcanoes of the district had already 
settled down to their present steady 
activity when they yisited them in 1913. 
Their pictures show that Mount Martin, 
at any rate, was in very much the same 
condition then as now. 

THE EXPEDITION OF I9I5 

No one realized in advance the prob- 
ability that a study of the seat of the 
eruption would yield results of very 
great interest. Our instructions in 191 5 
were " not to attempt more than a hasty 
reconnaissance on the mainland,'* for it 
was believed that the return of plants to 
the devastated district, which was our 
sole problem at first, could be studied 
better at Kodiak than elsewhere. 

Accordingly we arranged for only a 
brief trip to the mainland. That year 
we examined the north side of Katmai 
Valley and reached the lower slopes of the 
volcano, but had neither time nor equip- 
ment to do more. 

There were three of us the first year, 
B. B. Fulton, Entomologist, now of the 
Oregon Experiment Station, L. G. Fol- 
som, then manual training teacher at 
Kodiak, and myself. 

THE EXPEDITION OF I916 

What we saw of Katmai Valley the 
first year impressed us so deeply with 
the importance of a thorough exploration 
of the immediate environs of the volcano 
that we felt it imperative to make a 
study of the center of the volcanic dis- 
trict and especially to examine the crater 
the next year. 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



BASE CAMP IN I915 



Photograph by B. B. Fulton 



The flat was covered with a layer of white pumice deposited by the waters of the receding flood. It 
was the only place we could find dry enough for a camp. From left to right, Fulton, Griggs and 
Folsom. 



The first season's work had vronvinced 
us that the south side of the valley was 
preferable to the north, but we were un- 
able to find a satisfactory landing to the 
south and perforce used the north side 
once more, crossing the river near the 
head of the valley. We made the first 
ascent of the volcano on July 19th. On 
July 3 1st we crossed Katmai Pass and dis- 
covered the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes. The results of the exf)editions 
of 1915 and 1916 furnished material for 
an article in the National Geographic 
Magazine of January, 1917. 

This year D. B. Church became the 
photographer (see page 73). He was a 
youngster whom I had singled out from 
my classes by reason of his habit of 
turning up after a field trip with a set of 
unusual pictures, which he had snapped 
surreptitiously en route. His genius 
for seeing pictorial values made him in- 
valuable. 



The experience of 191 5 hsid shown the 
necessity of employing a packer the 
second year. Here we met one of our 
most difficult problems. The natives 
were afraid of the volcano and could not 
be induced to go to the mainland. When 
we broached the matter to the chief, he 
said at once very positively, *'Me no 
Katmai," and we learned later that he 
had advised his followers, ''Life better 
than money." 

THE ONE-HANDED BEAR HUNTER OF 
KODIAK 

The problem was most happily met, 
however, when we thought of Walter 
Metrokin, a famous one-handed bear 
hunter of Kodiak. He agreed without 
hesitation, and stuck to his promise, al- 
though, as we found afterward, the other 
natives used every means to dissuade 
him (see page 74). Already a hero 
among his fellows because of his many ex- 



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GEOGRAPHY, CHRONOLOGY AND PERSONNEL 



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Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
FOLSOM, WALTER (METROKIN) AND CHURCH ON THE TRAIL IN UPPER KA.TMAI VALLEY 

Since the country was completely devastated, it was necessary to carry everything we had; if any 
essential thing had been forgotten the expedition would have been stumped. 



pioits as a hunter, he was doubly so when 
he returned safely, having actually 
looked into '*The Hole*' out of which 
had come the devastating blsist. Even 
Walter, however, was very nervous on 
the crater rim, keeping sheltered behind 
a rock a good share of the time and shift- 
ing about uneasily as he watched us 
work, finally remarking, when he thought 
we had overstayed our time, ** Can't 
make nothin' up here.** 

Walter was one of those strong 
characters found among all clcisses, who 
stand out superior to their fellows. De- 
prived of his right hand by a hunting 
accident in his youth, he so overcame the 
handicap that with his one hand he 
could accomplish more than most men 
with two. We found nothing he could 
not do, even to tying knots and rolling 
cigarettes. 

But when it came to handling a boat, 
I supposed that he would have to give it 



up. Not so, however, for in a flash he 
had somehow lashed one oar to his stub 
and was rowing along like a sailor. 

He proved a very entertaining com- 
panion, as well as a capital assistant, and 
the stories of hunting exploits he told in 
his quaint Russian brogue furnished no 
end of amusement around the camp fire. 
The boys particularly enjoyed one tale 
of a bear hunt "with two white men and 
an Englishman," accompanied by a 
demonstration of the Englishman's use 
of his monocles, of which according to 
Walter, he carried at least half a dozen of 
different sizes. 

THE EXPEDITION OF I917 

During the first two years very little 
organization was necessary, but the ex- 
ploration of the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes was another matter. 

The physical obstacles to be overcome 
were so great that success could not have 



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74 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Folaom 



GRIGGS AND WALTER RESTING ON THE TRAIL 



been attained without careful planning 
in advance. Perfecting the details of 
supplies and equipment, and seeing that 
they were on the ground, consumed a 
large share of my time and energy for six 
months before the departure. But the 
result justified the labor, for the outfit 
proved adequate to the strain put upon 
it and enabled us to carry out the work 
substantially as planned. 

The base camp in 19 17 was established 
on the tundra near Kashvik Bay, and 
supplies were ferried across the lagoon 
and carried up the south side of Katmai 
River to the Pass. The Valley of Martin 
Creek, with the Mageik landslide at its 
head, and the Second Valley of the 
Katmai with Noisy Mountain were ex- 
plored that year. 

The work of 191 7 furnished the ma- 
terial for the first adequate description 
of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, 
which was published in the National 
Geographic Magazine for February, 1918. 
As a result of this report, the Katmai 



National Monument, embracing more 
than a million acres, was created by a 
proclamation signed by President Wilson, 
September 26, 191 8. 

All told, there were ten of us in 191 7. 
Besides the director, Folsom, Church, 
and Walter, veterans of 1916, the party 
included Clarence F. Maynard, to- 
pographer, previously with the Peruvian 
Expeditions of The Society; Professor 
James S. Hine, of the Ohio State Univer- 
sity, zoologist; Dr. J. W. Shipley, of the 
University of Manitoba, chemist; Jasper 
D. Sayre, assistant botanist; Paul R. 
Hagelbarger, assistant botanist; and 
Andrean Yagashof, packer (see page 

76). 

The complete devastation of the 
country made the physical problem of 
maintaining the expeditions a matter of 
serious concern. In such a country we 
were absolutely dependent on our own 
resources. There was no possibility of 
living off the country, nor of replenish- 
ing supplies or obtaining aid or succor of 



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GEOGRAPHY, CHRONOLOGY AND PERSONNEL 



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any kind, for the nearest settlements were 
far beyond reach. One most crucial 
problem was that of transportation. If 
we could secure some adequate means of 
carrying supplies into the country from 
the coast, we could be assured of all the 
things necessary for our work and a 
considerable number of comforts besides. 

CONSIDERING PACK-HORSES AND AIR- 
PLANES FOR TRANSPORTATION 

Accordingly, we considered very care- 
fully the advisability of using pack- 
horses. While there was no forage for 
them in the desert, yet they might have 
been kept outside in the undevastated 
country and returned thither as soon as 
unloaded. 

But horses would have experienced 
great difficulty with the quicksands, and 
where the land was badly gullied it would 
have been very hard to use them. Never- 
theless, we would certainly have tried 
them if any could have been secured in 
the vicinity. 

It would have been necessary, how- 
ever, to ferry them across Shelikof 
Strait and land them through the surf. 
As this would have entailed not only a 
heavy expense and the loss of much valu- 
able time, but also a large chance of los- 
ing the whole outfit in landing it on those 
treacherous shores, it was decided that 
the risk was too great to justify the at- 
tempt. 

The possibility of using an airplane 
was very alluring. Often as we labored 
over the rough ground our minds turned 
enviously to the thought of skimming 
swiftly overhead, with no care for the 
gullies through which we were toiling. 

There are unquestionably many land- 
ing places available both on the pumice 
flats and on the numerous ponds which 
dot the valleys on the Bering Sea side of 
the range. But an airplane has a deli- 
cate mechanism, which cannot be ex- 
pected to work continuously without 
repairs which can be made only in a ma- 
chine shop. In 1919 we did attempt to 
use a motorcycle, and spent a great deal 
of time building a trail for it. But just 



when we got ready to use it, a small 
spring went wrong in the magneto and 
we were unable to fix it. The probability 
of some such accident to an airplane was 
so great that I have never been sorry we 
did not attempt to use one. 

ALL SUPPLIES CARRIED BY MAN-BACK 

We were, therefore, thrown back on 
the most primitive of all methods 
of transportation — man-back packing. 
This had the great merit of being certain 
in operation, for wherever men could go, 
there could supplies be transported. 
But the amount of freight that a man 
can carry on his back is at best pitifully 
small. A load of "grub** which is a 
crushing burden for the packer vanishes 
quickly into the hungry mouths of an 
active party. 

To minimize the quantity of food con- 
sumed by the packers themselves and to 
reduce the amount of duflfel carried back 
and forth, we adopted a system of relay 
camps. 

We would proceed half a day*s march 
from our base, then establish a new camp 
at the terminus, returning each night to 
the starting point, until enough pro- 
visions had been accumulated to permit 
another move forward. In this way the 
packers drew their sustenance altogether 
from the rear camp, leaving the advance 
supplies intact for future use. 

Once our system of relay camps was 
established, we made a practice of parcel- 
ing out our spare bedding and extra 
clothes among the different camps in 
such fashion that a small party could 
travel rapidly anywhere along the chain 
without concerning itself about baggage 
or supplies. 

ONLY THE MOST CONCENTRATED FOODS 
USED 

Our extremely limited facilities for 
transportation prohibited the use, except 
at the base camp, of any of the ordinary 
sorts of canned food, or of any provisions 
containing a large percentage of water. 
Our chief reliance was the trusted stand- 
by of the prospector, bacon and flapjacks. 



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76 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 



MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION OF I917 



From left to right: Jasper D. Sayre, botanist; Clarence F. Maynard, topographer; D. B. Church, 
photographer; Lucius G. Folsom, assistant to the director; Robert F. Griggs; James S. Hine, zoolo- 
gist; J. W. Shipley, chemist; Paul R. Hagelbarger, botanist; Andrean Yagashoff, packer, and Walter 
Metroken, packer. 



Next came sugar, rice, oatmeal, beans, 
soluble coffee, dried apples, and other 
dehydrated fruits and vegetables such 
as apricots, cherries, cranberries, pears, 
raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, 
string beans, spinach, and potatoes. 

Lunch consisted of hardtack, cheese, 
raisins, kippered salmon and milk choco- 
late, for we could take time to cook only 
morning and night. 

As an experiment I included tinned 
butter among our supplies. This proved 
a boon, for it added greatly to the enjoy- 
ment of flapjacks and served as a con- 
centrated substitute for evaporated milk 
on oatmeal and rice. I was inclined to 
regard condensed milk as a luxury not 
worth the trouble of carrying, but I 
found the men generally enjoyed it so 
much that as a rule they were quite 
ready to carry it, despite its weight. 

At this time, before the importance of 
vitamines in the diet was generally recog- 
nized, I did not understand the reason for 
the unusual desire for milk and butter. 
But when it was shown how essential 
vitamines are to a suitable dietary, an 



explanation seemed to be offered, for, as 
is now well known, butter and milk are 
especially rich in these substances. I am 
inclined to believe that they, together 
with the fruits, are the most important 
factors in preventing that craving for a 
change of diet so likely to develop 
when men are kept long on concentrated 
rations. 

This sort of provisions proved very 
satisfactory. The members of the par- 
ties always kept in excellent condition 
throughout the field season and most of 
the boys actually gained heavily in 
weight, despite the continuous hard 
work. For the whole party the gain in 
flesh averaged about ten pounds, while 
individual members took on as much as 
twenty-five pounds during the summer. 

The demand of the system for energy- 
carrying foods was very great. I soon 
found that even the small amount of 
lean meat in bacon was more than was 
desired. It was not long before bacon 
began to be used exclusively for its fat. 
In later years **crisco" was substituted 
for a part of the allowance of bacon. 



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GEOGRAPHY. CHRONOLOGY AND PERSONNEL 



77 



Photograph by Mrs. E. C. Kolb 
THE LARGEST GROUP OF THE EXPEDITION OF I9I9 EVER ASSEMBLED IN ONE PLACE 

Three men — ^Jones, Jacob and Ralph Hagelbarger — had left before the others came together. From 
left to right are Helt, Sayre, Paul Hagellwirger, Kolb, Yori, Griggs, Folsom, Fenner, Allen, Miller, 
Zies, Hine, Wallace, Basinger, Stone, and Henning. 



Sweets of all kinds were also greatly 
desired. A few jars of strawberry jam 
were provided as delicacies, but it would 
have been utterly impossible to provide 
enough jam to satisfy the crowd. The 
consumption of granulated sugar aver- 
aged half a pound per man a day. 

SENDING IN THE EXPEDITION OF I918 
FROM THE BERING SEA 

When the war made it advisable to 
drop the extensive expedition that had 
been projected for 1918, Sayre and 
Hagelbarger of the 19 17 expedition were 
dispatched to the field alone to keep 
watch over the fumaroles and to begin a 
study of the temperatures. 

Theirs was no easy task. Their mis- 
sion was not merely to continue the work 
with which they were familiar, but to 
break new ground and solve unknown 
problems. They did not go in from 
Kodiak, as previous expeditions had 
done. Instead they circled the penin- 



sula into the Bering Sea and ascended 
Naknek River and Lake to the foot of the 
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes (see 
map, front cover). 

They surveyed the country traversed, 
securing the data for the topographic 
map, and made the first accurate 
measurements of the temperatures of the 
fumaroles, bringing back the information 
that some of them were hot enough to 
melt zinc. 

OBJECTIVES OF THE EXPEDITION OF I9I9 

While the exploration carried out in 
191 7 was sufficient to supply the public 
with evidence of the reality of the fuma- 
roles, the hasty observations which alone 
had been possible under the conditions 
served only to arouse in us a keener de- 
sire to investigate the scientific problems 
presented. For we were convinced that 
nowhere else in the world had there been 
presented in our time such an opportunity 
to study the great problem of volcanism. 



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GEOGRAPHY, CHRONOLOGY AND PERSONNEL 



79 



All members of the expedition agreed 
that the pictures of the Valley brought 
back in 1917, while striking enough to 
excite favorable comment, fell so far 
short of the reality as to convey no ade- 
quate conception of the thing itself. 

As an experiment, I had purchased a 
small motion picture outfit, and Church 
had learned to operate it, so that we se- 
cured incidentally a few hundred feet of 
films. These had a most checkered 
career. While awaiting shipment they 
were ** taken by mistake'* from the ware- 
house at Kodiak by an old prospector 
and carried down to the south end of the 
island, whence after being dumped out 
in the surf and left in the dampness of the 
native huts for months, they were finally 
returned to us. Despite the rough 
usage to which they had been subjected, 
upon development they portrayed the 
real character of the fumaroles so much 
better than any still pictures that I de- 
cided at once we could not consider the 
district adequately made known until a 
representative series of motion pictures 
had been secured. 

With these two very diverse objects in 
mind, we were anxious to return and 
carry forward the work. But the World 
War held us up until 191 9. 

When finally the opportunity came to 
carry out our plans, we tried to equip 
ourselves in such fashion that we would 
be enabled to sit down and study our 
problems at leisure, and to provide some 
sort of laboratory in which preliminary 
chemical work could be carried on. The 
difficulties in the way of the realization 
of this project were enormous. 

The scientific problems encountered in 
the region were so numerous that we 
could not resist the temptation to lay out 
more work than could possibly be ac- 
complished in the time available, even 
with the very generous appropriation 
which the Research Committee of the 
the National Geographic Society had 
granted. But although many important 
questions were still unanswered when 
the season closed, we had nevertheless 
accomplished a great many things which 



could not have been attempted on pre- 
vious expeditions. 

COOPERATION BY THE GEOPHYSICAL 
LABORATORY 

The various aspects of volcanism de- 
scribed by the earlier expeditions were so 
exceptional that I felt our findings were 
too important to stand alone without 
corroboration by other observers. 

After a survey of the field it was de- 
cided that no other organization was so 
well equipped to handle the many-sided 
volcanic problems as the Geophysical 
Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution, 
which was accordingly invited to send a 
party along with the expedition of 1919 
under a cooperative agreement whereby 
the Geographic Society undertook to 
assume the field expenses of the party, 
while the Geophysical Laboratory agreed 
to work up the results on the return. 
The party selected consisted of two 
chemists and a petrologist. 

ORGANIZATION OF THE EXPEDITION OF 
I919 

In view of the risk and difficulty in- 
volved in landing a large outfit through 
the surf, and carrying it by man-back 
over Katmai Pass, it was decided to send 
in the bulk of the outfit by Bering Sea, 
whence it could be taken in power dories 
up Naknek River and Lake almost to the 
foot of the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes. 

Since there is scant means of public 
conveyance into those parts, we should 
have been helpless in this matter without 
the kindness of the Naknek Packing 
Company, which undertook to carry up 
our supplies and the advance party. 

Say re, who knew the ground from his 
experience in 1917 and 1918, was sent in 
by this route with three of my students: 
A. J. Basinger, Richard E. Helt, and 
Harry E. Jacob. Their mission was to 
provision a base camp at the head of 
Naknek Lake and form a junction with 
the second party, which I led in from 
Kodiak to establish a series of relay 
camps across the peninsula. By this 



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8o 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



means we hoped to make it possible for 
the specialists, who were to come later, 
to begin work on their respective prob- 
lems immediately upon arrival. 

PERSONNEL IN I919 

There were nineteen of us in all: the 
Director; the Geophysical party consist- 
ing of Dr. E. T. Allen, chemist, Dr. C. N. 
Fenner, petrologist, and Dr. E. G. Zies, 
assistant chemist; Professor J. S. Hine, 
of the Ohio State University, zoologist; 
J. D. Sayre, topographer; Paul R. Hagel- 
barger, topographer; Emery C. Kolb, of 
the Grand Canyon, motion picture man; 
Frank I. Jones, of Portland, Oregon, color 
photographer; Lucius G. Folsom, assist- 
ant to the Director; A. J. Basinger, 
Ralph Hagelbarger, Richard E. Helt, 
William L. Henning, Harry E. Jacob, 
August E. Miller, Julius Stone, Jr., H. N. 
Wallace and Charles Yori, assistants. 

It would be hard for anyone who was 
not along to realize how these men worked 
for the success of the expedition. No 
task, however difficult or disagreeable, 
was too great whenever it was recog- 
nized that it was for the good of the expedi- 
tion. Many of the jobs for which there 



were volunteers in plenty would have 
been altogether unreasonable in the eyes 
of any except men who were there for the 
love of overcoming difficulties. 

In addition to the regular members of 
the expedition, visitors were received for 
the first time. The first "tourist** to 
visit the Katmai National Monument 
was Rodney L. Glisan. of Portland, Ore- 
gon. Later in the summer the wives of 
the three members of the expedition 
whose families were at Kodiak, Mrs. 
Griggs, Mrs. Folsom and Mrs. Kolb, also 
came across and visited the Valley, thus 
proving that despite the necessarily 
primitive conditions, the place is by no 
means impossible for women. 

It was hoped that the preliminary ex- 
ploration of the district could be brought 
reasonably near completion in 1919, but 
very much remains to be done. There 
are several square miles of the most 
interesting of the fumaroles which have 
been examined only in the most cursory 
fashion, a large part of the tributary ter- 
ritory remains unmapped, and of the 
more detailed problems of revegetation 
and geology scarcely a beginning has 
been made. 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 

KODIAK FROM THE CHANNEL 
Who would suppose that this verdant country was so recently smothered under a foot of ash? 



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A CANYON IN THE MUDFLOVV AT THE HEAD OF KATMAI VALLEY 
The blue waters of Katmai Bay may be made out in the distance. 



II 



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VIII 

THE FIRST JOURNEY TO THE VOLCANO— THE 
DEVASTATION OF KATMAI VALLEY 



As the shores of Katmai Bay gradually 
appeared out of the blue distance when 
we approached them for the first time 
(July 11,1915), they looked weird beyond 
description. Over the sky was drawn 
apall of finevolcanic dustwhich obscured 
everything above a thousand feet, cut- 
ting off the volcanoes which we wished 
so much to see, and by its curious, dif- 
fused light heightening the unearthly 
aspect of the landscape, giving it some- 
what of that ominous effect that raises 
one's forebodings at the approach of a 
storm. 

The whole scene looked like the en- 
trance to another world, so foreign was 
it to anything within our experience. 
The sea was full of fresh pumice. We 
wondered whether this and the cloud of 
dust might betoken a fresh eruption 
from one of the volcanoes. The line 
of breakers was continuous. We could 
not tell where we might best pierce it. 

It was even more difficult to guess 
where we should find the best way back 
into the interior. Trying to make the 
right decision, I lay propped upon my 
elbows studying the shore with a field 
glass, for I was too weak from seasickness 
to stand. 

THE FIRST LANDING 

First we tried the mouth of the river, 
where the schooners used to land. Since 
the eruption it had been entered by a 
boat larger than ours. But it was out 
of the question now; so much ash had 
been washed down that there was no 
possibility of getting inside. (Later we 
found the river could not be ascended 
half a mile, even with a row boat.) 
Then, as the western side looked low 
and swampy, we turned east, landing 
under the cliffs of Mount Pedmar at the 
end of the beach. 



Along the base of the cliff was a white 
gleaming waterfall, promising to settle 
one of our problems, for in the uncer- 
tainty as to the condition of the country 
I had made up my mind that I would 
not allow our boat to leave us until we 
had at least assured ourselves of a supply 
of drinking water. 

Everywhere the ground was covered 
ankle-deep with soft sticky mud from 
the flood, described in Chapter ix, whos^ 
waterswere just subsiding. Fresh tracks 
of fox and of the huge Alaskan brown 
bear indicated that we were not alone on 
the beach, and suggested the advisability 
of carrying guns. 

But the omnipresent mud gave us 
more concern, for it covered the whole 
valley, clear up to the cliffs. Between 
the precipitous mountains and the muddy 
flat no place was left for us to pitch our 
tent except a mound of avalanche detri- 
tus, which we felt was too dangerous, for 
bowlders were rolling off the mountains 
round us every few minutes. 

Finally we selected a bed of clear white 
pumice. Although there was very wet 
mud a few inches below, the porous sur- 
face was fairly dry, and there we pitched 
our tent (see page 72). 

Our camp was surrounded by good- 
sized balsam poplar trees. We had ex- 
pected no such luck as this, for the best 
information we had been able to secure 
in advance indicated that Katmai was 
well beyond the limit of trees, so that we 
might expect difficulty, at least in the 
country deeply covered with ash, in 
finding even enough sticks for firewood. 

In view of this probability we had 
provided jointed poles for the tent and a 
small blue-flame oil stove for cooking. 
We were most happy to be relieved of the 
necessity of packing the stove with a 
supply of oil on our backs, but finally did 



81 



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82 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



AN ASH SLIDE : SOLUKA CREEK 



' Some of these slides spread out into gigantic fans more than a thousand feet high. Standing at the 
critical angle, their slopes are very hard climbing. We soon ground our finger-nails to the quick in 
their sharp sand 



carry the tent poles clear up to the head 
of the Valley in the groundless fear that 
we could not find poles there to serve our 
purpose. 

Near the coast the poplars were in 
scattered groves and somewhat stunted 
in the more exposed situations, but far- 
ther inland there were forests, whose 
trees sometimes exceeded four feet 
(135 cm.) in diameter and commonly 
reached a height of 70 to 80 feet. 

COMPARATIVE DAMAGE TO DIFFERENT 
PLANTS^ 

The desolation of the country beggared 
description. All the trees had perished, 
except those favored by some special cir- 
cumstance, such as proximity to the pro- 
tecting mountain sides. 

Inoneway the trees and bushes suffered 
more seriously than the herbage, for 
wherever the ground had been swept bare 
of ash the old roots of the herbaceous 

^ For a more detailed discussion of the effect 
of the eruption on mainland vegetation the reader 
is referred to a special paper devoted to the 
matter. Scientific Results of the Katmai Ex- 



plants sent up new shoots, so that in a 
few fortunate spots flowers were bloom- 
ing in their pristine profusion. 

Where the ash remained to a depth of 
a foot or more, however, the ground 
under the dead trees was absolutely bare. 
No vegetation had come through cracks, 
as at Kodiak, and indeed such cracks 
may not have been formed, because the 
deposit here is much coarser grained. 

Under the mountain sides, where a 
few remnants of the forest remained 
alive, various species had suffered in 
different ways. 

The only large trees were the balsam 
poplars (Populus balsamifera) , All of 
the growing parts and the ordinary buds 
of these had been killed, but deep down 
in the bark of old shoots dormant or 
adventitious buds had pushed out short, 
bushy branches which gave the trees a 
most bizarre appearance. 

peditions of the National Geographic Society, 
No. 4. The Character of the Eruption as Re- 
vealed by its Effect on Near-by Vegetation, by 
R. F. Griggs. Ohio Journal of Science, vol. 19, 
pp. 173-209, 1919. 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



83 



One would not have believed that a 
growth of leaves so slight as some we 
saw could possibly suffice to keep the 
bark and roots of a large tree alive. Nor 
did it always do so, for we found many 
poplars that had perished from starva- 
tion, after a vain attempt to put out 
leaves enough to keep the system alive. 

The alder (Alnus sinuata), which is 
the most characteristic Alaskan bush 
everywhere, was simply exterminated. 
For our purpose this was somewhat 
fortunate, for it was easy to break our 
way through the dead thickets which 
otherwise would have made traveling 
difficult. Not a single live twig of alder 
was seen until after we had explored a 
wide stretch of country, and then we 
found only two or three very small 
sprouts coming up from the roots. 

The birch {Betula kenaika)^ the Alas- 
kan representative of our canoe birch, 
which was formerly abundant, suffered 
only slightly less than the alder. With- 
out exception, this species perished in 
the main valley, but a few individuals 
with living sprouts were found in Soluka 
Valley. 

WILLOWS SUFFERED LESS THAN 
OTHER TREES 

The willows suffered less than the 
other trees, but the pussy willows (Salix 
scouleriana) were killed down to the 
ground. Curiously enough the new 
growth did not assume the erect form 
characteristic of the species, but instead 
produced a rosette of prostrate branches 
close to the ground, like the alpine wil- 
lows of exposed places. 

Of all the trees the big Alaska willow 
{SaMx alaxensis) suffered the least or, at 
any rate, had made the best recovery by 
the time of our visit. This was probably 
due to its very great capacity for forming 
adventitious roots on burial. 

Where shifting streams had disinterred 
some of the buried trees, we found that 
they had developed a very strong growth 
of new roots, just beneath the surface of 
the ash. It was interesting to observe 
that these new roots were confined to 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
A TALL POPLAR ON WHICH ONLY A FEW 
BUDS SURVIVED 

It seems incredible that so slight a leaf surface 
should have sufficed to keep the extensive trunk 
and roots alive for four years. 

the area immediately beneath the surface 
of the ash, leaving the intermediate sec- 
tion of the trunk down to the original 
surface of the ground as clean as before 
burial (see page 133). 

On the mainland as at Kodiak, the 
formation of such two-storied root sys- 
tems is the characteristic reaction of the 
buried plants when their underground 
parts show any response at all to burial. 



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84 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

WRITING IN THE TENT DURING THE SAND-STORM 

While outside a piece of pumice lodged in my eye with such force that 
it had to be dug out with forceps, causing considerable discomfort for a 
couple of days. 



permanent injury, for 
particles of volcanic 
dust are sharper even 
than bits of broken 
glass. After a time, 
however, the irrita- 
tion stimulated an in- 
creased flow from the 
tear glands, which 
helped to keep the 
eyes washed out. 

During this day of 
dust storm we ex- 
plored the valley as 
far as Soluka Creek. 
The dust heightened 
the already weird 
character of the land- 
scape, giving it an in- 
describably uncanny 
appearance. The ef- 
fect was much like 
that of a heavy snow- 
storm. This was in- 
creased by the out- 
lines of the bare dead 
trees. Indeed, so 
strong were the visual 
sensations of snow 
that every little while 
I would realize with 
a start of surprise 



On the first day we were able to de- 
vote to exploring the valley we awoke 
to find that a westerly gale, which had 
started during the night, had picked up 
the fine dust from the mountains until it 
had changed the haze of previous days 
into a terrific dust storm. The dust was 
so thick that it obliterated all objects 
beyond the immediate vicinity. 

A DUST STORM 

It permeated everything about our 
camp, and we were extremely worried 
lest it should get into our cameras and 
ruin the shutters and films. It matted 
our hair so that we could not comb it 
for days. It caused acute discomfort in 
our eyes. 

At first we were afraid it might do us 



that it was not cold. 

About noon we fell to speculating on 
the state of the weather above the dust 
cloud and were surprised on searching 
the sky to find the sun, whose disc was 
just visible, pale white, something like 
the moon in daytime, but fainter. 

It is impossible to describe our feelings 
on this day, as we groped our way for- 
ward into the devastated country, ut- 
terly different from anything we had 
ever seen. Fortunately, the loose sandy 
surface of the ash everywhere held our 
tracks, so that even without our com- 
pass we could hardly have become lost. 

We followed all the way a well-worn 
bear trail, which skirted the foot of the 
mountain, finding that the bears had 
selected the easiest going to be had. It 
was very noticeable that these trails, 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



85 



Photo and copyright by M. A. Horn«r 



MOUNT MARTIN IN I913 



except for an occasional side branch 
into the mountains, all ran lengthwise, 
up and down the valley. The bears 
had made no attempt to cross the river. 
Apparently they had learned by experi- 
ence not to try that. 

After four days spent in such prelimi- 
nary observations we packed up our 
outfit and as much food as we could carry 
and started up the valley for the vol- 
canoes. The remaining provisions, to- 
gether with everything not essential to 
our work, were left in the base camp. 

Although things were made as snug as 
possible, it was not without a good deal of 
trepidation that we turned our backs on 
our supplies; for in such a desert country 
we were absolutely dependent on our 
provisions, and if a bear or wolverine 
had taken it into his head to wreck the 
camp in our absence, we should have 
been in a bad way. 

Three or four miles up the valley we 
came out into the open, where we could 
see the distant mountains of the main 
range. Standing square across the head 
of the valley was Mount Mageik, its 
magnificent three-peaked snow-cap bril- 
liant in the sunshine. 

From a small crater east of the central 
peak issued a column of steam which, 



although plainly visible on a clear day 
for 50 miles out to sea, appeared diminu- 
tive in comparison with the bulk of the 
mountain. Only rarely does it rise 
straight up into the sky, as shown in the 
photograph on page 78. 

Mount Katmai itself was concealed 
beyond the bend of the valley, so that we 
were to have no glimpse of it until we 
camped at its foot. 

DISCOVERY OF MOUNT MARTIN 

To the west of Mageik, in a position 
where no volcano is indicated on the 
chart, was a comparatively low moun- 
tain from which rose a column of steam 
a thousand feet in diameter and more 
than a mile high. 

Comparison with Horner's picture 
showed at once that this was the moun- 
tain he had photographed in July 1913 as 
** Mount Katmai.** It was clear enough 
from its location west of Mageik that 
it could not be Katmai, for that is on 
the other side of Mageik. Even from 
our position it was evident, however, 
that it was at that time the most active 
volcano of the district. 

The discovery of this volcano was a 
complete surprise, for we had had no 
intimation of the existence of any such 



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86 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



ASH SLIDES IN UPPER KATMAI VALLEY 



Wherever the mountains were too steep for the ash to stick, it slid down into the valley, covering the 

lower slop>es with great fans of sand. 



vent before our landing. There appears 
to be neither record nor tradition of any 
volcano in this quarter. No map shows 
a volcano near its position nor even 
names the mountain. 

We agreed that no more fitting name 
could be given to the new volcano than 
that of Dr. George C. Martin, whose 
account in the National Geographic 
Magazine will always stand as the first 
authoritative report of the eruption. 

Accordingly, from the first it has been 
known to the members of the expeditions 
as Mount Martin. Its position is ap- 
proximately Lat. 58® 10' N., Long. 155® 
21" w., and its altitude about 5,500 
feet. Its great column of steam was a 
continual challenge to our efforts, but it 
was not for us to approach it that year 
nor the next, nor did we ever succeed in 
studying it as we desired (see chapter xiv) . 

The activity of Mount Martin, like 
that of all the volcanoes of this district 



is remarkably constant. When first 
seen by Hesse and Homer in 1913, it was 
quietly steaming away, exactly as in 
19 19 (compare pages 180 and 182). 

In the absence of witnesses it is, of 
course, impossible to ascertain exactly 
when this quiet activity began, but pre- 
sumably its initiation was coincident 
with the reawakening of Katmai. 

One can hardly image the opening up 
of a crater of such dimensions except by 
an explosion violent enough to rend the 
mountain walls asunder. Great as is the 
power necessary to tear open a conduit 
like the crater of Martin, however, it is 
so slight in comparison with the other 
forces operative at the time of the great 
eruption, that no mark of its action has 
yet been discovered in the surrounding 
country. We have diligently searched 
for ejecta from both Martin and Mageik, 
but no evidence that they threw out 
ash or pumice at the time of the recent 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



87 



Photograph by B. B. Fulton 

THE AUTHOR STRUGGLING THROUGH THE QUICKSAND OF KATMAI RIVER 

After working our way to within a hundred yards of the trees in the distance we had to turn back. 
The swift water running over the ash and pumice packs the surface, giving it a crust which sometimes 
holds a man and sometimes breaks under nie weight. Crossing these flats is somewhat like traveling 
in snow with a weak crust. One will go alon^ easily ankle deep for a few steps and then suddenly 
drop down to hb waist. The labor involved m such travel cannot be described, but must be experi- 
enced to be appreciated. 



eruption has been detected (see page 
182). 

When we reached Soluka Creek we 
found it more formidable than our rec- 
onnoiters in the dust storm had indi- 
cated. Leaving the others on the bank, 
I dropped my pack and waded out 
through the dead forest for half a mile in 
the icy water. From that distance it 
looked wider, deeper and swifter than 
from the starting point. I decided, 
therefore, that it was impracticable to 
attempt to cross it under our heavy 
packs, so we camped that night in the 
dead forest on the flat near by. 

ASH SLIDES MORE THAN 1,500 FEET HIGH 

Next morning, starting to hunt for a 
practicable ford, we climbed up on to the 
shoulder of a mountain where we could 



get a bird's-eye view of the creek below 
and select the likeliest place. 

Here we found a new experience in 
climbing the great ash slides with which 
the lower slopes were covered. Wher- 
ever the mountains were precipitous, too 
steep for the ash to stick, it slid down 
into the valleys, covering the lower 
slopes with great fans of sand, standing 
as steep as it will lie. Some of these ash 
slopes are more than 1,500 feet high. 

When we first entered the country in 
191 5 their surface still consisted of loose, 
rolling sand, ready to slide down at the 
least disturbance (see pages 82 and 86). 
With the passage of time they gradually 
became more stable, as the angular grains 
settled closer together. But, during our 
first season, it required all the power we 
could muster to climb them. 



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88 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



jfnotograpn oy k.. t*. i^nggs 



STRAINING DRINKING WATER OUT OF PUMICE 

The water we had to drink was so muddy that Folsom refused to wash for three days because he 

"would not dirty his face with it." 



One sank to his ankles at every step, 
while new sand poured down upon him, 
either burying his feet or carrying him 
bodily down the hill. It was a tread- 
mill, in which one must either keep 
moving or be shifted to the bottom. 
The effort of such climbing soon became 
so wearisome that we avoided it when- 
ever we could, but occasionally it was 
necessary for us to ascend a thousand 
feet over such slopes. 

In climbing these slides, much the 
easiest method of progression was to go 
on all fours. But the sharp pumice 
soon ground away our finger tips. We 
were seriously embarrassed from this 
cause the first year. Before we were 
aware of the danger, we had worn our 
nails down to the quick and so ground 
the skin as to make it painful to use our 
fingers in any way. 

But the labor of climbing the ash slopes 
was somewhat compensated by the sport 
of sliding down. Since the ash stood at 
the critical angle, the effect was practi- 
cally to eliminate gravity. One could 
cut loose and almost fly down the slopes, 



bouncing down the steep slides in great 
bounds without the least consideration of 
his footing or of where he would bring up. 
When we descended to the ford we 
had picked out, we found that it was 
little better than the place where we 
had turned back the night before. But 
it was the best that was to be had, so we 
decided to try it. It was not the low 
temperature nor the swiftness of the 
water that alarmed me, but the character 
of the bottom, which was a continuous 
quicksand clear across. 

FORDING A MILE OF QUICKSAND 

Sometimes the surface would hold like 
the crust of a snowdrift; but we were in 
constant fear of going down, for on 
sounding with our alpenstocks we found 
that the whole length of the stick went 
down six feet into the sand anywhere 
without striking bottom. Often our foot- 
ing gave way and we found ourselves 
floundering up to the middle in quick- 
sand. But as none of us went deeper 
than that, we returned and started across 
with our packs (see page 87). 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



89 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



AN ASH BRIDGE 



The caverns formed beneath the ash by melting snows gave us much concern at first, 
learned to trust ourselves freely on such bridges. 



Later we 



^. With all our crossings, in the expedi- 
tions which followed, no one ever got in 
so deep that he could not get out alone. 
But I must confess that, often as we 
crossed Soluka Creek, I never got used 
to it. There was the ever-present 
knowledge that we never touched bottom 
and the fear that next time it would 
'*get" one of us. 

Besides this, the labor of carrying a 
pack through such quicksand exceeds 
anything else I know. Every step takes 
all a man*s strength, and soon his weary 
muscles ache from the strain. But once 
in, he has no chance to rest until he 
reaches the farther shore, for he can 
neither lie down nor sit down ; even if he 
merely stands still he begins immediately 
to sink. 

STRAINING DRINKING WATER OUT OF THE 
PUMICE 

It was very much of a problem to 
secure water from the overloaded brooks 
beside which we camped. Never more 
than an inch deep, the water always 
carried such quantities of large angular 
chunks of pumice, not to speak of sand 



and mud, that it was out of the question 
to use it as it was. 

If we so much as dipped our hands into 
It in an effort to wash, sharp pieces of 
pumice stuck thickly to our fingers. 
When we tried to rub them off again they 
ground into our flesh painfully, prevent- 
ing any further attempts at cleanliness. 

The density of the ash was so near 
that of the water that it would neither 
float on the surface nor settle to the 
bottom. Fortunately, we had a spare 
bag through which we could strain it. 
Often we had to strain out a quart of 
pumice to get a pint of water. The 
stream changed so rapidly that it some- 
times ran dry before we could fill our 
bucket (see page 88). And even by 
the best straining we could take out 
only the coarsest grit, leaving the water 
still full of mud. 

At one of our camps Folsom refused 
to wash for three days, because he 
'* would not dirty his face with the water 
we had to drink.'* Washing is a matter 
of choice, but one must drink whether 
he will or no. 

After crossing Soluka Creek we camped 



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90 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

THE GLOOMY STRETCHES OF SOLUKA CREEK 

I must confess that even after many crossings of this sinister stream without mishap I could never 
plunge in without a shudder of dread. So wide that from the middle we could see neither shore, its 
swift current everywhere churning the quicksand, it presents a formidable obstacle to a man carry- 
ing a pack. I was in constant fear lest some member of the party would be mired in its depths, 
for, although we seldom sank below our knees, we could plunge the full length of our alpenstocks 
into the quicksand anywhere without finding bottom (see text, page 88). 



at the foot of the range that had shut 
off the view of Mount Katmai all the 
way up the valley. We reasoned that 
from the summit of these mountains, 
which we named the Barrier Range, we 
could most quickly obtain that sight 
of the volcano for which we were so 
anxious. 

Haste, we felt, w£is imperative, be- 
cause we feared lest the fine weather, 
which favored us almost miraculously 
the first season, should fail us. I well 
knew from previous experience that fair 
weather such as we were having was most 
exceptional in this district, for one may 
often camp here for days without a 
glimpse of the high peaks — as we did in 
191 7 and 1919, when we waited for 
nearly two weeks before we could climb 
Katmai. But on our first trip our 



provisions were so short that we could 
not hope to stay among the volcanoes 
for more than a few days. 

The day after crossing Soluka Creek 
we attempted, therefore, to get a sight 
of Katmai from the Barrier Range. In 
this we were disappointed, for on reach- 
ing the top of the mountain selected we 
found a higher peak ahead, cutting off 
the view of Mount Katmai. 

FEAR OF CAVERNS FORMED BY MELTING 
SNOW BENEATH THE ASH 

When we tried to cross over to this 
higher summit we encountered for the 
first time one of the characteristic 
features of the ash-covered mountains 
that for a long time gave us much con- 
cern. 

Part way up the slope, one of us, stick- 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMIA VALLEY 



91 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

BIRCHES WITH THE BARK CUT OFF BY SAND BLAST 

Over large areas such abraded trees give clear testimony of the direction and severity of the prevailing 

wind. 



ing his staff into the ground harder than 
usual, found that it went through into a 
cavern beneath. Examination showed 
that we were supported on an arch of ash 
a foot thick, spanning a deep hole. 

We found that the mountains every- 
where were deeply covered with snow, 
which was concealed by a mantle of ash 
and pumice. The snow beneath was 
rapidly melting out in the warm weather, 
leaving the ash surface standing as 
smooth as ever above the cavity. 

Such small holes as the one into which 
we had accidentally broken were, of 
course, of no consequence; but as we 
looked down one of the side valleys, we 
could see great cave-ins in an apparently 
smooth ash field, where a stream, bur- 
rowing through the snowdrifts beneath, 
had undermined the surface. 

For half a mile or so the tunnel thus 
made had caved in, and then for another 
half mile it was still intact, giving no 



indication of its presence to an unwary 
traveler. 

Alive to the new danger, we carefully 
chose a path free from all appearance of 
buried snowdrifts. But we had not 
gone a hundred yards when, happening 
to stamp my foot, I was astonished to 
hear the ** ground" ring hollow beneath 
me. We quickly retreated, spread out, 
and tried another place. 

Again we had not gone far when all 
three of us at once, though 50 feet apart, 
detected a cavern beneath us. We had 
absolutely no means of judging whether 
the hole was 5 feet deep or 50, nor of 
estimating the strength of the roof. 
The danger of such a situation seemed 
altogether too great, so we reluctantly 
turned back, with as yet no view of the 
volcano. 

In later expeditions we found stretches 
thus undermined by melting snow char- 
acteristic of much of the area of deeper 



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92 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
A JOB FOR A TIGHT-ROPE WALKER 



THE BRIDGE OVER MARTIN CREEK 

All the materials for color photography were in this pack; if Jones had slipped there would have 
been no illustrations in color. Some of the boys hesitated a long while before trusting themselves 
on those wet, slippery logs. 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



93 



Photograph by K. K. Crriggs 

EVENLY BEDDED STRATA OF KATMAI ASH LYING ON TOP OF A SNOWDRIFT 

The smooth contact and the absence of the ice, which would have formed on refreezing, indicate 
that the falling ash was not hot enough to melt the snow. The ash blanket prevented melting for 
five years. On Observation Mountain, about seven miles from the crater. 



ashfall and, as we were enabled gradually 
to experiment with such caverns, we 
learned that the danger from cave-ins is 
very slight. Before the exploration was 
completed we came to strike out boldly 
across places where we dared not venture 
in the beginning. 



The following day we circled the 
mountains into Upper Katmai Valley. 
As we proceeded the country became 
progressively more desert. Small birds, 
which were common in the lower valley, 
were absent here. 

The stillness of the dead forest was 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



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oppressive. One could travel all day 
without hearing a sound but his own 
footfalls and the plunge of rushing water. 
Bear trails persisted until we turned the 
corner into the upper valley, but there 
they disappeared. 

Every vestige of animal life must 
have been destroyed in the eruption, 
unless perhaps some wood-boring insects 
sheltered beneath the bark of the trees 
had escaped. But even of these, few, if 
any, remained at the time of our visit. 
The bark had dropped off the dead 
trees, leaving gaunt white skeletons 
standing up out of the deep ash de- 
posits. 

We saw no signs of animed life around 
our camp except a pair of bald eagles, 
which flew over at a great elevation the 
first night, a few mosquitoes, and a sin- 
gle hiunming-bird moth, which seemed 
strangely out of place in such a valley of 
death. 

AWE-INSPIRING DESOLATION OF UPPER 
KATMAI VALLEY 

Clouds hung low, obscuring every- 
thing above a thousand feet. As we 
pushed up into the valley a feeling of 
tremendous awe possessed us. We had 
altogether exhausted our vocabularies in 
the lower valley and found ourselves 
altogether without means of expressing 
the feelings that arose in us or of de- 
scribing the scene before us. 

Indeed, we did not ourselves fully 
realize the terrible desolation of the upper 
valley until our return to the base camp. 
Coming back into the lower valley after 
the total desolation of the country in 
the shadow of the volcano was like re- 
gaining the earth after an exile in the 
inferno. 

When we came back across Soluka 
Creek we were astonished at our feelings 
of exhilaration, as we relaxed from the 
unconscious tension of the upper valley. 
The broken remnants of the former trees 
appeared the most luxuriant verdure. 
The branches seemed alive with singing 
birds. The mountains seemed covered 
with herbage from base to summit. And 



this was the country that a few days 
before had seemed utterly devastated 
in comparison with Kodiak! 

Despite the complete devastation, one 
of the expected agents of destruction was 
conspicuously absent. Nowhere did we 
detect the slightest evidence of fire. 

We would not have been surprised to 
find that the explosion was followed by 
flows of molten lava, and we supposed 
that the ash falling close around the 
vent was hot enough to set the trees 
afire. Nowhere in Katmai Valley did we 
detect the slightest evidence of high 
temperature. 

ASH COOL WHEN IT FELL 

On the contrary, the deposits give the 
clearest testimony that the ash was cool 
as it fell. So far as we could see, it did 
not melt the snow where it had fallen on 
the drifts on the mountains. We found 
places where even coarse lapilli had sifted 
in among the stems of the dry grass 
without visibly affecting them. 

The ash did not even cook the plants 
on which it fell. Later we found places 
well up on the slopes of the volcano, 
from which the ash had slid off, where 
roots of the old plants were sending up 
new shoots. It is difficult to see how 
these could have survived, if the ash 
had had a temperature even approaching 
the boiling point. 

The valley had become gradually nar- 
rower as we ascended, and was now seen 
to terminate in a precipitous canyon, 
which, because of our inexperience with 
the country, seemed close at hand. Nor 
did we realize at first the great height 
of the cliffs, which are very impressive 
on nearer view (see page Ii8). 

Later we found that the mouth of the 
canyon was nearly two miles beyond us, 
instead of the short half mile it appeared. 
Fortunately for our purpose we had 
already reached a position which we 
judged must be opposite Mount Katmai, 
though we could have no assurance of 
our location because of the low-hanging 
clouds. 

Across the valley from our camp we 



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96 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



could see what we supposed to be the 
base of Mount Katmai. Here we beheld 
a formation quite different from anything 
we had ever seen. 

A ravine that branched off from the 
main valley behind a spur of the moun- 
tain was filled by what looked like a great 
glacier, except that its color was a terra- 
cotta red. In every detail of its form, 
except for the crevasses, it was exactly 
like a glacier. Beginning at a consider- 
able elevation, where the ravine was 
narrow, it sloped evenly down to the 
valley level, widening as it descended, so 
as to assume a triangular form. 

THE KATMAI MUD FLOW 

If the color had not been so different 
from everything else in the landscape we 
would assuredly have taken it for a 
glacier covered with dirt. But so close 
to the volcano no glacier could have 
escaped a thick covering of the omni- 
present ash. We concluded, therefore, 
that it must be a mass of mud which 
had rolled down the volcano after the 
ashfall. 

Later, when we visited it, its structure 
confirmed this theory. Sections cut by 
a marginal stream showed that it lay 
on top of the strata of ash, proving that it 
had been formed after the ash had fallen. 
Although it was hard and firm, affording 
easy walking, both its structure and its 
form showed clearly that it had reached 
its position in a semi-fluid condition. 
Like a glacier, it had a relatively steep 
front and was convex, highest in the 
middle, turning the drainage off to the 
edges, along each of which a deep canyon 
had been cut. 

But despite the indications that it 
had once been fluid, we saw no mud 
cracks or other evidence of shrinkage 
upon drying out, such as one would have 
expected to find in a mud flow. Its 
length was two and a half miles. Its 
highest part was nearly i ,000 feet above 
sea-level, from which point it sloped 
gradually to about 300 feet at the base. 

We were not able to estimate its thick- 
ness so well, but along the edge where it 



was cut into by the stream a section 
about 50 feet thick was exposed. In 
the middle it may have been much 
thicker, both on account of the convexity 
of the surface and the greater depth of 
the valley floor. 

FIRST CROSSING OF KATMAI RIVER 

The river, as it debouched from its 
canyon into the wide valley, spread out 
in a dozen streams over the broad fan of 
gravel that had been carried out of the 
canyon. These leaping, ever-changing 
streams were the most serious obstacle 
we encountered in all our exploration of 
the district. 

The quicksands may be more danger- 
ous, as their passage is certainly more 
fatiguing, but the force of these torrents 
so overpowers a man that his strength is 
useless against their rush. We were 
naturally anxious to cross over and 
explore the mudflow, whose outlandish 
appearance excited our keenest curiosity. 
Procuring strong poles we started out. 
From a little distance the streams looked 
easy enough, but when we waded in we 
found the current more than we could 
stand against. 

It- was extremely hard to lodge our 
poles against the bottom or to maintain 
our balance while we shifted our props. 
We could hear the ominous roar of great 
bowlders, rolled along with the current. 
Smaller stones were continually bumping 
against our shins. Wherever we set our 
feet the bottom had a most disconcerting 
way of washing out from under us. In 
the first attempt both Fulton and I went 
down helpless. Luckily, the packing of 
our cameras kept them dry, but we 
came so near to disaster that we dared 
not try it again. 

LATER EXPERIENCES IN CROSSING THE 
RIVER 

During the winter of preparation for 
the next expedition, I racked my brains 
and sought counsel from all my friends 
for some device by which this river could 
be mastered. The streams were too 
wide and too changeable to permit 



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ALPINE GLOW ON MOUNT MARTLN 
Under the last rays of a setting sun a few small fumaroles are still discernible in the shadowy Valley. 



Ill 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 

FUMAROLES AT THE FOOT OF FALLING MOUNTAIN 
Seen from Greased Hill between Baked and Broken Mountains. 



IV 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



97 



bridging, even if the expedition could 
have summoned force enough to bring 
the necessary logs into position. The 
best expedient we could devise was a 
rope, which was used throughout the 
summer of 191 6. 

One man took a long rope upstream, 
while a second tied the other end around 
his shoulders, and, bracing himself with 
the rope held on the bank, slowly worked 
his way across. After the first man was 
over, it was comparatively easy for the 
others to slip along the rope, held taut 
on both banks. The last man had the 
advantage of using the rope as a radius, 
swinging downstream. 

Even with this assistance, the ford 
had to be chosen with extreme care. If 
we tried a place where the water was too 
strong, the man on the rope went down 
and had to be hauled ashore like a fish. 
Such an accident is great sport for those 
on the bank, but one of the most horrible 
of experiences for the man in the water. 
As he goes down, struggling his hardest, 
a sickening realization of utter impotence 
comes over him. Despite the strong 
rope, he is sure he is lost and feels all the 
terrors of a drowning man. 

We gave the problem renewed con- 
sideration in planning the expedition of 
191 7, and after watching motion pic- 
tures of boats in the Grand Canyon, 
decided that a boat might be used here, 
although the problem was very different, 
namely that of holding a boat against 
the current, rather than of merely drift- 
ing with it. As an experiment, therefore, 
we procured a folding canvas boat. 

It was with great interest that we 
awaited an opportunity to try it at 
Martin Creek, which is so swift that 
neither oars nor poles could be used. 
The procedure was to fasten a line to the 
bow, with which the boat could be held 
against the current. Then, by means of 
a "gee string" attached to the line a few 
feet from the bow, the man in the boat 
could turn it into the current, forcing the 
water to push it across the stream, just 
as a kite rises when the wind strikes it at 
an angle. The thing worked perfectly, 



except that it was hard to land. The first 
time I tried, the boat steered out across 
the channel close to the opposite shore, 
but there it stopped and could not be 
made to go farther. I had forgotten 
that the current slackens against the 
bank, and I suddenly found the power cut 
off almost within arm's length of the goal. 
Here was a predicament, and not until 
one of the men had foundered the boat 
in an effort to jump ashore was a solution 
found. Even close in, the water was too 
swift for oars or poles. So we decided to 
try grappling. Throwing an improvised 
anchor ashore, we could catch hold in 
the gravel and pull ourselves in. 

WAITING FOR A SIGHT OF THE VOLCANOES 
THROUGH THE CLOUDS 

Katmai River so nearly overpowered 
us on our first crossing in 19 15 that we 
dared not risk another attempt, and so 
gave up all expectation of exploring the 
volcano that year. But we still hoped 
at least to get pictures of it. Up to that 
time it had never been photographed nor 
even described. 

The clouds which shut us in as we 
first came up the valley continued to 
hang low without any sign of breaking 
throughout the next day. All that night 
and the next I peeked out under the side 
of the tent at frequent intervals, to make 
sure that we should not miss a sight of 
the mountain if it cleared for a few 
moments. But there was no change 
and we waited on all through the third 
day. As the hours passed, anxiety grew 
into fear that we might be altogether 
cheated. In this country I had often 
seen the clouds hang unbroken for a week 
around much lower mountains than these, 
and I knew it was not at all unlikely that 
our slender food would be exhausted 
before the sky cleared. 

But finally the clouds lifted, slowly at 
first, and then with a sweep. At the 
head of the valley stood the 1,000-foot 
cliffs which guard the entrance to the 
inner canyon of Katmai River, while 
behind us, towering aloft over inaccessi- 
ble precipices, the summits of Slide and 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



99 



Avalanche Mountains themselves pre- 
sented spectacles fine enough to command 
attention in any other setting. But 
here they were eclipsed, for on the other 
side lay the whole chain of glacier-covered 
volcanoes in a continuous series, broken 
only by Katmai Pass, whose 2,500 feet 
looked low indeed by comparison. 

A SECOND NEW VOLCANO, TRIDENT 

Farthest to the westward stood Martin 
(see page 1 80) , shooting a column of white 
vapor a mile into the air; next the three- 
peaked summit of Mageik (see page 80), 
covered with a mantle of freshly fallen 
snow; then, beyond Katmai Pass, an- 
other volcano which we named Trident; 
and at the end of the line, Katmai. 

Trident was a lofty mountain (altitude 
6,790 feet) which from our position 
showed three peaks, suggesting the name. 
The whole mountain was clearly vol- 
canic, but it was much eroded, leaving 
little indication of the crater from which 
the lavas composing it had come. 

Evidently it had not been active for a 
long time, until, in the general shake-up 
accompanying the recent eruption, a small 
fissure had opened on the flank toward 
us. From this issued a thin column of 
smoke that often rose 3,000 feet or more 
before dissolving (see page 98). 

Between Trident and Mageik lay Kat- 
mai Pass, which, though in - no wise 
interesting as a piece of scenery, excited 
our curiosity because of its historic 
interest as the route of the gold seekers 
at the time of the Nome stampede. 

Could we have known what lay beyond 
it, awaiting our discovery, we would have 
studied its contours with even greater 
interest. Although reputed difficult and 
dangerous, it looked very easy from our 
position. 

FIRST SIGHT OF MOUNT KATMAI 

Finally, east of Trident, stood Katmai 
Itself at the end of the visible portion of 
the range. But how different from the 
Katmai of former days! 

Before the eruption it must have 
dominated the country round about as 



Mageik does now, for although much less 
favorably located than Mageik, it was 
given the name of the town, as were 
Katmai River and Katmai Pass. It 
must have been the dominant mountain 
of the district, but the first glance showed 
how completely it had been eviscerated 
in the eruption. 

Thie three-peaked summit, formerly 
towering 7,500 feet high, was entirely 
blown away, leaving a great crescentic 
rim at the top of the stub. We could 
not then suspect the stupendous magni- 
tude of the crater that lay within, but it 
was evident at once that it was of enor- 
mous proportions (see pages 100 and 168). 

It must be confessed that at first sight 
the appearance of this broken cone was 
somewhat disappointing. Its great bulk 
so reduced its apparent height that our 
first estimates of its altitude had to be 
increased by half, as we compared it 
more carefully with Trident and Mageik, 
whose elevation we knew. No snow was 
visible anywhere on its slopes when we 
first beheld it, and the dirty ash-covered 
surface suffered in comparison with the 
glistening snow fields of Mageik. 

The slopes were gentle and the ascent 
looked easy. But as we studied them 
with our glasses we saw that the absence 
of snow and ice was only apparent. 
Even from our station at a distance of 
five miles we could see that a large part 
of the mountain was covered with gla- 
ciers, whose yawning crevasses we could 
make out, despite the heavy mantle of 
ash which concealed the ice. 

Remembering our experience with 
melting snowdrifts beneath the ash, whose 
treacherous caverns we still feared greatly, 
we decided that the risk of climbing 
without an alpine rope was too great to 
undertake. We made use of our op- 
portunities for observation, however, by 
studying the slopes, both to pick out for 
future use the best route to the rim and 
to ascertain something of the structure 
of the mountain. 

The first glimpse of the volcanoes 
sufficed to reveal something of their 
character and to suggest a number of 



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100 



i 4) 9 



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DEVASTATION IN KATMAI VALLEY 



lOI 



considerations which subsequent study 
enabled us to confirm. From their out- 
line alone it was evident that previous to 
the recent outburst none of them had 
ever suffered a major eruption of the 
explosive type. 

VOLCANOES ALL OBVIOUSLY PILES OF 
LAVA RATHER THAN CINDER CONES 

Nowhere in the district are there any 
decapitated mountains or old craters 
such as would have been left by a 
great explosion. These mountains, more- 
over, showed little resemblance to the 
typical steep-sided cones formed by alter- 
nating deposits of fragmental cinders and 
fluid lava, like Shishaldin or Fujiyama. 

On the contrary, their round domes 
and gentle slopes were built up almost 
entirely by successive lava flows, with- 
out the intermixture of any considerable 
amount of pumiceous material. Some 
of the other cones, like Cerberus, not 
visible from our position, were indeed 
steep enough to remind one of cinder 
cones, but an examination proved that 
they, too, were built of compact lava, 
probably squeezed out in a nearly solid 
condition like the well-known spine of 
Pel6e. 

* This statement refers only to the lavas of the 
present volcanic cycle. The numerous lavas of 



The lavas were poured out on a plat- 
form of sedimentary rocks, Jurassic 
sandstones and shales, which suffered re- 
markably little change in the formation 
of the volcanoes. In many places their 
strata are bent up against the flanks of 
the volcanoes, as though blistered up by 
the injection of a mass of magma beneath, 
but otherwise they still lie in nearly 
horizontal layers, almost as they were 
laid down on the former sea bottom. 

Not only the type of eruption but the 
composition of the lavas of the district 
has been remarkably constant from the 
beginning of their activities up to the 
present eruption.* All the specimens 
examined are basic andesite approaching 
basalt in composition. 

In view of the uniformity of the ancient 
lavas, the strikingly differeni; character 
of the ejecta of the recent eruption, which 
is an acid rhyolite with a high silica con- 
tent, is interesting. 

This sharp contrast between old and 
new lavas has made possible some very 
instructive petrological studies, which bid 
fair to carry us farther in an understand- 
ing of what really happened in the erup- 
tion than any other line of evidence, as 
detailed in Chapter xxii. 

old Tertiary volcanoes round about have not 
been studied extensively. 



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IX 



THE KATMAI FLOOD 



When we first landed on the shore of 
Katmai Bay, we found the countryside 
ravaged by a great flood whose waters 
were just subsiding. The whole flat six 
miles wide had been covered with water. 
Considering the enormous volume of 
water necessary to inundate a valley 
opening freely to the sea, we might 
have realized that such a flood was a 
very unusual occurrence. 

But we would not have been surprised 
at anything we might have encountered 
in that weird country where so many 
physiographic relations were turned top- 
sy-turvy. We did not therefore recognize 
at once that the flood was an altogether 
unprecedented event. 

Even before our landing we began to 
observe the evidences of this flood, for 
we found Katmai Bay full of uprooted 
trees, bushes, and fields of floating pum- 
ice, which had but recently been brought 
down by the flood waters. 

The soft sticky mud previously men- 
tioned made it difficult for us to find a 
suitable place for our tent. The bed of 
pumice that we finally selected was in- 
deed only freshly floated into place by 
an eddy in the waters. It was possible 
as a camp site only because its loose 
porous character readily permitted the 
water to drain through it. We were in 
constant fear, however, lest the water 
should suddenly rise again in the night 
and drive us out. 

EXCEPTIONAL HEIGHT OF FLOOD EVI- 
DENCED BY CONDITION OF KATMAI 
VILLAGE 

When we came to explore the remains 
of Katmai Village, to which, fortunately, 
the people had not been permitted to 
return after the eruption, the magnitude 
of the flood was impressed on us as it 
could not have been on the brush-covered 
flats. 



Here we found that the little Russian 
church in which the people had wor- 
shipped for years without interruption 
had been floated loose from its foundations 
and left standing in a sea of mud. The 
high-water mark could be plainly seen 
across the front, about nine feet above 
the normal river level (see page 104). 

Some of the native houses were solidly 
packed with pumice, full to the eaves. 
Some had been completely submerged, 
as might be seen by the stranded pumice 
which had washed on to their roofs. The 
roof of one had floated away from the 
body of the house and lay at a little 
distance. 

It was evident enough to us, as we 
looked about the village, that the build- 
ers of the houses had not contemplated 
the danger of any such flood, for there 
had been no effort to select high ground. 
On the contrary, convenience to the 
landing place and shelter from the winds 
had apparently been the most important 
factors in the choice of building sites. 
This was the more significant because of 
the manner of construction of the native 
"barabaras." These are semi-dugouts 
with their rooms deeply excavated in 
the ground and, therefore, require a 
well-drained site far more urgently than 
an ordinary house, built above the 
ground. 

Directly in front of the houses had 
been the landing place. Before the 
eruption, boats drawing five feet of 
water had freely crossed the bar and 
anchored at the village; and even after 
the eruption, Martin had succeeded in 
entering the river in a 35-foot schooner. 
But at the time of our visit it was so 
choked with volcanic ash that even the 
main channel was impassable to a row- 
boat. 

Where deep water had been before 
there was now only a maze of shifting 



103 



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104 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by B. B. Fulton 
KATMAI CHURCH STANDING BLEAK IN THE DESOLATE MUD FLATS LEFT BY THE FLOOD 

The high water mark even with the bottom of the bell may still be made out. Some conception 
of the volume of the water necessary to fill the valley to such a level may be gained from the fact that 
the flat valley is six miles wide at this point. Moreover, it opens freely out to sea so that there was 
no barrier to retain the water. 



quicksands, spreading out for five miles 
all the way to the foot of the mountains 
across the valley. Over this vast stretch 
the water was on the whole hardly five 
inches deep, yet the current was so 
strong and the quicksands so treacherous 
that it was equally difficult to ford from 
side to side or to follow the channel. We 
tried once to "track" a light canvas 
canoe up the river, but found it out of 
the question. We also tried to cross 
with skis, which helped considerably 
with the quicksands, but became un- 
manageable in the currents. 

SPECULATING AS TO THE CAUSE OF THE 
FLOOD 

Conditions at the village greatly in- 
creased our respect for the magnitude of 
the flood, but failed to enlighten us as 
to its cause. The volume of water had 
been tremendous, considering the size 



of the watershed, for although the main 
stream is less than 40 miles long and has 
a steep gradient through much of its 
course, the water had filled the whole 
valley, six miles wide, reaching a maxi- 
mum depth of about 10 feet. We knew 
that there had been no general storm 
which could have caused any unusual 
quantity of rain. 

As tide-water towns are rarely affected 
by any floods, except inundations caused 
by incursions of the sea, our first idea 
was that the spring tides which had just 
passed had overwhelmed the land. 

Katmai Valley in particular opens so 
freely out to sea that it seemed impossible 
that anything less than the ocean itself 
could furnish water enough to cover the 
whole of it. A little examination showed 
also that the water had risen many feet 
above any former tide mark. An unusu- 
ally high tide is, however, not a local 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



105 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



KATMAI RIVER AFTER THE FLOOD 



Before the eruption boats drawing as much as five feet of water used to enter the river and anchor 
at this point. A good-sized gas-boat entered the river some months after the eruption, but it is now 
impossible to navigate a rowboat even in the main channels. 



aflfair, and would have affected Kodiak 
as well as Katmai. 

We saw at once, therefore, that the 
flood could not have been tidal, unless, 
indeed, the whole valley had been sunk 
as a result of the eruption. As the con- 
dition of the beach at once negatived 
this possibility, it was evident that the 
water must have come down from the 
mountains, rather than up from the sea. 

We then suspected volcanic rains up 
the valley, for at that time we had no 
knowledge of the condition of the vol- 
canoes. As a matter of fact this hy- 
pothesis was incorrect, and our explora- 
tion of the village left us none the wiser 
as to the real nature of the situation we 
had to face. 

Nevertheless, our examination of the 
village was very reassuring, for in giving 
a better conception of the enormous 
volume of water that had poured down 



the valley, it enabled us to rest a little 
easier in the thought that such a deluge 
would not be likely to come upon us 
unawares. 

This, as it turned out, was not alto- 
gether correct, for the flood must have 
pushed down the valley at a high veloc- 
ity. Everything at the village, how- 
ever, indicated that the flood was an al- 
together unprecedented event, not likely 
to be repeated. This we later found 
more nearly in accord with the facts. 

FLOOD CONFINED TO KATMAI RIVER 

As we explored our way upstream, we 
were surprised to find that the tributaries 
gave no evidence of having participated 
in the flood. When we thus observed 
that, like the smaller brooks, neither 
Soluka Creek on the north nor Martin 
Creek on the south had contributed in 
any way to its waters, our suspicions 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



r-noiOKrapn oy c. v^. ivoid 



A TREE LODGED HIGH UP IN THE BRANCHES BY THE KATMAI FLOOD 
Occurring far down near the mouth of the river this is significant evidence of the volume of water. 



as to its exceptional character were 
strengthened, for all of the water had 
evidently come down from under Mount 
Katmai itself. 

Evidences of damage rapidly increased 
upstream, particularly along the south 
bank of the river. Indeed, one of the 
most striking features of the flood was 
the difference in its action on the opposite 
banks of the river. 

All along the north side of the valley, 
which is the concave side of the great 
curve formed by the river's course, the 
wreckage had evidently been deposited 
only from slack water backed up over 
the flat. But along the convex south 
bank, signs of a strong current were in 
evidence far down toward the mouth of 
the river. Strange as it may seem, the 
high water marks along that bank were 
many feet higher than on the opposite 
bank. Near the south bank, for ex- 
ample, we found a large tree torn up by 
the roots that had floated down through 
the forest and almost out to sea before 
it finally lodged lo feet above the ground 
in the forks of another tree. But on 



the north side, the wreckage consisted 
entirely of logs and sticks, such as could 
be carried by shallow water. 

Upstream, the high water marks gave 
increasingly impressive testimony of the 
enormous volume of water. Just above 
the mouth of Martin Creek it had reached 
25 feet on the slack water (north) bank. 

FOREST UPROOTED AND HEELED OVER 
BEFORE THE WATERS 

The different degrees of violence of the 
flood were well manifested by the vary- 
ing effect on the forest in its path. In 
the outermost zone the trees were simply 
piled high with wreckage, as happens in 
any ordinary freshet. 

In places where the water, though not 
approaching the violence of the center of 
the stream, yet surpassed the power of 
ordinary floods, the trees were laid over 
before the current almost flat to the 
ground. These trees (see page 107) 
were not merely bent over before the 
waters as in an ordinary freshet; they 
were uprooted or broken and partially 
torn loose from the ground. 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



107 



Photograph by J. W. Shipley 
WORK OF THE FLOOD IN A MORE SHELTERED PORTION OF THE VALLEY 

Where the flood waters were not so violent as to completely uproot or break down the forest, the 
trees were laid over before the current for miles at a stretch. The ash in which the trees are buried 
must all have been deposited by the flood itself for it would be impossible to tilt the trunks in this 
way while imbedded in the ground. 



In the later stages of the flood, ash 
and sand were dumped deep around them, 
leaving only their stiff straight tops stick- 
ing out of the smooth plain at an acute 
angle, like the bayonets of an army that 
would deny passage to the invader. 

The exposed tops of these trees bear 
impressive testimony to the abrasive 
action of the flood waters. They were 
deeply scarred by the fragments of pum- 
ice hurled against them by the raging 
current. Often the tips of the branches 
were thus ground into sharp points, 
dangerous to a man traveling upstream. 
The bleached whiteness of these sticks, 
so small as to be inconspicuous at best, 
rendered them almost invisible against 
the background of white ash. 

TREES SHEARED OFF FOR MILES AT A 
STRETCH 

But where the forest lay directly across 
the path of the flood, the violence of the 



waters was too great to admit of the trees 
being uprooted. Here for several miles 
the sudden violent impact of the water 
snapped them off at the level of the 
ground (see pages 100 and 102). One 
would never suspect that these places 
had ever been forested, except where the 
stumps had been exposed by subsequent 
erosion. 

Some of the trees apparently were 
sheared off by bowlders carried along 
by the waters. Others were bent and 
splintered indicating that they were 
twisted off by the direct power of the 
rushing water itself, without the assist- 
ance of rolling bowlders. Occasionally 
later erosion has uncovered and washed 
out the stumps of such trees, but for the 
most part they remain fast in the ground 
where they grew (see page no). 

There is another zone, where annihila- 
tion was still more complete — the area 
where the trees were completely extir- 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



THE QUICKSANDS OF KATMAI RIVER 



After our experience in Soluka Creek none of us was willing to try crossing the river, but it probably 

could be done. 



pated, root and branch. But, since no 
one knows the country as it was before 
the eruption, it is impossible to guess 
how extensive this zone of complete 
destruction may have been. There is, 
however, good reason for the belief that 
trees once occupied considerable areas 
which now show no evidence of ever 
having supported vegetation. 

A 250,000-POUND BOWLDER PICKED UP 
BY THE FLOOD 

The head of the flat, where the river 
debouches from Katmai Canyon, is 
covered with a great train of bowlders, 
carried by the waters and spread for a 
distance of two or three miles down the 
broad valley. The general distribution 
of these bowlders is similar to that of the 
bowlder trains to be found along any 
mountain stream. 

What is peculiar here is the great size 
of the rocks. Many are 10 feet in di- 
ameter, and a few considerably larger. 
The largest of all measures 56 feet (17 
meters) in circumference. Although only 
7 feet (2 meters) of this bowlder is visi- 
ble above the present surface of the 



ground, it is probable that there is as 
much more below ground. The sand 
plain in which it lies is also a product of 
the flood, having probably been built up 
several feet above the original surface 
by deposits from the falling waters, as 
may be seen by the half-buried trees in 
the picture (see page no). 

It is altogether likely, therefore, that 
the big bowlder rests on the ground in 
which the trees were rooted. It is, 
moreover, composed of compact heavy 
lava (specific gravity 2.5), and so nearly 
spherical as to present a minimum sur- 
face for the waters to take hold of. 
A little computation shows that its 
weight is between 200,000 and 300,000 
pounds. 

That such enormous rocks had actu- 
ally been transported long distances by 
a current of water, however, was not 
easily to be credited. Only after we had 
gone over the situation carefully did we 
permit ourselves to accept such a con- 
clusion. 

At first sight, one would be inclined to 
assign a glacial origin to these bowlders, 
for to a glacier their size would offer no 



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THE KATMAl FLOOD 



109 



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FREAK OF THE FLOOD 



Bowlders washed up on top of a bed of ash which was later sectioned by a stream. Under ordinary 
conditions the soft sandy ash bank would have melted away at the first touch of the water, but in 
the rush of the flood it stood undisturbed by waters capable of carrying large stones. One rock so de- 
posited measured 5 by 3 by 2 feet. 



such obstacle as to running water. But 
their distribution does not conform to 
that of a glacial terrane ; they occur exclu- 
sively over a fan-shaped area radiating 
from the mouth of the canyon, and are 
altogether absent from the sides of the 
valley, where they would inevitably have 
been strewn by a glacier. 

Moreover, we later found places where 
a relatively insignificant flood from Ma- 
geik Creek had rolled large bowlders up 
against the trees in such a way as to 
leave positive proof of what had hap- 
pened. The Great Flood was so much 
more violent that it had destroyed those 
evidences of its action which are left 
behind in an ordinary freshet. 

A TEMPORARY NIAGARA OVER AN 
OBSTRUCTING RIDGE 

Farther upstream, where the valley is 
about half a mile wide, it is thwarted by 
a transverse ridge of rock stretching al- 
most across it like a baflle. At ordinary 
stages the river winds from one side of 
the valley to the other, around the ridge. 



But the marks left behind show that the 
swift rush of the flood abandoned the 
ordinary channel, for over most of the 
ridge, the ash and soil had been washed 
away, exposing the bedrock beneath and 
showing that the flood waters rose clear 
over the obstruction. 

At each side were clear-cut high-water 
marks, where the ash layers had been 
left untouched by the water. As it 
poured over this ridge, the flood formed 
a tremendous waterfall, a thousand feet 
wide and a hundred feet high (see pages 
112 and 114). 

Observing that these dimensions are 
inferior to Niagara, the reader may have 
concluded that my caption, ** A Tempo- 
rary Niagara,*' is not justified. If I may 
anticipate a little, however, I may state 
that when our survey was carried up the 
canyon we found that the ** flood-fall,'" 
while it lasted, had greatly surpassed 
Niagara in the volume of its discharge. 

At one side of the flood-fall a deep hole, 
which still retained a pool of clear water^ 
had been excavated, offering us a most 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 
A FLOOD-BORNE BOWLDER WEIGHING OVER A HUNDRED TONS 

This lava bowlder was carried a mile and a half out of the canyon on to the flat: In the back- 
ground the broken forest sheared off at the level of the ground when the flood struck. 



welcome opportunity for a plunge in a 
country where bathing facilities are few 
and far between. It was here that we 
came upon the first decisive indications 
of the nature of the flood. 

It had evidently consisted of a single 
quick terrible wave, rather than any 
long-continued inundation. So sudden 
had been the rush of the waters and so 
quickly had they subsided, that in many 
places they had not removed all the soil 
from the rock on the ridge, but had left 
behind considerable masses of earth 
and hardpan, which must soon have 
crumbled away if the action of the water 
had been long continued. 

A RIVER WHOSE BOTTOM WAS HIGHER 
THAN ITS BANKS 

The crest of the rock ridge is not level, 
but shows an irregular profile. At the 
right is a low notch directly above the 
pool, which, by drawing an increased 



flow of water, was doubtless responsible 
for the excavation of a hole at that point 
(see page m). 

Beyond this is a high place which 
stood up out of the water, as shown by 
its cap of ash undisturbed by the current. 
At the left the ridge gradually sinks to the 
level of the river bed. We were aston- 
ished to find that this, the lowest part of 
the ridge, marked (A) in the picture, also 
had a cap of undisturbed ash, showing 
that the water had never risen over it. 
All around it is a clear high-water mark, 
indicating absolutely the edge of the 
stream. This high-water mark is no less 
than 40 feet lower than the hill to the 
right, from which the water washed all 
the soil (see page 112). 

That is to say, the water rushed over a 
high hill in the middle of the ridge but 
did not overflow the lower ground at the 
side. In other words, the bottom of the 
stream was 40 feet higher than its bank! 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



III 



Photograph by D. B. Church 
A NEARER VIEW OF THE RIGHT HALF OF THE FLOOD FALL, SHOWING THE POOL EX- 
CAVATED BY THE FALLING WATER 

A man is posted at the high water mark to the left. 



The bottom of the stream, as shown in 
the photograph, stands at an angle 15 
degrees above the horizontal, as seen 
from the shore. To this must be added 
a further elevation to allow for the depth 
of the water over the rock, which must 
have been considerable, amounting by 
the least calculation to several degrees. 
I have sketched in by dotted lines on the 
photograph the approximate ''level*' 
held by the surface of the water. The 
figures are the elevations of the several 
parts of the flood-fall in feet above sea- 
level, as determined by triangulation by 
our topographer, C. F. Maynard. 

If one had been so fortunate as to be 
standing on the end of the ridge, at the 
point marked A in the photograph 
(page 114), he would have seen literally 
a mountain of water rising far above 
him, yet never ''seeking its level" nor 
overflowing the lower ground on which 
he stood, and could have remained in 
safety till it was past! But if on hearing 



the warning roar of the flood water up 
the canyon, and realizing the danger, he 
had attempted to escape by climbing up 
the ridge on to the higher ground, he 
would have been swept to destruction ! 

Incredible as this may seem, even in 
the face of photographic evidence, yet 
it is to be explained by perfectly well- 
known principles of hydraulics, whose 
operation on a small scale is familiar to 
everyone. 

Whenever the stopper is pulled out of 
a wash bowl, the water swirling around 
the vortex is driven altogether out of the 
center of the whirlpool. The centrifugal 
force becomes greater than the weight 
of the water, which is displaced accord- 
ingly. 

It is seldom that this familiar behavior 
of water may be observed on a large 
scale, because neither high velocities nor 
sharp turns are met with in ordinary 
streams. But the flood rushed down the 
canyon at such speed that it could not 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



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make the turn around the ridge, and so 
ran over it, swelling up especially on the 
outer side of the curve. 

This is, however, only part of the 
story, for it was observed that the high- 
water mark was 15 feet higher against 
the rock in midstream than against 
the outside bank (see page 114). The 
stream must, therefore, have bowed up 
in the middle. This also is a very well- 
known phenomenon to students of hy- 
draulics, but is less familiar to most of 
us because of our limited experience with 
swiftly running streams. 

The fact is, however, that any very 
swift stream in a clear channel bulges up 
in the middle. The reason is that fric- 
tion retards the flow so much at the edges 
that the water piles up in the middle, 
where the path is open. One rarely has 
the opportunity of observing such be- 
havior in a great river, even in flood, 
but in the rapid Alaskan streams it is 
by no means uncommon on a smaller 
scale. 

In the swift channels of Katmai River, 
which gave us so much trouble in fording, 
the water frequently stood a foot higher 
in the middle than at the edges, so that 
we often saw the profile of the current of 
rushing water against the skyline before 
the restraining banks came into view. 

In a stream with such tremendous 
velocity as the Katmai Flood, this bulg- 
ing up in the middle would, of course, 
be much greater than in the channels of 
a small river. The evidence that it 
occurred should not, therefore, excite 
particular surprise. 

A FREAK OF THE FLOOD 

Below the fall, and especially around 
the edge of the pool, the water had 
washed up a considerable quantity of 
coarse shingle. This was like the gravel 
brought down by any freshet, except 
that the stones were larger. 

The remarkable thing about it was its 
position. It had been laid up on top of 
ash that still lay undisturbed as it fell. 
Since the ash here has the character of 
coarse, light, loose sand, it melts away 



at the first touch of a current of water 
under any ordinary conditions. 

That a flood capable of carrying good- 
sized stones should have left untouched 
a sand bank seems impossible. But 
here, laid neatly up on top of such a 
sand bank, was not only a pile of gravel, 
but also stones of large size. Lava cob- 
bles, a foot in diameter, were numerous 
and there was one block of sandstone 
measuring 5x3x2 feet. 

The largest of these bowlders were not 
so situated that their relations could be 
shown by a photograph, but in another 
place far downstream we found a bed of 
cobbles similarly deposited on top of the 
stratified ash in a position that could 
be shown clearly in a picture (see page 
109). 

Folsom and I, who were alone at the 
time of our first visit to the place, found 
ourselves in complete disagreement as 
to the origin of this shingle. From the 
crest of the fall, where the origin of the 
bowlders was clear, I had concluded 
that the stones must be flood-borne. 
Folsom had remained below, on one of 
the largest bowlders, where the difficul- 
ties of such an interpretation were more 
manifest. When I told him that the 
stone on which he sat had been left on 
the sand bank by the flood, he burst into 
violent opposition. "Nothing of the 
sort could be possible." 

"Yes,'' I told him, "I know perfectly 
well that it looks impossible; but, never- 
theless, there is unquestionable proof 
that it actually occurred." 

He could not believe it; so I asked him 
to explain how else the bowlders could 
have reached their present position, and 
we began to go over the ground step by 
step. The only possible alternative was 
that the stones had rolled down from the 
mountain side. 

But a little examination showed this 
hypothesis untenable. They were far 
from the base of the cliff. They were 
located in one definite hollow, surrounded 
by a clear high-water mark, and separated 
from the talus of the cliff by a long inter- 
val of bare ash. Many of the cobbles 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



"5 



were of dark lava, whereas the cliflf was 
composed of light-colored rock. Most 
of the cobbles were clearly water-worn, 
and bore a very different appearance 
from the angular blocks of the talus. 

If the bowlders had lain on an ordinary 
bed of sand, we might have supposed 
that the sand had been deposited by the 
receding waters afterward, but here they 
lay on top of the undisturbed ash, still 
regularly stratified as it had fallen during 
the eruption three years before the flood. 

It was, therefore, impossible to inter- 
pret the bowlders otherwise than as 
flood debris; and in the end, though 
neither Folsom nor I could comprehend 
how the thing had been accomplished, 
we came into complete agreement as to 
what had happened. 

As we came gradually to a fuller 
comprehension of the magnitude and 
power of the flood, we were more and 
more thankful for the good luck that had 
delayed our landing. If we had landed 
a week earlier, we would almost inevi- 
tably have been overwhelmed, for our 
work kept us on the flats and there would 
have been no time to escape. Even if 
by a lucky chance we had been on the 
hills out of reach of the waters, our stores 
would have been washed away and the 
expedition would have been so crippled 
that we should probably never have 
been able to go on with the exploration, 
which was finally to lead us into the 
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. 

FLOOD CAUSED BY THE ESCAPE OF WATER 
IMPOUNDED BY A LANDSLIDE 

While we studied the ravages of the 
flood, our minds were busy with specula- 
tions as to its cause, and as we traveled 
up the valley and saw increasing evi- 
dence of the localization of its source, 
one after another of our hypotheses had 
to be discarded. 

When the evidence began not only to 
point to a very local source, but to indi- 
cate that it had lasted but a very short 
time, there seemed to remain only one 
possible explanation . Apparently a lake 
somewhere up the canyon, dammed in 



perhaps by material from the eruption, 
had burst its banks and deluged the 
valley. This was, however, merely a 
speculative hypothesis, and so remained 
for two years. 

It was not until 19 17 that we were able 
to penetrate the canyon and examine the 
Second Valley and the Katmai Lakes, 
which, meanwhile, we had discovered 
from the mountain top. 

When we finally made our way up 
through the canyon, we found, high up 
on the slopes of Katmai, a thousand-foot 
cliff of bright, new, unweathered red 
rock, where the mountain side was 
gouged out by a great slide. This, fall- 
ing into the canyon, had formed an im- 
' mense dam, which, after holding for 
three years, had yielded just before we 
landed, causing the tremendous flood. 

The material that broke loose was a 
great mass of ancient lava, which, hav- 
ing originated in the crater above, was 
flowing down the slopes of the volcano 
when it solidified. It thus probably 
occupied an unstable position which may 
have been rendered still more unstable 
by undercutting from the river, so that 
it was easily shaken down by the earth- 
quakes preliminary to the eruption. 

That it broke loose just before the 
eruption was indicated by the fact that 
its surface was everywhere covered by 
the layers of ash as they fell after the 
great explosions. In this case, there was 
apparently only one major slide, for 
there were no indications of the contin- 
uous activity so prominent in Falling 
Mountain and Noisy Mountain. 

Although all the material came from 
what looks from below like a relatively 
small area of the cliff^, it piled up in the 
valley to a depth of over 400 feet, and 
spread up and down the canyon for 
about a mile, making a flat, low dam 
capable of resisting much more pressure 
from the water than a less massive barrier. 

THE SLIDE OCCURRED AT A NATURAL DAM 
SITE, IMPOUNDING A LAKE OF 95O ACRES 

By a curious coincidence this landslide 
occurred at precisely that point which an 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



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engineer would have selected for a dam 
site, if he had desired to construct a 
reservoir of maximum capacity with a 
dam of minimum size. 

The configuration pf the valley is most 
peculiar, for just above the slide the 
narrow canyon gives way to a second 
broad flat valley in which a very large 
quantity of water could be held by a 
relatively small dam in the canyon. 
This very remarkable combination of 
circumstances greatly augmented the 
magnitude of the flood. 

If the valley had been a normal drain- 
age system, gradually narrowing to the 
head-waters, the volume of water im- 
pounded would have been small and 
capable of doing relatively little damage 
when the dam went out. Indeed, Ma- 
geik Creek furnished an example of just 
this condition, for a slide also dammed 
up its canyon. But, in this case the 
lake, although probably 500 feet deep, 
was so small that almost all of its energy 
was consumed in destroying the dam, 
and as a consequence the flood of Mageik 
Creek was comparatively gentle. 

In the broad expansion of Katmai 
Valley above the dam there is abundant 
evidence of the former presence of the 
flood lake which it impounded. Across 
the base of the mountain is clearly 
drawn the line marking the beach left 
by the waves of the former lake. This 
shore line is 210 feet above the level of 
the present Katmai Lake. Our survey 
showed that at this level the lake covered 
no less than 950 acres. Its maximum 
depth was about 400 feet, and the quan- 
tity of water impounded more than 8,000 
millions of cubic feet (see page 120). 

THE PROBABLE CONDITION OF THE DAM 

Conditions in the Second Katmai 
Valley, where the upper lake is retained 
behind the slide from Noisy Mountain 
(see page 127), presumably give a fair 
idea of the character of the dam that 
held back the flood. The slide debris 
was probably loose and porous, allowing 
a great amount of water to seep through 
and appear below as large springs. 



The probability is that the dam held 
for some time after the reservoir was full, 
for the break coincided with a period of 
unusually hot weather, when the heavy 
snow-melt had raised the waters of the 
lake to an abnormal level, giving them 
an increased head which enabled them 
to cut into their bed and remove the 
slide. 

No evidence remains to indicate ex- 
actly how the dam broke, but when the 
waters had done their work the central 
portion had been cut away. In its place 
remained a trench as straight and dean- 
cut as though excavated by man to 
carry some great engineering work, like 
the Panama Canal (see page 116). 

Indeed, I can find nothing with which 
to compare it except the Culebra Cut. 
It is, to be sure, only about half as large, 
involving the excavation of some 33 
million cubic yards of material, as com- 
pared with the 53 millions called for by 
the original estimate at Culebra. 

KATMAI CANYON FILLED WITH COBBLES 
MANY FEET DEEP 

The power of the waters was not suffi- 
cient to cut down through the dam to 
the original level of the canyon floor. 
Not only did the **head" of the rushing 
flood decrease as the water was drawn 
off from the reservoir, but an immense 
amount of debris from the dam itself ac- 
cumulated in the canyon below, so that 
before the lake had been emptied a bar- 
rier was formed sufficiently strong to re- 
tain the remainder of the water, which 
forms the present lower Katmai Lake. 

The present flat gravel floor of the 
canyon was formed from the remains 
of the dam. Probably nothing at all 
similar existed before the catastrophe. 

A knowledge of conditions here before 
the flood would be of great service, not 
only because of our direct interest in the 
effect of the flood itself, but because the 
canyon is the key to the unraveling of 
much of the geological history of the 
volcano and surrounding country. But, 
as there seems to be little hope of finding 
a record of antecedent conditions, we are 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



119 



reduced in this, as in so many other 
matters, to speculation. 

The Katmai Flood was of an order of 
magnitude so far beyond the floods fa- 
miliar to residents of the Mississippi Val- 
ley, for example, that there is need of 
comparing it with other catastrophes of 
the same sort, to gain some perspective 
by which its rank may be judged. 

THIRTY-FIVE TIMES AS GREAT AS THE 
JOHNSTOWN FLOOD 

For everyone who, like the writer, grew 
up in the northeastern United States, the 
Johnstown Flood will always remain 
the standard of comparison by which all 
similar events are to be measured. This 
is generally considered to have been the 
greatest flood disaster of history. 

A reservoir impounding 640 million 
cubic feet of water, forming a lake 400 
acres in extent, was held by a dam about 
400 feet above the city of Johnstown, 
which was 12 miles distant in a narrow 
but winding valley. On May 31, 1889 
the dam broke. Everything within the 
path of the waters was dashed to de- 
struction. The exact number of victims 
could never be ascertained, for few of the 
bodies were recovered ; but it is certain 
that between 10,000 and 15,000 people 
lost their lives. 

Every tree within reach of the water 
was destroyed root and branch. Di- 
mension stones of bridge abutments 
were not only carried away, but so 
ground up that they could no longer be 
distinguished from the cobbles of the 
stream. Credible witnesses reported 
that of the bricks from the destroyed 
buildings not one-twentieth part could 
be found after the flood, the rest having 
been ground to powder in the waters. 
The locomotives in a roundhouse struck 
by the waters were scattered far and 
wide. Some were found at variable dis- 
tances up to 1,500 feet away, but several 
were carried off bodily and were never 
found. One man, standing in a three 
story window, saw one of these "come 
dancing along the top of the flood 30 
feet from the ground." 



Such accounts give but a faint idea 
of what the Katmai Flood would have 
done in a populous valley. For the 
Katmai Flood was much greater than 
that of Johnstown. The volume of the 
water was twelve and one-half times as 
great, and its fall nearly three times as 
much, giving the waters a total energy 
(which is the measure of the magnitude 
of the flood), thirty-five times as great! 

THE GREAT GOHNA FLOOD 

Although the Johnstown Flood was 
the most disastrous in the annals of 
engineering, both it and the Katmai 
Flood were surpassed in magnitude by 
the Gohna Flood of 1895 in India. Like 
the Katmai Flood, this was caused by a 
gigantic landslide, which formed a dam 
900 feet high, impounding more than 
16,000 million cubic feet of water. 

When the dam broke 10,000 million 
cubic feet of this water was discharged in 
the space of four hours, producing a flood 
260 feet high. Thirteen miles down- 
stream the flood was 160 feet high (as 
compared with 30 feet at Johnstown 12 
miles below the dam) ; 50 miles below it 
rose 113 feet; 72 miles downstream it 
attained 42 feet; at Hardwar, 150 miles 
away, its height was still ii feet. 

In the upper part of its course the 
Gohna Flood filled the valley with gravel 
to a depth of no less than 234 feet, while 
13 miles below, the river bed was raised 
50 feet. As at Katmai, the basin was 
not completely drained, a permanent 
lake, two miles long, one mile wide, and 
300 feet deep, being left. 

But, although the Gohna Flood was 
much greater than the Johnstown, and, 
like it, occurred in a populous valley, it 
stands in great contrast in that not a 
single life was lost, except that of a 
Hindu fakir who persisted in returning to 
the danger zone after being forcibly 
removed twice. 

Profiting, perhaps, by the fresh mem- 
oriesof the Johnstown disaster, the British 
engineers began the task of dealing with 
the anticipated flood almost as soon as 
the landslide occurred. 



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THE KATMAI FLOOD 



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By means of a careful survey they 
were enabled two years before to predict 
to within ten days the time when the 
flood would occur. They constructed a 
telegraph line down the valley to spread 
the warning and erected a series of monu- 
ments, above which the people could 
rest in the assurance of safety. By 
these means they converted an otherwise 
inevitable disaster into a triumph for 
civilization and engineering. 

AX ESTIMATE OF THE VIOLENCE OF THE 
KATMAI FLOOD 

Without going further, these compari- 
sons will enable us to fix with sufficient 
accuracy the rank of the Katmai Flood. 
While not the greatest of recorded floods, 
it nmst evidently stand well up in the 
front rank among such catastrophes. 

In one respect, indeed, it should be 
given first place; that is, in the violence 
of its waters as they issued from Katmai 
Canyon. Conditions here are almost 
unique, for the narrow, clean-cut, nearly 
straight rock canyon offered a minimum 
of resistance (see page Ii8). The vol- 
ume of the water, as compared with the 
quantity of material that had to be moved 
in opening the passage through the dam, 
was also very large, so that little of its 
energy was expended in clearing a path. 

The velocity of the waters as they 
issued from the canyon must, therefore, 
have been terrific. I have tried in some 
way to get a numerical valuation of this 
velocity, but find it difficult because 
engineers have never had experience 
with such enormous torrents. After the 
Johnstown Flood, the editor of the 
"Engineering News** estimated on theo- 
retical grounds that half of the energy of 
the rushing waters was consumed in 
friction, leaving the remaining energy 
free to accelerate the speed of the water. 
This estimate he found in close agree- 
ment with the actual rate of flow as 
recorded by observers on the ground. 

If half the energy of the water. was 



consumed by friction at Johnstown, prob- 
ably a smaller amount was so expended 
at Katmai because of the smoother, 
straighter, deeper channel and the much 
greater volume of water. It will, there- 
fore, give us a conservative value of the 
velocity of the flood if we assume that 
friction consumed as much energy here as 
at Johnstown. On this basis the waters 
as they issued from the canyon must 
have been running about lOO feet per 
second, or nearly 70 miles per hour. 

In these days of automobiles and air- 
planes, 60 or 70 miles an hour may not 
appear a very high velocity. As a matter 
of fact, however, a river flowing 60 miles 
an hour is as extraordinary as would be 
an automobile running at three times 
that rate, for flood waters never attain 
such velocities as have become familiar 
to us in other objects. The tremendous 
power manifest in a great river in flood 
is such an impressive thing that almost 
irresistibly one overestimates the speed 
of the current. 

DESTRUCTIVE POWER A MILLION TIMES 
THAT OF A MISSISSIPPI FLOOD 

Although floods are often described as 
running at ''express train speed," an 
examination of the records shows that 
even the destructive floods to which the 
Mississippi and its tributaries are sub- 
ject rarely attain current velocities ex- 
ceeding seven miles per hour (10 feet 
per second). 

The difference in energy between a 
stream running 100 feet a second and 
one running 10 feet a second is so great 
as to be utterly inconceivable. For the 
power of water to carry off obstructions 
in its bed — its destructive capacity — 
varies as the sixth power of its velocity. 
That is to say, if the velocity be doybled, 
the transporting power is increased sixty- 
four times. If, therefore, the Katmai 
Flood ran ten times as fast as a Mis- 
sissippi River flood, its destructive power 
was increased a million times! 



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Photograph by D. B. Church 
CLIMBING OUT OF KATMAI CANYON 
The wall opposite is as high as parts of the Grand Canyon, as beautifully colored, and as precipitous. 



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THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 



During the exploration of the country 
we found ourselves many times in the 
position of the man who on first seeing 
Pike's Peak, from Colorado Springs, 
started out to walk over before breakfast. 

We underestimated the size of almost 
every feature we encountered, and sub- 
sequently had to enlarge our ideas as 
familiarity gave opportunity for better 
judgments or the survey supplied ac- 
curate measurements. 

In no case was this more conspicuously 
true than in our estimate of Katmai 
Canyon. We paid little attention to it 
in the beginning, but when we came into 
a position where we could observe it to 
advantage we realized that it was one of 
the most stupendous features of the 
whole district. 

Our first approach to the canyon was 
by the natural path up the banks of the 
stream. We were soon stopped, how- 
ever, by the meandering river, which 
turned against first one cliff and then the 
other. We tried climbing along the 
precipitous walls, but after some very 
slow and difficult work gave it up and 
sought another route. This we found by 
way of the Katmai mudflow, which made 
an easy path around the obstructions. 

BEAUTIFUL WATERFALLS NEAR THE FOOT 
OF THE CANYON 

Near the head of the mudflow are 
four beautiful waterfalls which my wife, 
when she camped there in 1919, named 
for our four children. Halfway up the 
mudflow a clear brook comes cascading 
over the rocks, a laughing, babbling 
"baby" falls appropriately named, for 
the youngest child, Rosamond's Falls. 

A little farther on a good-sized stream 
comes down from Katmai, leaping the 
cliff at a single bound — 255 feet, we 
found it, by triangulation. Originating 
in the glaciers above, the water is always 



full of silt. Such a muddy fall is quite 
appropriately named for a harum-scarum 
small boy, David's Falls. Rising at one 
side of the notch cut in the mountain side 
by David's Falls is an impressive domed 
cliff of black lava, 1,610 feet high, re- 
calling in its form El Capitan in the 
Yosemite. 

Across, on the south wall of the can- 
yon, is a third, a beautiful misty, maid- 
enly wisp of a fall, where a small stream 
coming out from a hanging glacier above 
tumbles over the cliff in a series of cas- 
cades 750 feet high. This . is Ruth's 
Falls (see page 130). 

Up in the middle of the canyon an- 
other strong stream comes tumbling over 
the edges of the lava flows, dropping al- 
together nearly 2,000 feet in a series of 
cascades. Two of these are graceful falls 
upwards of a hundred feet high. Al- 
though too far away to show up to 
advantage in the pictures, they may be 
made out on page 126. These she called 
Julian's Falls. 

KATMAI CANYON ALMOST AS DEEP 
AS THE GRAND CANYON 

Few views in any country can be com- 
pared with that from the head of the 
mudflow across the canyon. The wall 
opposite is higher than any single cliff in 
the Grand Canyon, for Katmai Canyon 
though only a few miles long is almost as 
deep (4,000 feet) as the Canyon of the 
Colorado. Its colors — delicate greens, 
lit up by pale yellows, blues and soft 
pinks — though totally unlike the brilliant 
reds and yellows of the Arizona Canyon, 
are perhaps quite as beautiful. 

At the farther side of a tract of ir- 
regular, rounded hills which lie between 
the head of the mudflow and the river is 
a sharp knob that stands right in the jaws 
of the canyon. This hill has been 
bisected by the river. When one has 



123 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

GLACIATED ROCKS AT THE MOUTH OF KATMAI CANYON 

These and the similarly planed-off rocks in the bottom of the canyon, shown in section on the opposite 
page, are clear evidence that Katmai Canyon is pre-glacial. 



climbed up its nearer slopes and reached 
the top he finds himself on the brink of a 
perpendicular cliff, 500 feet directly 
above the roaring river that is under- 
mining its foot. From this hill — Prospect 
Point, we named it — the finest views of 
all are to be obtained (see page 126). 

KATMAI CANYON CUT BEFORE THE 
GLACIAL PERIOD 

The opposite walls of the canyon show 
very diverse rock structures. On the 
south the wall is made of stratified rocks 
dominantly gray-green in color. But 
on the north the river is hemmed in by 
massive lava flows varying from ma- 
hogany color to dead black. 

From Prospect Point the flat floor of 
the canyon may be reached by a rather 
difficult descent, almost straight down to 
the swirling waters of the river. 

Katmai Canyon differs very markedly 
from the other canyons of the region in 
having a broad flat bottom, despite its 
steep walls; it is U-shaped, not narrowly 
V-shaped as are the other canyons of the 
district, for example, the Canyon of 
Mageik Creek. This flatness could be 



accounted for only in part by the debris 
left by the flood . Consequently we were 
not surprised to find clear evidence of 
glacial work in the bottom, proving that 
it was already in existence during the 
glacial period. 

Mageik Canyon on the other hand, al- 
though 500 feet deep, is post-glacial. Its 
rim is lined with glacial gravels evidently 
laid down before the canyon was cut. 
A study of the drainage area shows, 
moreover, that before the glacial period 
Mageik Creek drained into Martin Creek. 
It was apparently diverted to its present 
course by the glacier that once filled the 
depression between Mount Mageik and 
Observation Mountain. 

PROOF THAT THE LAST LAVA FLOWS FROM 
KATMAI WERE POST-GLACIAL 

The exposures of Katmai Canyon fur- 
nished us also with our first clue to the 
date of the previous activity of Katmai. 
We discovered that one of the last lava 
flows had reached into the very bottom 
of the canyon, where its base rests on the 
glaciated surface of the sandstone. Evi- 
dently then the last eruption, though ante- 



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THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 



125 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
AN OLD LAVA FLOW FROM MOUNT KATMAI RESTING ON GLACIATED ROCK IN KATMAI 

CANYON 

At the base of the cliff shown on page 126, the bed rock is Naknek sandstone (Jurassic), which is 
beautifully planed and striated by glacial action. Here and there a small remnant of till, indicated 
by the hammer, still remains below the lava. 



dating the historic record, had occurred in 
geologically recent times. 

GRAVEL BANKS SO UNSTABLE AS TO BE 
SET ROLLING BY A SLIGHT BREEZE 

At the remains of the dam, which had 
held back the waters of the Katmai 
Flood, we found that the impetus of the 
torrent had been exhausted before the 
dam was entirely cut away. There re- 
mained a considerable bank of unstable 
material into which the river was busily 
gnawing at the time of our visit, lowering 
its level perhaps ten feet a year. 

Near the position of the former crest 
of the dam the stream was constricted 
into tumultuous rapids and was under- 
mining its banks so rapidly that they 
stood at the critical angle, sometimes 
misnamed **the angle of repose.** 

So unstable was the equilibrium of the 
banks at this point that even a good 
breeze was sufficient to start them tum- 
bling into the river. During calm weather 
we could clamber over the bowlders up 



and down the gorge with safety, but I 
have seen the wind tear up yard upon 
yard of loose material and send it rolling 
into the river. 

Because of my ignorance of this con- 
dition I had a narrow escape the first time 
I traversed the canyon. I was standing 
on a rock, photographing the rapids, 
when a sudden gust started the stones 
above me rolling, and before I realized 
what had happened a big one went whiz- 
zing into the water, just missing my head. 
It was only the first fragment of a small 
avalanche that was coming my way. 

THE SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 

Above the remains of the dam we 
emerged into the Second Valley of Kat- 
mai River. Across the base of the 
mountain opposite was the conspicuous 
horizontal line made by the beaches of 
the old flood lake, 210 feet above the 
level of the lower Katmai Lake, which 
still persisted in the lowest portion of 
the basin (see page 120). 



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Photograph by R. F. Grigga 
STEAM RISING FROM MOUNT KATMAI : SEEN FROM PROSPECT POINT 

The ash slides of the recent eruption contrast with the massive ancient lava flows. At the right are 
two fine waterfalls. The summit stands about a mile above the observer. 

126 



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THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 



127 



Before the last lava flow the canyon 
evidently lay closer to the volcano than 
the present gorge. By filling the river 
bed the lava forced the stream against the 
opposite bank, compelling it to cut into 
the south wall and form the present cliflf. 

From the general appearance of the 
volcano we were inclined to suspect that 
such a process had occurred repeatedly, 
but we could not find evidence enough to 
reach a definite conclusion as to the 
original course of the drainage. 

CURIOUS PHYSIOGRAPHY 

The Second Valley lies in such a posi- 
tion, however, as to suggest that it might 
once have formed a continuation of Knife 
Valley (see map, back cover). If Kat- 
mai Volcano were removed bodily the 
Second Valley would drain straight 
across through the north arm of the 
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes to the 
lower end of Iliuk Arm of Naknek Lake. 

The evidence is not sufficient to war- 
rant the assertion that Knife Valley was 
an antecedent feature, beheaded by the 
formation of Katmai Volcano, yet it is 
difficult to understand how its broad 
basin could have been eroded by its 
present drainage. 

As we passed up the Valley we were 
much perplexed by the conditions we en- 
countered. In contrast to the peaceful 
beauty which marked the lower lake, the 
rough piles of broken rocks that cover the 
isthmus between it and the upper lake 
had a certain rawness that obtruded the 
desolation of the place on our senses. 

Apart from its appearance of total dev- 
astation, the conspicuous features of the 
landscape are a great number of very 
r^ular conical mounds, which are strewn 
over the isthmus and rise from the waters 
of the upper lake (see page 128). 

The irregular disposition of these hill- 
ocks recalled a glacial moraine, but we 
were puzzled by the complete absence of 
vegetation, for the moraines of an old 
glacier should long since have been 
occupied by bushes. Moreover, they 
lacked the characteristic disposition of 
morainic deposits. Some of them were 



covered with the ash, lying in regularly 
bedded layers; others were entirely free 
from it and many of these were so situ- 
ated that it was difficult to see how the 
ash could have been removed by erosion. 

The absence of wood gave me much 
concern the first time we came into the 
place. We were tired and anxious to 
camp, but I could find no suitable site. 
Finally I turned to the others for counsel. 

'*Why, here is plenty of wood right 
here," said Folsom; **here is a good 
place.** I looked incredulously about me. 
Not the smallest bush was to be seen. 

'*Well, if you will provide the wood, 
we'll camp," I replied. 

So, dropping his pack, he proceeded to 
one side a few yards and pulled a stick 
out of the ground. My eyes had not 
been sharp enough. When we began 
searching we pulled out a considerable 
quantity of sticks from the rock debris. 
We even managed to find a couple that 
would answer for tent poles. So we set 
up our camp on the bank of the river, 
between the two lakes. 

These upper reaches of Katmai River 
are curious, indeed. Although it is a tu- 
multuous mountain torrent, the bowlders 
of its bed are sharp and angular, entirely 
different from the rounded cobbles usu- 
ally found in such streams. The river 
occupies no proper bed of its own, but 
simply finds its way at random over the 
irregular surface, now cascading over a 
group of bowlders, now slackening to fill 
a depression with a small pond. 

The rock-covered ground is so loose 
and porous that much of the water 
strikes in and travels along beneath the 
surface. There are several hollows filled 
with clear, deep, green water, forming 
little ponds. These have neither inlet 
nor outlet, but are kept sweet by the 
rapid underground seepage. At the foot 
of the belt of hills the underground water 
reappears in several large streams which 
come from the ground as springs. 

NOISY MOUNTAIN 

Immediately behind our camp rose a 
tall mountain whose base was screened 



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128 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

A PORTION OF THE ROCK SLIDE FROM THE SLOPES OF NOISY MOUNTAIN 

The cones of detritus in the middle distance are everywhere the characteristic feature of the surface 
of the slides. In the foreground is Katmai River, which spreads out irregularly over the angular 
bowlders of the slide. 



by an enormous mass of talus. Ac- 
customed to the avalanches, which were 
abundant everywhere in the volcanic 
country, we paid no attention to the 
frequent rock falls from the precipices of 
this peak until after we had settled our- 
selves for the night. 

But all night long our sleep was dis- 
turbed by fresh avalanches. Never 
during our sojourn was there a lull of five 
minutes. '* Noisy Mountain," for so we 
named it, was evidently a counterpart of 
'* Falling Mountain,*' which we discov- 
ered in the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes (see pages 241-243). Its con- 
stant avalanches gave us a new clue to 
the anomalous character of the country. 

Next morning, when we could climb 
up and get a general view of our sur- 
roundings, the explanation of the curious 
physiography of the valley became 
evident enough. We could see where 
the whole side of the mountain had 
broken loose and slid out into the valley, 



burying several square miles under a 
mantle of debris. 

As in the other big slides, the bright, 
fresh rock cliffs, newly exposed, con- 
trasted strikingly with the old, weathered 
slopes of the mountain. We could form 
no intelligent opinion as to the quantity 
of material that had broken loose, but 
some of the piles of debris appeared to be 
300 feet high. 

CONICAL MOUNDS CONSPICUOUS 

Like the other great slides of the district, 
the rockfall from Noisy Mountain shows 
little of the hummocky surface charac- 
teristic of the ordinary slow-moving land- 
slide; instead are the above mentioned 
conical mounds (see also Chapter xi). 

Another feature not to be found in the 
ordinary landslide is the frequent pres- 
ence of shattered rocks. These evi- 
dently started from the top of the cliff as 
solid masses and held together during the 
avalanche. But they were subjected to 



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THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 



such strains that, although they still 
retain their original form and appearance, 
they fall to pieces at a touch. 

NOISY MOUNTAIN IN ACTION 

Directly in front of the mountain, and 
circling its base, was a mass of detritus 
which, having been discharged with less 
violence than the rest, was not shoved 
out into the valley like the bulk of the 
material. The rim of the ridge thus 
formed stood 600 to 800 feet above the 
valley floor, completely screening it 
from further slides by forming a retaining 
wall behind which all the new debris 
from the mountain was caught. 

The rounding top of the ridge like the 
rest of the slide area was covered with 
cones, but around its base the surface 
was thrown into something resembling 
the hummocky ridges of the ordinary 
landslide, indicating, perhaps, a slow 
settling into position rather than a sud- 
den drop into the Valley. 

This crescentic barrier largely cut off 
the view from below, hiding the face of 
the mountain whence came the incessant 
noises that had disturbed us. But its 
crest was a fine vantage point from 
which to watch the activity of the 
mountain. 

The noises were of two sorts: a low 
ominous rumble, continued for a con- 
siderable period, and the familiar boom, 
rattle, and bang of falling rocks loosened 
from their hold. 

Some of the falls consisted of large 
masses of rock, weighing several tons, 
which would let go and come down all at 
once, breaking into fragments and rais- 
ing a cloud of dust, with a terrific roar 
which lasted several minutes. More 
commonly they were single bowlders 
which came rolling and bounding down 
the slopes. This noise continued night 
and day. 

But the other type of disturbance, the 
long-continued rumble, was confined to 
the hours when the snow was melting 
rapidly. It occurred at short intervals on 
bright sunny days and less frequently in 
cloudy weather. The first of these 
10 



129 



rumbling noises that came when we were 
in a position to see the face of the 
mountain furnished the explanation. 

The continuous small falls from the 
cliff periodically choked the precipitous 
channels which carried the drainage of 
the steep slope, filling them with detritus. 
As water from the melting snow trickled 
down the channel, the debris clogging it 
was gradually changed to mud. Eventu- 
ally the point of flowage was suddenly 
reached and the whole mass would then 
start moving downstream, gathering 
momentum and picking up additional 
material as it went roaring down the 
steep slope. 

This moving mass of rock, mud, and 
water had the consistency of a batch of 
coarse concrete, as it comes fresh from 
the mixer. The rock fragments which 
it carried varied all the way from mud 
and sand to bowlders three feet in di- 
ameter, which were rolled, spattering, 
end over end, down the channel with 
the rest. 

Starting high up on the mountain, 
these '* water slides'* flowed for the first 
few hundred feet down a precipitous 
slope approaching the perpendicular, 
rapidly gathering momentum which 
carried them across the gentler slopes 
below, until they brought up in the de- 
pression behind the barrier-slide. 

Considering the consistency of the 
flows, it was rather surprising how far 
they ran out into the comparatively level 
basin. For several hundred feet at the 
terminus the gradient of their courses 
was hardly more than ten per cent. 
The total drop was about 1,500 feet. 

The quantity of material brought 
down in a single flow often amounted to 
more than a hundred cubic yards. The 
slides occurred several times a day all 
summer and kept up at least for several 
years, accomplishing in the aggregate a 
considerable amount of erosion. Adding 
to these the rock falls, which certainly 
move as much material as the bowlder 
flows, one gains a new conception of the 
forces here at work. Yet the whole of the 
material brought down since the great 



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Fhotograpb by U. B. Churcb 
ACROSS KATMAI CANYON FROM THE LOWER SLOPES OF MOUNT KATMAI 

The scale may be judged by the man, who may barely be made out on the trail near the center of the 
picture. The waterfall, Ruth's Falls, is 750 feet high. 

130 



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THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 



131 



landslide is insignificant in comparison 
with the enormous mass of broken rock 
that fills the valley. 

AN INTERMEDIATE BETWEEN LANDSLIDES 
AND RIVERS 

The bowlder flows or "water slides" 
stand as curious intermediates, con- 
necting two agents of erosion not 
ordinarily thought of as intergrading, 
namely, landslides and rivers. 

They have many characteristics of 
both, which make it possible to consider 
them either as slips or as overloaded 
streams. Being largely made up of rocks, 
which grate and grind and jostle each 
other on the way down, they are like 
slides. Moreover, at their termini they 
often assume the crumpled, hummocky 
surface of landslides. 

They are closer yet in their relations 
to streams loaded with more detritus 
than they can carry. They follow a 
single definite course in their upper 
channels and spread out into divergent 
distributaries like a delta, when they ap- 
proach their termini. At the point where 
they debouch from the single channel, 
they build up regular convex *' alluvial 
fans," highest in the middle, like those of 
lateral streams in a main valley. 

Like all overloaded streams from the 
great Mississippi to the diminutive 
brooklet filled with pumice from the 
eruption, they build their banks higher 
than the level over which they flow, 
forming dikes on each side of the chan- 
nel. 

The automatic flushing to which the 
channels of Noisy Mountain are peri- 
odically subjected furnished the key to 
a number of unusual features in the ab- 
normal physiography of the devastated 
district. 

Comparison of the moving flows with 
the forms assumed by the detritus after 
motion had ceased permitted the in- 
terpretation of the larger and more 
important terrane that forms the subject 
of the next chapter, which otherwise 
would have been hard to understand. 

The ability of the thick, heavy mud 



of the flows to transport large bowlders 
made it clear how the Mageik Flood had 
rolled great rocks through the forest 
without breaking down the trees. That 
also must have consisted of mud so thick 
as to move rather slowly, and so heavy 
as to have a power of flotation much 
greater than ordinary water. 

Moreover, it was evident that if these 
bowlder flows had had a higher propor- 
tion of water their velocity would have 
been greatly increased and the stones 
they carried would have become formi- 
dable missiles capable of doing great 
damage, like the rocks carried in the 
swift Katmai Flood. 

On the other hand, seeing in action 
a mass so largely composed of solid 
material aided greatly in a comprehen- 
sion of the amazing fluid character evi- 
dently possessed by the great landslides, 
such as that described in the following 
chapter. 

THE UPPER PORTION OF THE SECOND 
VALLEY 

One of the primary objects of the ex- 
ploration of the Second Valley was to 
cross a low pass which we had descried 
at its head from the slopes of Katmai. 
Even in 191 7 we were anxious to find 
some better entrance to the country than 
Katmai Bay. 

As the Second Valley trended toward 
Kinak Bay, which we knew to be a good 
harbor, we hoped that the pass at its 
head might provide an easy avenue for 
passage thither. 

The morning after our arrival, there- 
fore, we set out skirting the west shore of 
the upper lake. Beyond the corner of 
Noisy Mountain we came upon a large 
glacier, a valley tongue coming down 
from the n€v€ that lies between Katmai 
and Snowy Mountain (see map, back 
cover). 

This n^v6 is much more extensive than 
any other snowfield of the region, and 
the glacier — Princess Glacier, Church 
called it — though not yet surveyed, is 
clearly the largest thus far discovered in 
the district. It is not improbable, how- 



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132 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by £. C. Kolb 

THE LAST LEAP IN THE DESCENT INTO 
KATMAI CANYON 

The descent is not so difficult or hazardous as 
might be supposed from this picture. Before taking 
off, I took good care to see that there was a way 
back. 



ever, that other glaciers of equal or 
greater size will be found in the unex- 
plored sections of the area. Princess 
Glacier is the chief source of Katmai 
River, for it furnishes much more water 



than the brook which comes down 
from the end of the valley. 

When we came near enough to ex- 
amine the head of the valley in detail 
we found two passes rather than one, 
both comparatively easy. The ques- 
tion was which of the two would lead 
us to Kinak Bay, which we knew lay a 
dozen miles to the east. Consulting 
my compass I decided to try the more 
southerly. This turned out to be the 
wrong choice. 

Our mistake was of no consequence, 
however , for theentrance to thecountry 
discovered in 19 19 is far superior to 
either of these passes, which are above 
2,000 feet high and always deeply 
covered with snow. 

The valley that we descended on 
the opposite side was wild and rugged 
in the extreme — a narrow V, con- 
stricted and difficult of passage. Some- 
times the cliffs forced us to wade 
in the stream and sometimes cascades 
compelled us to climb a thousand feet 
up the mountain side. 

Before we had gone far we realized 
that we had taken the wrong pass, for 
the valley, trending at first south, 
turned more and more westerly in- 
stead of easterly, as we had hoped. 

Had it Of)ened to the east there 
would have been time to reach the 
sea and return again the same day. 
But it was evident that we were not 
making much progress seaward by 
traveling southwesterly, parallel with 
the coast. Yet hoping for a bend in 
the valley, we kept on till five or six 
o'clock. But there was no indication 
of a turn, so at last we gave up and 
turned back. 

A HOT SPRING DISCOVERED 

On our way down we had passed a 
fine hot spring close to a sightly water- 
fall, which appeared at a place where 
a fault seemed to cross the valley. We 
decided to return and sf)end the night 
there. Though we had neither supper 
nor blankets, we could at least enjoy the 
luxury of a hot bath. 



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THE CANYON AND SECOND VALLEY OF THE KATMAI 



133 



Photograph by D. B. Church 
ROOTS PUT OUT BY A AMLLOW AT THE SURFACE OF THE ASH 

Later washed out by a stream. The new roots are 8 feet above the original surface of the ground. 
All the new roots were put out immediately below the surface. 



This was much desired by the natives, 
who have great faith in the curative 
properties of hot springs for the rheu- 
matic complaints with which they are 
affected. The temperature was just 
right for the best effect. We could bear 
our hands in it, though it was too hot for 
our feet. 

The drizzle which had been falling all 
day continued most of the night. All the 
wood was pretty thoroughly wet, but by 
whittling off the outside we procured 
some dry shavings and soon had a roar- 
ing fire, partly compensating for the lack 
of blankets, and enabling us to get a few 
hours of sleep. Having no breakfast to 
delay our departure, we were off at day- 
light and reached camp about noon. 

When we laid out our compass trav- 
erse of the new valley, the most probable 



outlet appeared to be Soluka Creek. We 
were loth to admit that with all our 
trouble we had merely walked around 
the Barrier Range, and tried to believe 
that our stream flowed at least into 
Takkala Bay. The survey made in 1919 
showed, however, that we were wrong. 
Had we continued half an hour longer, 
we should have been able to look out into 
Katmai Bay. 

If we had only known it, we might 
have attained our quest that day. Ha- 
gelbarger*s Pass, by which the route from 
Geographic Harbor crosses into Soluka 
Valley, lies just below our hot spring. 
When the surveyors came across from the 
coast in 19 19 the first thing they saw 
from the pass was our waterfall and hot 
spring, which they recognized from the 
description. 



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XI 



THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 



When our explorations carried us into 
the Valley of Martin Creek, early in 1917, 
we came upon a remarkable terrane, as 
noteworthy, in its own class, as Katmai 
among eruptions. 

For several miles the valley is strewn 
with enormous bowlders thrown promis- 
cuously about. M. A. Horner, who saw 
them in 1 91 3, was rather more impressed 
by these bowlders than by the volcano 
itself. Realizing that they were con- 
temporaneous with the eruption, he con- 
cluded that they must have been pro- 
jected from the crater. Accordingly he 
labeled his pictures of them ** Rocks 
thrown out by the Volcano." Postcards 
bearing this legend are probably still for 
sale in Seward. 

BOWLDERS AS BIG AS A HOUSE STREWN 
ACROSS THE VALLEY 

Bowlders 10 feet long are abundant, 
and much larger rocks are frequently 
encountered, some of them as large as a 
good-sized house. Many measure 30 or 
40 feet. The largest single stone ob- 
served was 75 feet long and 35 feet wide. 
Its height could hardly have been less 
than 20 feet, though this could not be 
measured, for it lay half buried in the 
surrounding debris. 

There could be no question but that 
these bowlders had in some way been 
carried far from their original position. 
The valley is cut, through the greater 
part of its course, in sedimentary rock, 
but the waste that covers its floor is 
mostly composed of lava fragments. 

Yet it was evident that these rocks 
could not have been discharged from the 
crater of any of the volcanoes. Mixed 
with the piles of lava bowlders was much 
material of an entirely different nature. 
Considerable masses of old soil, great 
chunks of peat, remnants of vegetation, 
fragments of sandstone, and bits of tuff 



from an ancient eruption were all jum- 
bled together in great confusion. 

In addition to the heterogeneous 
character of the materials, their position 
and attitude furnished positive proof 
that they had not been thrown out from 
one of the volcanoes. If the bowlders 
had been hurled through the air, the 
marks of their impact upon the ground 
as they struck would have been conspic- 
uous, but none were to be found. If 
they had been thrown out of one of the 
craters, they would have been strewn 
indiscriminately on all sides of the vent, 
but they are confined to a single sharply 
limited sector. 

The terrane is restricted to the bottom 
of the valley. Beginning high up at the 
head of the stream, the debris is spread 
for several miles down the floor of the 
broad U-shaped valley, occupying the 
same position as a glacier. From a dis- 
tance, indeed, it looks like a glacier com- 
pletely covered with rock fragments. 

On nearer approach, however, it is 
seen to contain no ice. Yet it resembles 
glacier work in so many ways that we 
supposed at first it must be some unusual 
form of glacial deposit. 

In places its surface is pitted with 
characteristic circular puddles, exact 
miniatures of the '* kettle-hole ponds" so 
familiar to students of glacial geology 
(see page 143). Since these are most 
readily accounted for by the melting 
away of an embedded block of ice or 
snow after the mass reached its present 
position, their occurrence gave color for 
a time to the glacial theory. 

But the terrane has several important 
features which show at once that it was 
not the work of any glacier. It has no 
moraines, no ridges of any kind at its end 
or edges, nor is there any sign of the push 
and shove always characteristic of ice 
work. 



135 



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THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 



137 



Yet the terminal edge is perfectly 
clear-cut and distinct; its barrenness con- 
trasts sharply with the green grass be- 
yond. In some places the margin is a 
steep convex bank, several feet high 
(see page 141). In others, the dfebris is 
spread only a few inches deep over the 
ground (see page 144). 

BROKEN BUSHES INTERMINGLED 
WITH THE DEBRIS 

The effect on the bushes that lay in its 
path likewise affords clear and positive 
evidence that this is no glacial terrane. 

An advancing glacier slowly over- 
whelms the trees that stand in its way, 
gradually pushing them over by piling 
debris against their trunks. But here 
the willows and alders were snapped off 
clean, as though struck by flying rocks 
(see page 141). The bushes were never 
bent over before the advancing mass 
nor were they uprooted by its force; the 
line of destruction is as sharp as the edge 
of the debris itself. 

There were many places where one 
could observe the clean-broken stumps 
protruding through their covering, with- 
in a few feet of similar bushes standing 
untouched beyond the margin of the 
drift. 

The terminal portion of the mass is com- 
posed more largely of fine materials with 
fewer rocks. Here also are great chunks 
of black peat soil, sometimes scattered 
irregularly through it, sometimes thrown 
into rude windrows. 

At the lateral edges, several miles 
back from the terminus, the debris in- 
stead of piling up sank away from the 
highest level reached, leaving a hollow 
rather than a ridge. 

This is particularly well shown along 
a spur of one of the neighboring 
mountains, so located as to have stuck 
out squarely into the path of the flow. 
Here the rocks had evidently ground up 
against the obstruction, clearing the 
vegetation and soil from the hillside to a 
height of nearly 100 feet above the pres- 
ent level of the detritus. 

But instead of lodging against the 



barrier, as glacial bowlders would have 
done, they slumped away again, leaving 
the hillside almost bare, and forming a 
deep hollow around its base in which has 
gathered a considerable body of clear 
green water in a horseshoe pond (see 
page 142). 

Another very curious feature of this 
bowlder train is the fact that half-way 
down it forked, sending separate tongues 
down different portions of the flat val- 
ley. Its margin likewise showed a de- 
cided tendency to splay out into minor 
branches. 

A forking glacier is, to be sure, no im- 
possibility, but a mass of ice can be di- 
vided only when it meets an insuperable 
obstacle, capable of withstanding the 
enormous power of its advance. The di- 
vide on which this terrane split is merely 
the inconsequential rise between the two 
streams which come together farther 
down the valley. 

It is evident, therefore, that whatever 
the explanation of this mass of dfebris 
may be, its movement was delicately 
adjusted to slight variations in the gra- 
dient of its bed. Notwithstanding its 
high percentage of rocks it gives every 
indication of having sought its level 
almost like water. This amazing evi- 
dence of fluidity is strengthened rather 
than weakened by detailed study. 

ORIGINAL PLANTS STILL GROWING ON THE 
BOWLDERS 

This bowlder flow, if we may call it 
such, shows unmistakable evidence of 
having moved much more rapidly than a 
glacier. It bears numerous fragments of 
the original vegetation which were not 
destroyed by the catastrophe. Some of 
these, indeed, still remain alive and have 
begun to grow again, as though never 
disturbed. 

No such thing would have been pos- 
sible in a glacier. It would require 
many years for a glacier to carry a 
bowlder like that shown on page 1 38, from 
the mountain top down into the valley, 
and all vegetation would almost in- 
evitably disapp)ear in the process. These 



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138 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
ONE OF THE LARGER ROCKS OF THE SLIDE, HALF BURIED IN SMALLER DEBRIS 

The largest bowlder observed, which was 75 by 35 by 20 feet, was not favorably situated for a 

photograph. 



plants were, however, evidently carried 
** right side up with care'* all the way 
down from the mountain top to their 
present resting place. 

INDICATIONS AS TO DATE OF OCCURRENCE 

Along with the indications of sudden- 
ness of formation is other evidence 
that fixes rather closely the date at 
which this curious mass of d6bris reached 



its present position. By all the criteria 
of physiography it is very young — indeed, 
infantile. The two streams which trav- 
erse its surface have scarcely begun to 
erode their beds. They spread out in 
most irregular fashion over the uneven 
surface of the debris, without having so 
much as scooped out a channel for them- 
selves (see page 136). 

The bowlders in their beds are still 



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THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 



139 



angular, like the rest of the material, in 
sharp- contrast to the rounded cobbles of 
typical streams. The surface is so fresh 
that, despite the large content of soil in 
places, new vegetation had just begun 
to take hold in 1919. 

Many pieces of wood, fragments of the 
overwhelmed bushes, lie embedded in 
the debris in such a way as to leave no 
doubt that they were contemporaneous 
with it. They will, of course, rot away 
in a few years, but as yet they show little 
sign of decay. These circumstances com- 
bine to make it certain that the bowlders 
were thrown into position very recently. 

On the other hand, it is certain that 
the bowlder flow goes back to the time of 
the eruption, for its surface is covered in 
many places with the layers of ash from 
Katmai. Because of local irregularities 
in deposition, I have not been able to 
satisfy myself whether all layers of ash 
are present, or only the upper strata. 
But in other spots near by the ash is 
either absent or thoroughly mixed with 
the detritus. This is taken to indicate 
that while the mass must, in the main, 
have reached its position before the end 
of the eruption, there were minor move- 
ments after the ashfall. All the evi- 
dence taken together seems to show defi- 
nitely that the bowlder flow originated 
at the time of the eruption. 

EVIDENCE THAT IT WAS SOME SORT OF 
LANDSLIDE 

The manifest suddenness of its forma- 
tion, its occurrence at the time of the 
eruption, and other features suggest that 
this bowlder flow was some sort of land- 
slide. This idea is strengthened by the 
presence of tufts of antecedent vegeta- 
tion here and there. 

Fragments of the original ground 
were similarly transported in the great 
landslide at Frank, Alberta, as described 
by McConnell and Brock,^who report, 
**One large bowlder retains on its upper 
surface a coating of moss and a fragment 
of rotten log lying quite undisturbed.*' 

Yet it is altogether different from the 
familiar type of landslide. The ordinary 



landslip carries the evidence of its mode 
of origin so plainly marked in its every 
feature that no one could mistake it. 
While still fresh the tree trunks, pointing 
every which way out of the broken 
ground, advertise what has hapf)ened as 
plainly as though it were posted on a 
billboard. Even after the vegetation 
has adjusted itself to the new conditions 
and the broken ground has settled to- 
gether, the hummocky, billowed surface 
and the crescentic ridges identify it in- 
dubitably to the student. 

None of the recognized features of 
landslides occur here. In place of the 
irregular broken hummocks and billows, 
this terrane has a peculiar topography 
quite different from anything I have ever 
seen or read of in regions of ordinary 
physiography. 

SURFACE STUDDED WITH REMARKABLE 
CONES 

Like the Noisy Mountain Slide de- 
scribed on page 127, the Mageik Slide is 
covered with remarkable conical piles of 
detritus which present many unusual 
features that make detailed discussion 
advisable (see pages 128 and 134). 

The general textbooks on physiog- 
raphy make no mention of the occurrence 
of such cones in landslide debris. Never- 
theless they are mentioned incidentally 
and even figured in the accounts of a 
number of notable landslides in other 
parts of the world. Observation of the 
slides of the Katmai district leads me to 
believe that these cones are character- 
istic features occurring regularly in land- 
slides of the most violent tyf)e. 

While there is nothing to indicate their 
mode of origin, I am inclined to suspect 
that each represents a separate mass of 
material which held together and trav- 
eled intact throughout the movement of 
the slide, and settled down in a single 
spot when motion ceased. 

While most of them are made up of 
lava fragments, occasionally one is found 

1 McConnell, R. G. and Brock. R. W. Report 
on the Great Landslide at Frank, Alberta, 1903. 
Ann. Rept. Dept. Interior, Canada, 1903, p. 10 



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I40 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

ORIGINAL VEGETATION PERSISTING ON A ROCK IN MAGEIK SLIDE 

By some freak this grass with the soil in which it grew was transported, "right side up with care," 
for two miles down the valley from its original position at the top of the cliff. 



composed entirely of sandstone and 
shale, as though derived from a single 
block of sedimentary rock. Very likely 
these piles were at first irregular in shape, 
and assumed their conical form because 
the original block was too thoroughly 
shattered to hold together, its fragments 
rattling down symmetrically on all sides. 

GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURE FAVORABLE FOR 
LANDSLIDES 

An examination of the geological 
structure of the area where the slide 
occurred reveals conditions favorable for 
the development of landslides. Massive 
lava flows several hundred feet thick 
have been poured out on a platform of 
sandstone dipping away from the vents. 
The strata are bent up against the vol- 
canoes, as though blistered up by an in- 
jection beneath. 

The lava flowing down the inclined 
surface of the strata often congealed be- 
fore reaching the bottom of the slope. 
As it hardened, joint planes perpendicu- 
lar to the sloping surface developed, more 
or less changing the solid flow into a 
series of slanting columns standing in 



unstable equilibrium like a **row of 
soldiers*' ready to be knocked over. 

Closely adjacent to the part of the cliflf 
that fell away, colossal columns several 
hundred feet high are still hanging, ap- 
parently so ready to topple over that one 
wonders how they survived the shock 
that set oflf their neighbors (see page 

134). 

Through the joint cracks, water doubt- 
less reached the original surface and, 
working along, may have facilitated 
movement by lubricating a bed for the 
unstable mass above. 

Of the immediate cause which set off 
the fall we have no knowledge. Un- 
doubtedly there were earthquakes in con- 
nection with the eruption, but they seem 
not to have been particularly violent. 
It is not impossible that there may have 
been a further uptilting of the strata 
by the injection of new magma below. 
There is little if any independent evi- 
dence of recent uplift. Yet an uplift 
of this sort would be the simplest ex- 
planation of the continual avalanches 
of Falling apd Noisy Mountains (see 
page 241). 



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THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 



141 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



TERMINAL EDGE OF MAGEIK SLIDE 



Although obliterating the alder thickets wherever it touched them, it showed no tendency to form 
ridges resembling moraines. At this edge the slide covered the ground only four or five feet deep. 
The black chunks are masses of peat. 



It is interesting further to note that 
while the cliff at the head of the Mageik 
Slide was quiet during our observations 
in 1917, it was subject to frequent heavy 
rock falls in August, 1919. 

DIMENSIONS OF THE SLIDE 

The top of the cliff from which the 
rock started stands at an elevation of 
about 3,000 feet. The area from which 
the fall occurred is about 2,000 feet wide 
and 750 feet high. It is a great gouged- 
out cirque, whose bright unweathered 
rock contrasts strongly with the duller 
surface of the old cliffs. We have no 
means of estimating how far in front of 
the present cliff the original face may 
have stood. 

The head of the slide is situated on a 
branch to one side of the main valley. 
From this point the rocks swept down 
half a mile of steep slope, falling about 
1,000 feet; then across the flat valley 
floor for nearly two miles to the opposite 
mountain side, 400 to 500 feet lower. 
Then, deflected partly by the obstruct- 
ing spur and partly by the mountain wall 



beyond, they turned 60® from their 
course and continued down the mile- 
wide valley three miles farther, descend- 
ing 600 feet more (see map, back cover). 

The area covered by the debris may be 
estimated as two and one-quarter square 
miles. Of the quantity of material that 
fell away we are not in a position to make 
even a very intelligent guess, since we 
have no knowledge either of the original 
contours of the cliff or of the depth of the 
debris covering the ground. 

From the reports on other slides of the 
same class it appears conservative, how- 
ever, to estimate the average thickness 
of the debris at ten yards. On this 
assumption the cubage of the whole 
mass would be in the neighborhood of 
70,000,000 cubic yards. 

The upper portion of the slide, just 
below the cliff, has somewhat the charac- 
ter of an ordinary talus slope; but its 
bowlders are of very great size, many of 
them 30 and 40 feet in diameter, and its 
general contours are concave, not convex 
as in an ordinary talus fan. Along with 
the large size of its bowlders goes a cer- 



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142 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



A HILL SCOURED OFF BY THE BOWLDER FLOW 

The flying rocks scoured off the soil nearly a hundred feet up this hillside, yet before movement 
ceased the mass slumped away again, leaving a deep depression now filled with water, forming the 
Horseshoe Pond. 



tain roughness and irregularity of surface 
not found in the typical talus. 

The largest and most perfectly de- 
veloped cones occur in the second por- 
tion, which occupies the flat valley above 
the bend. Here, also, the percentage of 
large rocks is much higher than in the 
lower portion . Cones and large bowlders 
gradually become smaller and less numer- 
ous toward the tip, although some cones 
and a few large bowlders occur near the 
end. 

SURPRISING LIQUIDITY MANIFESTED BY 
THE SLIDE 

Of all the curious features of this re- 
markable bowlder train none is more sur- 
prising to the observer than the clear evi- 
dence it presents of having behaved like 
a liquid during the period of its motion. 

In default of a better term, I have 
called it a landslide, but it cannot be con- 
sidered as having slid down the valley in 
any accepted meaning of that term. It 
must have resembled rather the bowlder 
flows observed on Noisy Mountain 
(see page 129). It acted more like a 



flow of thin mud than a mass of dry 
bowlders. 

The grade over which the debris 
moved in the lower part of its course 
slopes less than 200 feet to the mile (4 
per cent). Even if a bowlder were 
highly polished and its bed smooth, it 
would not slide on a grade of i to 25. 
The attitude of many of the rocks shows 
plainly that they did not slide into their 
present place but were rather floated into 
position, buoyed up by the mass of finer 
debris around them. 

It is incomprehensible that a mass of 
rough angular rocks could by any means 
be made to flow like a liquid. Neverthe- 
less, the evidence convinces everyone 
who studies the terrane that this is ex- 
actly what happened. 

DESCRIPTION OF A SIMILAR SLIDE IN 
MOTION 

When opportunity came to look up 
the accounts of violent landslides else- 
where, my conclusions as to the remark- 
able fluidity of the mass were confirmed 
and strengthened. A similar ** slide'* 



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THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 



143 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
A DIMINUTIVE ** KETTLE HOLE** POND NEAR THE TIP OF THE BOWLDER FLOW 
This may have been caused by the melting away of a chunk of ice or snow. 



at Elm, Switzerland, was witnessed by 
a number of persons. From their stories 
Sir William Conway ^ has written a de- 
scription of the event which closely 
parallels what must have occurred in the 
Mageik slide. 

" The last phase of the catastrophe is 
the hardest to imagine and was the most 
difficult to foresee. The actual facts 
are these. Ten million cubic meters of 
rock fell down a depth (on an average) of 
about 450 meters, shot across the valley 
and up the opposite (Diiniberg) slope to 
a height of 100 meters, where they were 
bent 25° out of their first direction and 
poured, almost like a liquid, over a hori- 
zontal plain, covering it uniformly 
throughout a distance of 1,500 meters 
and over an area of about 900,000 
square meters to a depth of from 10 to 
20 meters. The internal friction of the 
mass and the friction between it and the 
ground were insignificant forces com- 
pared with the tremendous momentum 
that was generated by the fall. The 
stuff flowed like a liquid.*' 

* Conway, Sir William Martin, The Alps from 
End to End, pp. 176-184, 1900. 



Conway*s narrative goes on to describe 
the death and destruction wrought by 
the catastrophe in the village of Elm. 
Fortunately, we have no need to follow 
him here. We may rather be thankful 
again for the good luck that the Mageik 
Slide occurred in an uninhabited valley, 
where no harm was done. 

MAGEIK SLIDE COMPARED WITH OTHERS 

The Elm Slide, although one of the 
best known examples of its class, is so far 
inferior in size as to make it interesting 
to inquire how the Mageik Slide should 
be ranked among similar phenomena. 

The largest American slide of which I 
find record occurred some years ago in 
the Canadian Rockies, when a portion of 
Turtle Mountain slid down on the town 
of Frank, entailing great destruction. 
This was about three times as great as 
the Elm Slide, involving an amount of 
material estimated at 36,000,000 cubic 
yards, spread out over i .03 square miles to 
an estimated average depth of 15 yards.* 

» McConnell, R. G. and Brock, R. W. Report 
on the Great Landslide at Frank, Alberta, 1903. 
Annual Report, Dept. Interior, Canada. 



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144 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photosraph by R. F. Griggs 
A THIN EDGE OF THE SLIDE WHERE IT RAN UP THE SIDE OF A HILLOCK 

The grass land at the left was not touched. The veneer of debris is so thin that it scarcely alters the 

contour of the hill. 



A slide at Rossberg, in the Alps, was 
still larger. This was 4,300 yards long, 
349 yards wide, and totalled 51,000,000 
cubic yards.* 

Of the landslides in the Katmai dis- 
trict three require mention here. The 
slide which dammed Katmai Canyon, 
causing the Great Flood when it broke, 
has been estimated by Maynard from his 
survey to contain 88,000,000 cubic yards. 
The Noisy Mountain Slide appears far 
greater than the one in Katmai Canyon; 
but the survey has not yet been carried 
into that area, so that it is impossible to 
give any estimate of its dimensions. 
Yet both of these seem to an average 
observer on the ground far inferior to 
the Mageik Slide, for which perhaps we 
have assumed too small an average 
thickness. 

The slide from Falling Mountain, 
which was the opening event in the 
eruption (see Chapter xxi), may have 
exceeded all others in the Katmai dis- 
trict. Certainly the cirque on the 
broken face of the mountain looks as 



though fully as much rock had been 
gouged out as in any of the others. But 
there is no way of estimating the amount 
of the fall because all the debris is 
covered up by the deposits of the erup- 
tion. 

As the slides described in the papers 
cited above were considered very re- 
markable events, it is evident that those 
of the Katmai district are to be ranked 
among the most notable examples on 
record. They are, however, by no means 
the greatest landslides known. 

Aside from records of slow-moving 
landslips of the ordinary type, with 
which we have no concern, there are ac- 
counts of other catastrophes belonging 
to the same violent type, which so far 
exceed those we have described as to 
dwarf them by comparison. 

THE GREATEST RECORDED SLIDES 

The Gohna slide in the Himalayas in 
1893 was much greater. An enormous 
mass of rock fell 4,000 feet from Mount 
Maithana into the Bhira Gunga at its 



* Zay, Karl, Goldau and Seine Gegend, page 318, Zurich, 1807. 



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THE MAGEIK LANDSLIDE 



145 



foot. The violence of the fall was at- 
tested by the formation of great clouds 
of dust which darkened the neighbor- 
hood for miles around, and on settling 
covered the ground like snow. 

The falls lasted for three days and con- 
tinued in rainy weather for many 
months. The detritus formed a great 
dam, stretching along the river for two 
miles, filling the channel to a depth of 
900 feet; the length across the gorge was 
600 feet in the bottom and 3,000 feet at 
the top; the thickness of the dam up and 
down stream 11,000 feet at the bottom 
and 2,000 feet at the top. 

Above the dam a great lake with a 
maximum depth of 777 feet accumulated, 
and was later released in one of the 
greatest floods of record (see Chapter 
ix). Although the surface covered by 
the dfebris was only 423 acres, it is 
evident that the quantity of material 
involved far exceeds those mentioned 
above, being estimated at 800,000,000 
tons, perhaps 5,000,000,000 cubic yards.* 

Greater still was a slide at Bandai 
San,* Japan, in connection with the 
eruption of 1888. In this case a stu- 
pendous mass of rock, set in motion by a 
volcanic disturbance, came flowing down 
from the mountain into the lowland, 
wreaking tremendous havoc on the in- 
habitants. 

This event has gone into the annals of 
geology as an eruption, but it was clearly 
recognized that " the main feature of this 
eruption was the deluge of rock and 
earth." Consequently it has quite as 
much interest to students of landslides 
as to volcanologists. Its similarity to 
the Mageik Slide will be apparent from 
the following description: 

* National Geographic Magazine, vol. 31, p. 
277, April, 1910. 

• Sekiya, S. and Kikuchi, Y., The Eruption of 
Bandai San, Journal, College of Science, Impe- 
rial University, Tokyo, vol. 3: pp. 91-172, 1889. 



"Among the various phenomena that 
constantly bewilder the eyes of visitors 
to the scene of the eruption, not the 
least striking are the numerous big bowl- 
ders, some of them measuring from 5 to 
10 meters each way, that are to be seen 
resting on the surface of the d6bris far 
away from the crater. These have evi- 
dently been carried along as part of the 
mud current, and not hurled through the 
air. Not less curious are the quantities 
of small cones, varying from a few meters 
up to 15 meters in height, which are 
scattered here and there over the sur- 
face, standing out of the d6bris like so 
many miniature Fujiyamas."^ 

The material thus precipitated down 
the mountain side covered no less than 
27 square miles (70 sq. km.). Its bulk 
was estimated by the Japanese writers 
as 1,587,000,000 cubic yards, more than 
twenty times as great as the Mageik 
Slide, putting it in a class altogether by 
itself. 

The velocity of the Bandai San Slide 
was tremendous. Our authors estimate 
it as 48 miles, or 77 kilometers per hour. 
It was accompanied by terrific wind 
blasts (minimum velocity 90 miles an 
hour), which overthrew houses and tore 
up trees by the roots. 

With the perspective furnished by 
these comparisons, we are enabled to 
rank the Mageik Slide among similar 
phenomena that have occurred else- 
where. Although a pigmy in compari- 
son with Bandai San, it is so much 
larger than most of the better known 
slides and shows so many features of 
exceptional interest, that it must be con- 
sidered one of the most remarkable in 
history. 

^ This account is accompanied by drawings 
showing the innumerable cones studding the 
surface of the flow, in perhaps even more striking 
fashion than the photographs of the Mageik 
Slide reproduced herewith. 



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jraoLograpn oy d. d. ruuuu 
AN ASH ACCUMULATION ON A TRIBUTARY OF SOLUKA CREEK 

The streams covered their beds with many feet of ash after the eruption. Later they began to re- 
move the ash, sometimes cutting deep canyons. All of the material from the water up to the highest 
bank in front of the bushes is ash. The barometer indicated a thickness of 70 feet. 

146 



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XII 

KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS— PHYSIOGRAPHIC INSTABILITY 
—ASHFALL— RETURN OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS 



When we landed on Katmai Beach 
again in 191 6 we found the general ap- 
pearance of the country much the same 
as the year before, though the mountains 
were a little greener and even on the flat 
a few seedlings were beginning to start; 
but when we began to examine the old 
landmarks we observed great changes in 
. detail. 

The site of our base camp of the pre- 
vious year, for example, was found buried 
under twenty inches of fresh pumice 
washed off the mountain side, and a 
brook had cut its bed across the place 
where our tent had stood. The year be- 
fore this stream had been 50 yards away. 
Indeed, it was by reason of just such 
changes thatthecountry retained thesame 
general appearance from year to year. 

If it once settled down so that the 
ground ** stayed put,*' vegetation would 
begin to creep in and the whole face of 
the country would soon change.^ 

INSTABILITY THE KEY TO THE ABNORMAL 
PHYSIOGRAPHY 

Instability is, in fact, the key to the 
abnormal physiography of the ash- 
covered region. Whether one observes 
the mountain tops, the hillsides, or the 
valleys of the streams, the one most 
striking feature of the landscape is its 
continually shifting surface. 

On returning in 19 18 to the camp-site 
at the base of Observation Mountain 
used in 191 7, Say re and Hagelbarger 
found that the ground on which the tents 
had stood was covered by about two feet 
of fresh pumice washed in during the 
interval. By 1919 the process had been 
reversed. The stream had not only re- 
moved the new accumulation but had 
cut away all the ash, clear down to the 

* More detailed discussions of the problems of 
the revegctation of the country can be found in 



original soil. On page 161 is shown the, 
stump of a tree that was cut at a con- 
venient height in 1917. In 1919 the cut 
end stood nine feet above the ground. 
Some of the treadmill ash slides al- 
luded to in Chapter viii were in continual 
motion. Near the base camp of 1915- 
16 was a cliff from which there was an 
almost constant stream of fine ash slid- 
ing down a little channel and dropping 
off the edge, like the sand in an hour- 
glass. But the "hour" of this glass 
never ended, for week after week the 
same trickle kept steadily sliding down, 
varying only with the wind, increasing 
as it rose and decreasing as it fell. 

FREQUENT AVALANCHES FROM THE OVER- 
LOADED MOUNTAINS 

The general unsettlement of the 
mountains produced by the great loads 
of ash dumped upon them was not al- 
together relieved when the surface ash 
had slid off. Once started, the moun- 
tain sides continued to send down ava- 
lanches for a long time. 

Some of the ash-cones were thus deeply 
covered with earth and rock, which fell 
after the slides of ash had ceased. On 
page 154 is shown a section of a slide 
produced under such conditions. 

In 1915 rockfalls on a small scale were 
of constant occurrence; never an hour 
passed, night or day, without at least one 
being heard. Often we were awakened 
out of a sound sleep by their noise. 
While most of the rocks that fell were of 
comparatively small size, some were 
large bowlders capable of doing much 
damage (see page 148). 

Entirely unused to such happenings, 
we could not at first believe that these 

the Scientific Results of the Katmai Expeditions 
of the National Geographic Society, Ohio Journal 
of Science, vol. 19, pp. 318 et seq. 



147 



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148 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

A ROCK THAT ROLLED OFF THE MOUNTAIN SIDE NEAR 
OUR BASE CAMP, I916 



frequent falls were due to natural causes, 
and for a long time supposed they must 
have been started by bears digging roots 
on the mountain side. But, after re- 
peated failures to find Bruin with our 
glctsses, it gradually dawned on us that 
they were merely part of the readjust- 
ment of the physiography after the erup- 
tion. They were, however, a passing 
phase, much less frequent in 1916 than 
the year before. 

BURIED SNOWDRIFTS PERSIST FOR YEARS 

Everywhere throughout the region one 
is made to feel the importance of wind 



action on the land- 
scape. Almost every 
part of the surface of 
the country shows the 
effect of wind, being 
either eroded away by 
the powerful blasts or 
built up by deposits of 
wind-borne sand. 

There are, to be 
sure, few such dunes 
of ash as have been 
formed near Kodiak, 
for the ash on the 
mainland is so much 
coarser and heavier 
that it seldom shows 
the characteristics of 
drifting snow. The 
deposits here are 
smoother, forming 
more regular veneers 
over the hills, and so 
fitting their contours 
as to be much less 
noticeable than the 
smaller deposits 
among the plants at 
Kodiak. 

Allusion has already 
been made to the cav- 
erns formed by the 
melting of ash-covered 
drifts. We were as- 
tonished to find that 
in some cases an ac- 
cumulation of ash two 
feet deep had been piled on the drifts 
since the last snowfall. 

Ash is so full of air spaces that a layer 
of it acts like the sawdust of an ice house, 
protecting the snow from the sun's rays 
and greatly retarding melting. 

At higher altitudes, where the ash 
covers the snow only in spots, its insulat- 
ing property is very strikingly brought 
out by the differences in melting between 
the bare spots and those covered with 
ash. Even where the covering is very 
thin, melting is retarded and the pro- 
tected spots soon stand up above the 
general surface. In this way the snow- 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



149 



Photograph by D. B. Church 

A SNOWDRIFT COVERED BY TWO FEET OF WIND-BLOWN ASH, NEAR KATMAI VILLAGE, 

AT SEA-LEVEL, JULY 1 5 

Thus protected from the sun, melting of the snow is so retarded that in many places formerly un- 
covered early in the season the snow now fails to melt away and is accumulating year by year. 



drifts come to be covered with the most 
curious, regular, ash-covered cones of ice 
(see page 156). 

Where the ash-cover is deeper the 
melting of the snow is almost prevented, 
making permanent many drifts which 
formerly vanished early in the season. 
Thus, a secondary effect of the eruption 
may be a lowering of the snow line 
and an increase in the glaciers of the 
mountains. 

In this connection it is interesting 
to observe that snowdrifts covered by 
the original falls of ash at the time of 
the eruption have melted away very 
slowly. 

Five years afterward we found cave- 
ins, where such drifts were just be- 
ginning to melt from under the regu- 
lar strata of ash which covered them. 
As previously stated, the ash was not 



hot enough as it fell to melt the snow 
appreciably. 

WIND EROSION OF ASH SLOPES 

In more exposed places the wind has 
greatly eroded the deposits, smoothing 
the rough places and rounding off the 
whole surface. In planing down irregu- 
larities the wind has often cut through 
the various layers of ash, leaving the hill- 
sides marked with bands and circles 
where deposits of different colors are 
alternately laid bare (see page 130). 

Where wind-swept situations were 
occupied by birches, their dead trunks 
bear evidence of the poWer of the gales. 
On the northwest side the bark has all 
been cut away and in many cases the 
wood as well has been deeply abraded by 
pieces of ash and pumice flying before 
the wind (see page 91). 



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ISO 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by D. B. Church 



A CAMP SITE OF I915 



On the first expedition our camp stood on the bank of Fickle Creek, whose channel, six feet deep, 
occupied, the foreground of the present picture. During the year the channel was filled up and oblit- 
erated, while a new channel was dug a thousand feet away. Compare the picture on the opposite page. 



One of the most astonishing instances 
of the instability of the country was 
noted near the mouth of Soluka Creek 
in 1916. Here, as elsewhere, everything 
looked perfectly familiar, but when we 
tried to find our last year's camp our 
memories seemed to have failed. No 
one could locate it. How we could have 
missed it was a mystery, for it was conven- 
iently placed on the bank of a tumultuous 
torrent which supplied us with water. 

FICKLE CREEK SHIFTS ITS COURSE I,000 
FEET IN A YEAR 

Curious to check up such an unusual 
lapse of memory, we hunted and hunted 
through the dead forest in search of the 
old camp. Finally we found the tent 
pins and the coals of the fire, just as we 
had left them, but the creek was no- 
where in the vicinity. It had moved a 
thousand feet away. 



Not only was the stream gone; its very 
bed was missing as well. The year be- 
fore it had flowed in a steep-sided trench, 
six feet below the general level, but now 
the ground was smoothed oflf so perfectly 
that we could not, after the most careful 
search, detect the position of the former 
banks. 

We were not so much astonished that 
the stream had filled up its bed and 
moved away, for that meant simply a 
fresh supply of pumice from a slide some- 
where upstream; but that it could have 
done it so perfectly as to leave no trace 
was incredible. 

When we studied such streams at 
work, however, we were enabled to un- 
derstand the process. We observed that 
as they filled their channels the most 
tumultuous torrents gradually became 
subdued, more and more of their volume 
disappearing in the interstices of their 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



151 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

THE BED OF FICKLE CREEK IN I916 

It had shifted a thousand feet in the year. We would not have believed that such a channel could be 
filled up so smoothly, without touching the coals of our old camp fire. 



loose porous beds. Thus, their power 
was gradually dissipated, until at the end 
they became mere idle trickles spread 
out over broad flat plains of smooth-laid 
pumice. 

In the case of Fickle Creek, a break in 
the banks upstream had stopped this 
slow process of aggrading just after the 
channel had filled up, turning the water 
in a new direction and giving it a steep 
gradient which enabled it to cut out 
another steep-sided trench. 

ANTICS OF PUMICE-CHOKED STREAMS 

Such streams, choked with ash and 
pumice, were extremely interesting 
things to watch. They spread out over 
the whole width of their flood plains, 
which had been filled with pumice several 
feet above the original level, wandering 
this way and that through the dead 
forest in a most fantastic way, changing 
their courses very rapidly, never the 
same for half an hour at a time. 

As the supply of ash and pumice was 
practically unlimited, the water was al- 
ways choked with more than it could 



carry. The pumice was so full of cavities 
that much of it floated, and the rest was 
but slightly heavier than the water. 

The stream thus carried a much 
greater load of this sort of material than 
it could of ordinary sand or gravel, and 
this gave it a most peculiar appearance. 
The whole bottom was rapidly traveling 
downstream, its continuous steady mo- 
tion reminding one of those moving plat- 
forms on endless belts sometimes used to 
transport passengers. 

A brook near one of our camps had cut 
entirely through the accumulated mass 
of ash just below a fall, forming a bluff 
about 70 feet high (see page 146). 

A hundred yards downstream, how- 
ever, the slope flattened out somewhat 
and the brook had been completely over- 
come by the enormous quantity of 
pumice in its way. It was ludicrous to 
watch the struggles of this stream as it 
wrestled with the pumice in its bed. 

Dammed up in the failure of a previous 
attempt, it would gradually accumulate 
energy enough for a new effort. Then, 
suddenly breaking its bonds, it would 



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152 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photosraph by R. F. Griggs 

RAISED CHANNELS BUILT UP BY OVERLOADED STREAMS 

By watching such streams one can see how the mighty Mississippi builds dikes in its channel, raising it 
above the level of the surrounding bottom lands. 



rush forward down the slope, pushing a 
pile of grating pumice before it as though 
to engulf the onlooker, writhing this way 
and that like a live thing, picking up 
pieces of pumice and floating them along 
as it came. 

Before it had gone far, however, its 
new load would literally choke it, and it 
would give up the struggle in a hiss of 
rattling pumice stones, only to repeat 
the process at another point in a few 
minutes. 

CARICATURES OF AGGRADING RIVERS 
BUILDING FANS, DIKES, AND DELTAS 

Watching these overloaded streams 
was instructive as well as amusing, for in 
their activities they furnished perfect 
miniatures — caricatures made diagram- 
matically simple — of the processes by 
which mighty rivers build their beds. 

Here one could see in the course of a 
few minutes changes in channel which 
rivers require centuries to accomplish. 

The lower Mississippi, for example, 
has built its banks high above the ad- 
jacent bottom lands, so high that when a 



break occurs the water spreads out far 
and wide, inundating everything except 
the immediate bank. The fact is evi- 
dent, but I had never quite understood 
how a river could build such dikes for 
itself. It seemed too much like "lifting 
oneself by one*s own boot straps." These 
streams furnish the demonstration. 

Every one of their channels is built up 
high above the general surface, hemmed 
in by steep-sided dikes as regular as man 
himself could build. In an ordinary 
photograph it is possible to show only 
the finished channel standing as the 
stream left it, but in our motion pictures 
the whole process from beginning to end 
is beautifully portrayed. 

Here one may see why it is that the 
deltas at mouths of rivers always assume 
a finger-form shape. For the process of 
building up the enclosing dikes soon 
reaches a limit. The stream bed is built 
so high above the general level that the 
banks can no longer restrain the waters, 
and they break out at the weakest place. 

The ensuing flood bursts over the 
lower ground, at first spreading over the 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



153 



Photograph by D. B. Church 
PATCHES OF RESURRECTED HERBAGE IN CLEARED AREAS 

Contrast the bare ash-covered ground round about. The roots from which these plants grew were 
buried for three years, but when uncovered by the great flood of July, 19 15, quickly put up new 
growth. 



whole surface, but soon cutting a new 
trench where the current is swiftest. 
The stream is thus entrenched in a new 
channel, which in turn is diked in and 
built up like an aqueduct. 

Whether the slackening of current 
that causes the stream to drop its load is 
due to entering a larger body of water or 
to a change in grade, the land form pro- 
duced is much the same. The repetition 
of the process of grading up, over and 
over again at different points, results in 
the formation of a smooth fan, spread 
out radially from the point where the 
current is slackened. 

All the while the little brook, like the 
great river, is moving its load of pumice 
downstream. Before long there comes a 
time when it approaches the completion 
of its task. The supply of pumice at 
the headwaters begins to fail. As soon 
as this happens the energy of the water 
is released in part, and with renewed 
power the stream begins to cut away 
the earlier accumulation. 



In this process, as in building up, the 
channels shift rapidly from side to side, 
cutting first here, then there, along their 
banks. This results in the formation of 
terraces, like those often found in large 
river valleys. 

Sometimes one may count as many as 
a dozen of them, differing by no more 
than a foot in level, beautifully carved 
out by the shifting channels of one 
of these diminutive rivulets (see page 
248). 

OBSERVATIONS ON THE DEPTH AND 
CHARACTER OF THE ASH DEPOSITS 

As we pushed our exploration into dif- 
ferent parts of the ash-covered country, 
we kept records of the amount and 
character of the ashfall at various lo- 
calities. The results of our study, com- 
bined with the earlier observations of 
Martin, are shown graphically by the 
map facing page one. 

The most striking feature of the maps 
is the great irregularity in the courses of 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



155 



the contours. It is probable, moreover, 
that if we were in possession of full data 
from the unexplored areas north and 
east of the volcano, the lines would fol- 
low even more sinuous courses than those 
shown. 

The occurrence of such irregularities, 
some of them so glaring £ts to appear 
almost like errors in the record, at first 
seems surprising. 

It must be remembered, however, that 
the distribution of ashfall is largely con- 
trolled by the caprice of the variable 
winds. Whea one recalls the well-known 
irregularity of air currents around high 
mountains, the sinuous contours of the 
ashfall find, perhaps, a sufficient explana- 
tion. 

In the deeper deposits of the mainland 
there are naturally many more strata 
than in the thinner falls at greater dis- 
tance. Nevertheless, the major strata, 
a middle brown layer between two of a 
gray color, observable at Kodiak, are 
dominant everywhere in the sector south- 
east of the crater. 

Down Naknek Lake and on the Be- 
ring Sea side of the range generally the 
stratification seems not to be correlated 
readily with that of the Pacific slope. 

When we came up Katmai Valley 
under the volcano, we found a fourth 
layer of yellowish ash on top of the three 
primary strata. Close to the volcano 
this had a thickness comparable with 
the others, but it thinned out rapidly and 
disappeared within a few miles. 

This layer we took to be due to a 
subsequent explosion of lesser violence, 
which had not thrown its ejecta high 
enough in the air to effect a wide dis- 
tribution. 

The very top of the deposits on the 
mainland is formed by a curious layer of 
dark, very fine, brown material so re- 
tentive of moisture that, under the cli- 
matic conditions obtaining, it always ap- 
pears as mud rather than dust. On the 
slopes of the volcano this top mud layer 
is several inches in thickness. At greater 
distances it becomes extremely thin, but 
it is definitely recognizable as far away as 



Katmai Village, where it gives a slight 
brown tinge to the top of the deposit. 
This layer differs from all the others in 
that it shows no tendency to drift about 
befoi:e the winds. Its presence and its 
thickness are so uniform £ts to suggest 
that, even as it fell, it was not subject to 
wind dispersal, i, e, that it may have been 
precipitated with the rainfall rather than 
by settling out of the air as dry dust. 

PLANTS LIE DORMANT, UNTIL UNCOVERED 
BY FLOOD WASH 

The most surprising change in con- 
ditions in 1916 was a resurrection of 
plants in places washed bare of ash by 
the great flood. The evidence that 
plants could survive burial for three 
years was here much more positive than 
that which we found later at Kodiak 
(see page 153). 

At the ** Flood Fall" and in numerous 
other places that had been deeply 
covered with ash until cleared by the 
flood waters, numerous plants had ap- 
peared. Most of them were survivals, 
coming up from old roots, which had re- 
mained deeply buried ever since the 
eruption. 

Examination of the roots showed that 
there had been no attempt at growth 
during the three years intervening be- 
tween the eruption and the flood, for the 
fresh shoots of the season were evidently 
the first to start since the old stems 
had been crushed down beneath the 
ash. 

Resurrection was not restricted to any 
particular species, but appeared to in- 
clude practically all kinds of plants that 
had originally occupied the ground laid 
bare. 

Among them were several of the most 
characteristic species of the region, e.g., 
blue-top grass {CalamagrosUs scabra), 
horsetail {Equisetum arvense)^ a sedge 
{Carex sp.), salmon-berry (Rubus spec- 
tabilis), a willow {Salix arctica)^ stone- 
crop {Khodiola rosea), bumet {Sanguis 
sorba sitchensis), wormwood {Artemisia 
tilesii), twisted-stalk {Streptopus amplexi- 
folius) , bitter cress {Cardamine umbellata) , 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



157 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



DETAIL FROM ASH-COVERED SNOW FIELD 



When sectioned the cones are found to consist of ice which, blanketed by the ash, has melted more 

slowly than the bare snow round about. 



chickweed {Cerastium sp.), a grass {Poa 
sp.), and a rush {Juncus sp.). 

Together with these root-survivals 
were numerous seedlings, sprung from 
seeds that had lain dormant beneath the 
ash. Sedges {Carex spp.) and elder- 
berry {Sambucus pubens) were abundant 
in all such stations; Geranium (G. 
erianthum), and alum root {Heuchera gla- 
bra) were found less commonly, as was 
Polemonium (P. coeruleum), which may, 
however, have been a root survival 
rather than a seedling. 

If these plants had not been found in 
connection with the high-water marks of 
the great flood, the date of which was 
known, we should not have believed that 
they could endure such a long period of 
enforced dormancy. 

But these survivals, together with 
what we found around Kodiak, led us to 
suspect that the resurrection of old plants 
usually plays an important r61e in re- 
covery of vegetation after an eruption. 

THE BEGINNING OF REVEGETATION 

The re^stablishment of a plant cover 
over an area deeply covered by ash is. 



however, quite distinct from the recovery 
of scattered survivors, for the isolated 
spots where the ash is removed comprise 
only an insignificant fraction of the 
whole surface. 

Real revegetation, the colonization of 
deep deposits by new plants, is obviously 
much slower and much more difficult 
than the rejuvenation of old roots. 

New plants not only must start from 
tiny seeds, as contrasted with the ex- 
tensive rootstocks of survivors, but they 
must draw their nutrition from the sterile 
ash rather than from the fertile soil be- 
neath. 

At the time of our first visit it could 
not be said that revegetation proper had 
begun, but in 1916 and in subsequent 
years definite though very slight begin- 
nings in the formation of a new plant 
cover had started. 

The handicaps that must be overcome 
by new plants in getting a foothold on 
the shifting ash are very great. When 
one considers the physiographic insta- 
bility of the country, he marvels that 
seeds can find any situations stable 
enough to permit their starting. 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

FRUITING LUPINES GROWING IN DEEP ASH DEPOSITS 

These plants are the most successful pioneers in the process of revegetation, because, on account of 
their root tubercles, they obtain nitrogen from the air, while most other plants are dependent on 

Xnic compounds. The vi^or of the plants and the abundance of the fruit in the Katmai region 
d ample evidence that soil conditions are not unfavorable in areas where plants are not killed by 
sand blast. 



One would suppose that the extreme 
poverty of the ash in all those salts neces- 
sary for plant nutrition, especially in 
nitrogenous compounds (as shown by 
analysis, page 46), would be the crit- 
ical factor in retarding revegetation. 
Observation, however, shows that in 
reality it is the mechanical rather 
than the chemical factors which limit 
the process. 

The instability of the soil discussed 
above in its physiographic bearings is, in 
fact, one of the greatest obstacles to re- 
vegetation. 

The effect of sand blast on the coloni- 
zation of the soil is not easily observed 
directly, because at best the seedlings are 
few and far between. It was clear, how- 
ever, that revegetation was restricted 
to areas relatively free from both sand 
blast and accumulating drifts. 

Seedlings nevertheless often revealed 



an astonishing degree of tolerance to 
drifting ash. Lupines, for example, had 
become thoroughly established in an area 
where the sand blast was severe enough 
to decorticate woody stems. 

SEEDS, CARRIED BEFORE THE WIND, FAIL 
TO LODGE IN PUMICE FI-ATS 

In addition to affecting revegetation 
by keeping the surface soil always drift- 
ing about, the wind controls to a large 
extent seed dispersal. 

Regardless of the various adaptations 
of the different species for dissemination, 
the distribution of seed in this district is 
effected largely by the high winds which 
prevail. They are so powerful that they 
can carry even heavy seed for long dis- 
tances, thus assuring that adequate sup- 
ply of seed throughout the devastated 
area without which revegetation would 
be impossible. 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



159 



SOCKEYE SALMON SPAWNING IN A SMALL BROOK 
This was the only stream in the Valley in which they were to be found (see text page 161). 



I found by experiment that a breeze of 
only 15 miles an hour was able to pick up 
and carry off lupine beans, one of the 
heaviest of native seeds. It is evident 
that the frequent gales must carry seeds 
beyond into every corner of the ash- 
covered district. 

Under the circumstances the rel- 
ative distances of different areas from 
sources of seed supply are of little conse- 
quence. 

Yet the wind interferes greatly with 
the seeding down of any particular 
situation. The picture of the bear 
trail, reproduced on page 162, gives the 
clearest testimony as to the condi- 
tions. The seeds, carried before the 
wind, found no lodgment on the smooth 
flat, but were caught in the depres- 
sions, perpetuating the transitory foot- 
prints. 

Likewise, we found the old dry heaps 
of pumice deposited by the shifting 
streams the abode of numerous seedlings, 



in contrast to the bare ash round about. 
Evidently the seeds had been carried 
down by the water and planted in the 
pumice out of reach of the wind. 

LUPINES THE MOST IMPORTANT PIONEER 
PLANTS 

In wet places on the flats, seedlings of 
many sorts were springing up sparingly, 
but in well-drained situations the lupine 
was much the most effective pioneer. 
It was not until 1919, however, that 
new plants were found coming up in 
deep deposits on the hillsides, and then 
they had gained a foothold only on 
slopes sheltered from the most violent 
winds. 

Yet in some localities they were so 
abundant and so thrifty as to seem to 
give a clear indication of the course that 
revegetation was to take. 

There is every reason to believe that 
with the years they will gradually spread 
into more and more exposed places, for it 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by E. C. Kolb 
MOUNT MAGEIK FROM THE ASH FLATS 
The elderberries and bunches of grass have come up through a heavy blanket of ash and pumice. 



is evident that the extreme instability 
of the country is gradually subsiding and 
that every new plant serves as a soil 
binder, helping to prevent further shift- 
ing in the soil which it occupies (see 
pages 46 and 47). 

The lupine is in several ways peculiarly 
well adapted as a pioneer. Its heavy 
seeds can lodge where the lighter seeds 
of grass would be blown away. The 
large quantity of food stored in the seed 
enables the young plant to grow with 
great rapidity and establish itself in a 
much shorter time than species with 
smaller seeds. 

It is, moreover, a leguminous plant, 
and like all the members of the bean 
family is provided with bacterial root 
tubercles, which enable it to utilize the 
free nitrogen of the air. 

The lupines growing in the ash de- 
posits all had very abundant and thrifty 
tubercles. Their ability to obtain the 
nitrogen necessary for their sustenance 
from the air must be an advantage of 
prime importance in a soil from which 



organic nitrogen compounds are practi- 
cally absent. 

Nature has here carried out on an ex- 
tensive scale a field repetition of Hel- 
riegeFs famous pot experiments by which 
he proved that legumes could live on 
nitrogen drawn from the air in soils 
where other plants perished for lack of 
that ability (see page 158). 

Since nitrogenous compounds are essen- 
tial to plant life, the conditions here would 
seem to prohibit the growth of any plants 
except those provided with some means 
of rendering the nitrogen of the air avail- 
able. 

With great interest, therefore, we ob- 
served that a few individuals of other 
plants had obtained a foothold in the 
same deep ash. They had somehow 
managed to obtain enough nitrogen to 
reach maturity and produce seed. These 
included blue- top grass {Calamagroslis 
scabra), a sedge {Carex sp.), and a rush 
(Juncoides sp.). Just how these plants 
managed to subsist in a soil so nearly 
devoid of all nitrogenous compounds is 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



I6l 



Photograph by W. L. Henning 



EROSION IN VOLCANIC ASH 



We cut oflF the top of this tree in 1917 at a then convenient height. So much ash washed out in the 
ensuing years that in 1919 the cut end stood nine feet above the ground. 



a mystery, but that a few individuals 
did so is beyond question. 

A FEW FISH 

One might suppose that no fish of any 
kind could have survived in the pumice- 
choked streams. 

We were thus surprised on our first 
trip up the river to find a few small fish, 
like minnows, playing over the quick- 
sands. These were, however, unusual. 
We saw no more fish of any sort until 
191 7, when we discovered some Dolly 
Varden trout in a brook on the south side 
of the Valley, where the ashfall had been 
about 18 inches on the level. 

As such a quantity of ash seemed suffi- 
cient to choke the stream, we supposed at 
first these must be migrants from out- 
side the devastated area. But an ex- 
amination of the scales of one of them, 
by Professor Charles H. Gilbert of Stan- 
ford University, indicated that it had 
been spawned in 1915, probably in the 
stream where found, so it seems more 



likely that its ancestors had survived in a 
particularly deep pool which happened 
to occur in the course of the stream. No 
trout were found in neighboring brooks. 

A PERVERTED RUN OF SALMON 

Everywhere we kept a sharp lookout 
for salmon, but found none until 1917, 
when we discovered one little brook in 
which red salmon were running in con- 
siderable numbers. This stream did not 
appear different in any way from a score 
of others which coursed down the moun- 
tain side to join Katmai River. But 
although we could find no fish in any of 
the other streams, we caught them here 
almost every time we came by, taking 
altogether about 50 in the course of a 
month (see page 159). 

Readers unfamiliar with the spawning 
habits of the salmon may be surprised 
to learn that fish two feet long could 
be found in a stream only a few inches 
deep; but the initiated will recognize 
that there is nothing unusual in such an 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



163 



occurrence. It is well known that some 
species of salmon work their way up into 
brooks so shallow that their backs stick 
out before they deposit their eggs. 

The remarkable thing about this run 
was that all of the fish taken were red 
(sockeye) salmon, a species which spawns 
in lakes and normally seeks only streams 
which have accessible lakes in their 
courses. 

When we observed that our fish were 
sockeyes, one of the party examined the 
whole length of the stream to see whether 
there could be a lake on its course, but 
he reported that there was no possibility 
of there ever having been a pond in the 
stream. 

SALMON PROBABLY HATCHED WHERE 
• FOUND 

Thinking, therefore, that the fish 
might be strays, diverted to this stream 
by the abnormal character of the 
country, we sent some of their scales to 
Professor Gilbert, who, after examining 
them, reported: 

'*It seems impossible to accept a sug- 
gestion that these fish were strays from 
some other region. . . . Each of the 
salmon from which you collected material 
had had an identical history. Each was 
five years old (that is, was in its fifth year 
when captured, having been spawned the 
year of the eruption) and each had lived 
two years in fresh water before going to 
sea. ... I think it decidedly prob- 
able that they were hatched in the very 
tributary of the Katmai River in which 
alone they were to be found.*' 

We were anxious to see whether similar 
runs would continue in subsequent years. 
The stream was visited again in 1918, 
but it was on the 4th of July, which is 
rather too early for the fish. In 191 9 we 
searched diligently for them a number of 
times during the spawning season, but 
none were found, either in this stream or 
any of the others. 

We have little basis for theorizing on 
the significance of this anomalous run, 
but it is clear that here is a biological 
problem of great interest and importance. 



If we understood fully why these fish 
ran into that particular stream at that 
particular time, we might gain an insight 
into the causes which lead to the well- 
known peculiarities of their runs: the 
great variation in their numbers from 
year to year, their great abundance in 
some streams and their scarcity in others. 

Beginning at Soluka Creek, a marked 
change in the animal life of the upper 
valley was evident when we returned in 
19 16. The year before we had seen in 
this area only a solitary duck and a few 
small birds, all evidently waifs, though 
insects had been fairly numerous — in- 
cluding mosquitoes, black flies, and 
abundant dipterous larvae under the 
bark of the decaying trees. 

In 19 16 there were numerous flocks of 
chickadees and sparrows, and the insect 
life showed a marked increase, both in 
abundance and variety. 

In upper Katmai Valley the change 
was much greater, for where there had 
been practically no life the year before, 
insects of many species were fairly swarm- 
ing. They were everywhere, not only in 
the valley but high up on the mountains 
as well. 

FLIES DYING OF STARVATION 

The insects were all ravenously hungry. 
When we ate our noonday lunches they 
swarmed over our food until they be- 
came a nuisance. 

They were, moreover, tame — so tame 
that we had no difficulty in catching 
specimens of all of them with our hands. 
This may have been merely the result of 
hunger, with its consequent weakness. 
However the larvae of these insects 
might have subsisted, there could be no 
doubt that the adults which we en- 
countered all faced the same end — star- 
vation. 

At one place in the valley we found a 
little bunch of grass standing by itself, 
far away from any other herbage. We 
were astonished to observe, on examin- 
ing it, that the ground beneath was 
covered with dead flies — half a teacupful, 
of all species. 



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164 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOl SAND SMOKES 



The blades had t>een gnawed and 
chewed by the scores of living insects 
which were clinging to them in the vain 
hope of sustenance from the lone bit of 
green 'see page 162). That the grass 
was not the proper food for them was 
evident from the heaps of dead on the 
ground. But it was not until the speci- 
mens could be determined at home that 
we fully realized the unusual character 
of this assemblage of insects. 

LVSECTS Mf>STLY PREDACEOUS OR 
PARASITIC 

When the collection was examined by 
Professor Hine it was found that less 
than 30 per cent were vegetable feeders, 
the remaining 70 per cent being composed 
of parasitic predaceous, blood-sucking, 
and dung- feeding forms.* 

We were very much puzzled to account 
for these insects in a region from which 
they had been absent the year before. 
It was hardly supposable that they had 
bred in the vicinity. But if they had been 
blown in by the wind, why had they been 
absent the year before, when the gales 
had been more numerous? And if they 
had come in this way, why should there 
be such a curious assemblage of parasitic 
and predaceous forms, rather than a 
representative collection of the whole 
insect fauna? 

Such study as we could give the sub- 
ject did not enable us to solve these 
problems. After a severe gale which 
might have been expected to bring in a 
new supply, if indeed they were wind 
borne, we could detect no change in the 
insect population around us. Moreover, 
when we returned to the Valley in 191 7, 
we found it inhabited by the same species 
of insects that we had observed the year 
before. 

Although we were unable to account 
satisfactorily for the peculiar assemblage 

* There were 35 species altogether, distributed 
as follows: 10 parasitic Hymenoptera (parasitic 
on other insects), 2 moths (larvae plant feeders), 
2 mosquitoes, i lepid fly (blood-sucking), 10 
syrphid flies (larvae mostly predaceous on plant 
lice), 6 anthomyid flies (mostly plant feeders), 
I scatophagid fly (dung feeder), i bibonid fly 



of insects which occupied the devastated 
count r\-, we could draw a certain parallel 
to it in the character of the mammals 
encountered. These were all beasts of 
prcA'. Signs of bears, foxes, wolverines, 
and wolves were common. To these we 
added subsequently a weasel; but in the 
whole course of the work not a single 
herbivorous animal, nor the track of one, 
was obserxed until 1919. 

Not a sign of caribou, which formerly 
were abundant, nor of moose, was to be 
seen. Neither did we find any of the 
rodents which had swarmed over the 
country, including marmots, ground 
squirrels, rabbits, porcupines, and numer- 
ous mice. The only exception was one 
small ** mouse" seen by one of the men, 
but this was quite as likely a shrew as a 
rodent. 

NOTABLE INCREASE OF HERBIVOROUS 
ANIMALS IN 19 19 

The progress in the return of animal 
life beti^-een 191 7 and 191 9 ^"as striking. 
There was not only a notable increase in 
the number of animals, but herbivorous 
species began to come in. 

The upper valley of Martin Creek, for 
example, where we spent a number of 
days in 191 7, was then almost without 
larger animals. I particularly remember 
being startled, while wandering alone one 
day, upon finding a solitary loon floating 
about in Horseshoe Pond. My mind, 
which had been absorbed in studying the 
geological problems round about, was 
suddenly brought back to the utter deso- 
lation and solitude of the country by the 
sight of this lonesome bird, paddling about 
close by with no fear of the intruder. 

But when we went up this same valley 
two years later, animals of many sorts 

(usually a feeder on vegetable matter), i lace- 
wing (larva predaceous). 

We were interested to observe that the sca- 
tophagid fly, which is a common dung feeder all 
through Alaska, altered its habits under the 
stimulus of hunger to such an extent as to become 
predaceous, catching and devouring mosquitoes 
in the tent, giving a further indication of the 
straits to which these creatures were reduced by 
the lack of food. 



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KATMAI VALLEY IN LATER YEARS 



I6S 



were abundant. Our footsteps were 
dogged all the way by the* monotonous 
note of the golden crowned sparrow, " Oh 
dear me! Oh, dear me!", in endless 
repetition. 

On one of the little ponds we found not 
only several loons, but two or three pairs 
of golden-eye ducks, geese, and even a 
swan, these contributing an element to 
our larder that had been sadly lacking in 
former years. On the hillside round 
about ptarmigan were nearly always to 
be found, and there were a number of 
colonies of ground squirrels, each with 
several hundred individuals, like a 
'*town" of prairie dogs. To complete 
the fauna there were many short-tailed 
mice, busy about their affairs, as they 
worked along the ground with little heed 
to approaching footsteps. 

Strangely enough, the return of all 
these animals did not appear to be cor- 
related with a corresponding increase in 
their food supply, for the vegetation in 
this particular area had been abundant 
from the first and had not increased ap- 
preciably in the interval. 

Similar conditions were observed 
among the birds about Kodiak, where 
with little doubt the food supply was 
sufficient after the first year. The well 
known varied thrush, or ** Oregon robin,** 
is a good example, since it is a noisy 
bird whose presence can hardly be over- 
looked. The year after the eruption I 
saw not one in my rambles through the 
woods. Two years later one or two 
were found and hailed as great rarities. 



They became gradually more common 
in 1916 and 1917, and in 1919, after 
seven years, were everywhere in great 
abundance. 

The explanation lies, I suspect, in the 
homing habits of animals, which seek to 
breed in the very spots where they them- 
selves were reared. If the birds that 
came to the forest at Kodiak every sum- 
mer were merely chance visitors, likely 
to settle in any favorable situation at the 
end of their migration, they should have 
reappeared in full force the year after the 
eruption. 

But, if the bird life of any locality con- 
sists mainly of individuals that were 
hatched in the vicinity, the long period 
of scarcity followed by a sudden increase 
in numbers is just what would be ex- 
pected. The varied thrush was so 
nearly exterminated at Kodiak by the 
eruption that if repopulation were re- 
stricted to the progeny of survivors a 
number of years must elapse before it 
would reappear in force. Once fairly 
started, however, the repopulation would 
tend to proceed in a geometrical ratio 
at a rapidly increasing rate. 

The delay in the reappearance of 
ground squirrels on the mainland is 
readily explained in the same way. 
These animals were almost exterminated 
by the eruption. Although abundant 
only a few miles away, none seem to have 
migrated into the devastated district 
for some time. After the first pairs 
were established, however, large colonies 
quickly sprang up. 



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XIII 



KATMAI CRATER 



As we plodded up Katmai Valley the 
second year (191 6), our objective was the 
volcano. The day after our arrival, 
July 19, dawned clear and fair, so we 
were up and away toward the mountain 
at an early hour. 

When we started we had little idea of 
making the ascent, expecting to content 
ourselves with reconnoitering the lower 
slopes. Leaving the mudflow at about 
800 feet, we proceeded by an easy grade 
over good hard ground up the long ridge 
that runs out parallel with the river, at 
the end of which we came into a magnifi- 
cent view of the canyon and .the lakes 
of the upper valley — the first sight we 
had had of either. Here the real climb 
begins. 

Should we turn back or should we go 
on? The weather was perfect, or so it 
seemed. The climb thus far had been 
so easy that as we proceeded we had be- 
come more and more anxious to try for 
the rim. 

CLIMBING THE MUD-PLASTERED SLOPES 

The slopes were all plastered with mud 
of varied colors — gray, yellow, chocolate, 
red, black, and blue — thrown out by the 
last spasms of the eruption. 

At the lower levels the mud was dry 
and hard, making easy going; but it soon 
became slippery as we ascended and, a 
little higher, soft and sticky. Most of 
the way it was about ankle deep, but in 
spots it let us down nearly to our knees. 
At times it required all our strength to 
pull ourselves out (see page 169). 

For many hundred feet we went up on 
the crest of the lateral moraine of a 
tumbling glacier which stretches from 
the lowest notch in the crater rim, near 
the sharp rock shown in the pictures, 
down to about 2,000 feet. The eroded 
badlands were grotesque enough, but the 



picture of confusion presented by the 
parti-colored, ash-clothed seracs of this 
glacier was bizarre beyond description. 

At about 3,500 feet patches of snow 
began to alternate with mud and these, 
when covered with wind-blown mud and 
pumice, made much better traveling. 
But above 4,000 feet the way was mostly 
through fresh soft snow, with only oc- 
casional mud patches, and the slopes 
became steeper as we advanced (see 
page 170). 

From the higher levels the scenery was 
superb. Over the tops of the nearer 
mountains, which presented a magnifi- 
cent mass of sharp peaks with interven- 
ing snowfields and glaciers, we could see 
the blue waters of Shelikof Strait and 
the distant snowcaps of Kodiak Island, 
50 miles away. 

Notwithstanding the exceeding sharp- 
ness of the individual peaks the general 
concordance of their elevations suggested 
that they might be the remnants of an 
ancient land surface — a peneplain — as 
believed by Atwood.^ 

When we approached the to p it began 
to cloud up, and we were afraid we should 
not be able to see anything if we did 
reach the rim. All the other summits 
for miles around remained clear, but 
Katmai became densely covered with 
black, heavy clouds which permitted 
only occasional glimpses of the crest. 

Furthermore, we were on the 1 ee side of 
the crater instead of to windward, as we 
should have been. We knew the clouds 
must be due, in part at least, to t he activ- 
ity of the crater, because of the strong 
sulphurous odor which filled the air, but 
we could not tell how much was to be at- 
tributed to this cause and how much 
simply to the greater altitude of the vol- 
cano. 

The clouds were in rapid motion. 



^ United States Geological Survey, Bulletin 467, page 83, paragraph 2. 

167 



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168 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

MOUNT KATMAI FROM NEAR THE BASE CAMP, I917 

From a distance of over 20 miles the volcano loomed up much bigger than the nearer mountains. 
The great jagged edges gave us all a new conception of the immensity of the crater within. 



coming straight up out of the crater. 
What if we should reach the rim only to 
poke our noses into a steam jet, through 
which we could see nothing! 

Yet we were unwilling to give up now, 
without at least a try, and so we pressed 
on. The slope increased in pitch toward 
the top, making the climb progressively 
more wearisome. Church expressed the 
feelings of all when he complained that 
the rim was farther away than when we 
started. No matter how far we went he 
insisted, " It's still a thousand feet to the 
top." And so it appeared up to the 
very crest. Finally at 5,500 feet we 
reached the rim. 

THE KNIFE-EDGE CRATER RIM 

We came to the rim so suddenly that 
we might almost have walked right over 
and tumbled down the precipice inside. 
The edge was unbelievably sharp — so 
sharp that a single step lifted the interior 



into full view. We stopped in our tracks, 
sank to our knees, then stretched out at 
full length, and, propped up on our 
elbows, peered over. 

On this knife edge we lay, trying to 
fathom the cloud of steam that rose in 
our faces. For our fears had been real- 
ized : before we gained the rim the clouds 
had shut down, enveloping us in mist. 
Then there came a little rift, and for a 
second we could make out dimly some- 
thing blue, far, far below. Then the 
steam cut us off again, and again we 
waited. 

We could see only a few feet in any 
direction. To left and right a little of 
the precipitous wall could be made out, 
standing almost vertical. Yet the crest 
was made of loose fragmental stuff — ash 
from the eruption. Its knife-edge sharp- 
ness was maintained by frequent slump- 
ing away into the depths. 

Back from the crest was a series of 



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KATMAI CRATER 



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* Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

STUCK IN THE MUD ON THE WAY UP TO THE CRATER — FIRST ASCENT 
The slopes of the volcano were covered with soft, sticky mud and slush (see text, page 167). 



fissures running parallel with the edge, 
where the rim was cracked off, ready to 
drop over the cliff. These had com- 
pelled us to detour till we could find a 
place at least without visible signs of 
slumping off. 

The ash lay in the same even bedded 
layers as below. Although it was here 
40 or 50 feet deep, three times as much as 
at the foot of the mountain, the frag- 
ments of which it was composed were 
little coarser than there (see page 171). 

Our suspense as we waited, perched on 
that eery crumbling edge, cut off by the 
encircling mist from everything else in 
the universe, would be hard to describe. 
Were we to be cheated, after all our 
effort? 

Finally, the steam blew away, and we 
were struck speechless by the sight below. 

FIRST VIEW OF THE CRATER 

We found ourselves hanging over the 
brink of an abyss of such immensity that, 
as the event proved, we were powerless 
even to guess its size. Down, down, 



down, we looked until the cliff shelved 
off and we could follow it no further. 

In the bottom lay a wonderful lake, of 
a weird vitriolic robin's-egg blue, milky, 
like one of the glacial lakes of Syritzer- 
land. The middle of this was set with a 
horseshoe island, the remnant of a cinder 
cone evidently thrown up in the last 
spasms of the eruption. Around the 
margin hissed columns of steam, issuing 
from every crevice. On the opposite 
side of the crater were spots of yellow 
sulphur, and in two corners where the 
slopes were less precipitous were exten- 
sive snowfields (see pages 172 and 178). 

All this we took in almost at a glance, 
for we were given no time to study de- 
tails. Before we could get our tripod 
set up the cloud closed in again, and we 
waited amid a roar of escaping steam. 
What if we should fail to get the coveted 
pictures for lack of a clear moment! 
Finally there came a little rift and fran- 
tically we made our exposures. 

I had planned to take bearings and 
measurements which would afford some 



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I70 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Folaom 

ON THE FIRST ASCENT WE ROPED UP FOR FEAR OF CAVE-INS 
IN THE MUD-COVERED SNOW 

The climbers are within a few hundred feet of the crater rim. 



sort of determination of the depth and 
size of the crater, but we were vouch- 
safed so few clear moments that it was 
impossible to do so. 

We had reached the rim at 5.05 p.m. 
We lingered on the edge for 50 minutes, 
hoping for better views. But as the 
clear intervals became less and less fre- 
quent we had to give it up and start 
home. 

None of us fully realized, I think, how 
far we had come till we found how long it 
took us to get back. Down hill as it 
was, it seemed as though we should never 



finish with that inter- 
minable succession of 
gullies and mud holes. 
It was a weary crowd 
that finally dragged 
into camp, but the 
awe inspired by the 
sight we had beheld 
counterbalanced the 
exhaustion of our 
bodies and kept our 
minds busy with 
speculations on the 
significance of what we 
had seen. 

Next day, on writ- 
ing up our observa- 
tions, Folsom and I fell 
into argument as to 
the size of the crater. 
He maintained that it 
was about 500 feet 
deep, while I insisted 
that it must be more 
nearly 1,500 feet. 

Later we were to 
find how ridiculously 
small both estimates 
were, for the abyss is 
so big that it is liter- 
ally beyond the power 
of the imagination to 
grasp its dimensions, 
even when standing on 
the rim itself. The 
uncertainty of this and 
other details, which we 
had not been able to 
observe satisfactorily in our few brief 
glimpses of the abyss, proved to us that 
we must make another ascent to clear 
up the discrepancies in our observations. 

THE SECOND ASCENT 

But the opportunity for a second as- 
cent did not come until July 30, when 
for the first time since our arrival in the 
Valley, the steam from Mageik rose 
straight up into a cloudless sky. This 
time we chose a route up on to the lava 
plateau from near the mouth of Mageik 
Creek. 



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KATMAI CRATER 



171 



The ground did not seem especially 
favorable from below and we were by no 
means sure of reaching the rim when we 
started ; but we were anxious to examine 
Trident at closer range, and especially to 
see what might lie behind the isthmus 
connecting this volcano with Katmai, 
because of our suspicions of activity in 
that direction. 

THE CRATER OF TRIDENT 

This course gave a fine view of Trident, 
whose crater proved to be a simple 
fissure, out of which steam was con- 
tinually issuing in comparatively small 
volume. 

But we were disappointed in our hopes 
of seeing anything over the divide be- 
tween Trident and Katmai. Although 
we traversed the whole length of the 
nearly level n6v6 at an altitude of about 
4,200 feet, we could see no indications of 
volcanic activity beyond. There were 
several jagged minor summits, but as we 
saw no large mountain and no clouds we 
quite dismissed the idea of a volcano in 
that quarter. How greatly in error we 
were in this conclusion we were to find 
out only the next day. 

On our first ascent we had followed 
straight up a single ridge, and so avoided 
the necessity of crossing the gullies. But 
this time, for a good share of the way be- 
yond 2,000 feet, our path lay across the 
lines of drainage, which had gashed the 
level surface of the ash with innumerable 
seams anywhere from two to ten feet 
deep. We soon found that continued 
jumping and scrambling across these 
gullies was very fatiguing, and we were 
thoroughly tired of the job long before 
we got through them. 

AN ASH-COVERED GLACIER 

For the last 1,500 feet our way led 
across crevassed snowfields and ash- 
covered glaciers. The appearance of 
these ice fields was curious in the extreme. 

Where a glacier was moving rapidly, 
the variously colored layers of ash were 
dumped about promiscuously among the 
glacial seracs, making a bizarre and 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
THE CRATER RIM 
The extreme sharpness of the edge is evident. 

highly colored picture, the reds, browns, 
blacks, and yellows in vivid contrast to 
the pure blue ice. 

Where the glacial motion was slower 
and steadier the ash deposit still lay as it 
fell. In such places drainage systems 
had developed which followed the slope 
exactly as on ordinary hillsides, regard- 
less of the transverse crevasses beneath. 

These lines of drainage were some- 
times able to maintain their courses in 
competition with the crevasses, giving 
rise to a curious double system of topog- 
raphy. The square, straight-sided blocks 
of ash looked like so many huge slices of 
layer cake laid side by side. 

Glaciers of this peculiar type extended 
clear up to the very rim of the crater, 
above whose depths the loose blocks of 
ice hung with such a precarious hold that 
we dared not approach. 

Turning back, we made our way around 
the ice, descending somewhat until we 
finally reached the rim in the lowest 



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Photograph by J. W. Shipley 
THE NORTHERN WALL OF THE CRATER 

The steam from the numerous fissures evaporates about 1,500 feet above the lake, but condenses again 
into a great cumulus cloud on meeting the outside atmosphere. 

172 



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KATMAI CRATER 



173 



notch (altitude 5,200 feet), beside the 
sharp tooth of rock which projects at 
that point (see page 100). 

From the foot of the mountain this 
tooth appeared as a small rock. Near 
at hand it proved to be a great column 
of jointed lava, two or three hundred 
feet high. Its position and structure 
suggested that it may be the solidified 
core of an old vent (see page 175). 

From our position directly under the 
column, its perpendicular cliflfs, though 
insignificant from the Valley, appeared 
immeasurably high! Frequently, in this 
land of stupendous proportions, we 
had occasion to realize how little con- 
ception we could really form of the true 
dimensions of the scenery around us. 

INABILITY TO JUDGE HEIGHT OR DISTANCE 

When one stands directly beneath a 
cliff, or looks down from the brink, 200 
feet appears an immeasurably great 
height. Ten times as much appears 
little greater, unless there are trees, 
houses, or some such familiar objects by 
which the distance may be judged inde- 
pendently. 

In a desert country without any such 
criteria we were frequently unable to 
form any estimate at all of the various 
features that met our view. We had 
an amusing instance of this when, send- 
ing a man up on a great ash slide to 
serve as a scale for a picture I found to 
my amazement he was hardly visible to 
the naked eye, and utterly lost on the 
ground glass. 

We nearly always found our estimates 
too small rather than too large, .and 
generally had to revise our statements 
upwards when accurate data were sup- 
plied by the survey. 

Standing on the edge of the crater, we 
recognized our total inability to form 
any judgment of its depth. Using every 
standard of comparison possible, we con- 
cluded our former guesses were too small 
and that it must be at least 2, 000 feet deep. 
Thus by slow degrees did we approach the 
real figure. But even yet our conjecture 
was barely more than half big enough. 



Estimation of the width of the crater 
was somewhat easier because we could 
see the rim from below. We knew that 
its great jagged arc looked far bigger 
twenty miles away than from the foot 
of the mountain, and by laying it off 
on the chart reckoned that it must be 
about three miles in diameter. Never- 
theless, as we stood there on the crest it 
was impossible to believe that the dis- 
tance across to the high point opposite 
was the equivalent of forty city blocks. 

THE SECOND VIEW OF THE CRATER 

Both the weather conditions and our 
position were more favorable for observa- 
tion of the crater than on our first ascent. 
The sun shone brightly, and it became 
evident why steam had given us so much 
trouble the first time. We found that 
the point which we had reached before 
stood directly above a prominent fissure 
stretching out from the edge of the 
lake. 

The hot lake was now covered with 
wisps of steam, curling up everywhere 
from its surface. The vapor thus given 
off condensed into a hazy cloud, which 
hung in the mouth of the crater, conceal- 
ing the rim opposite. 

At the northeast angle we could see 
another low notch in the rim at about 
the same altitude as the one where we 
stood. But this one was occupied by a 
wall of ice which rose vertically, flush 
with the crater walls, as though sheared 
off by the explosion. 

It was surprising at first sight to find 
that a glacier could have persisted on the 
crater rim, unmelted by the heat of the 
eruption. It might be supposed that, as 
the eruption approached, the tempera- 
ture of the mountain would be raised 
enough to melt away its glaciers, or, at 
any rate, that the heat of the molten 
magma laid bare by the explosions would 
promptly liquefy all the ice near by. 

It is clear, however, that no such thing 
happened. Ice cliffs, the exposed ends 
of beheaded glaciers, stretch for several 
miles along the crater rim. The glaciers 
bear little if any indication of having 



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174 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Folaom 
A LONE WOMAN VISITOR AT THE CRATER's EDGE 

Mrs. Griggs, spurred by an unconquerable optimism, climbed through the fog all the way, while a 
party of the men lingered behind, waiting in vain for a break in the clouds. She ^'as rewarded by 
commg into clear air just before reaching the rim, but some of the men went home without having 
ever beheld this wonder of wonders. 



dwindled during the eruption. The 
parts preserved on the outer slopes were 
outside the blast of the explosions, which 
must have been directed skyward. 

The ice cliff, however, probably did 
not stand so close to the brink during the 
eruption. The crater wall has caved in 
considerably since the eruption and is 
still slumping away at short intervals. 
It is in such an unstable condition that it 
is no infrequent experience, while stand- 
ing on the crater rim, to be startled by a 
roar as something lets go, and on search- 
ing for the cause to find a mass of ice and 
rock bouncing down the half-mile preci- 
pices into the abyss. 

On our first ascent we had not fully 
appreciated the coloring of the walls, 
which are made up of variously tinted 
lavas and tuffs. The prevailing tones 
are soft warm browns, harmoniously 
framing the turquoise lake. But in 
many places these give place to brilliant 



reds and yellows, in strong rich contrast 
to lake and sky. 

ASCENTS IN 191 7 

It was with very different feelings that 
we undertook the climb when we returned 
to the scene in 191 7, for then Katmai was 
a secondary matter in comparison with 
the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. 
Our purpose was to survey the crater to 
ascertain its dimensions. 

But for me personally there was an 
added incentive: I wanted to see how the 
new members of the expedition would 
act when they first popped their heads 
over the rim. I was not disappointed, 
for sated with wonders though they were, 
after a month's sojourn in the Valley of 
Ten Thousand Smokes, they were, if 
possible, more impressed with the crater 
than with the Valley. 

They accused me of not having given 
them any true description of it. Yet I 



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KATMAI CRATER 



175 



Photograph by J. W. Shipley 

TOPOGRAPHERS WORKING ON THE CRATER RIM 

The peak at the left is the inconspicuous tooth seen in the notch of the crater rim from below (see page 
100). A portion of the beheaded glacier lining the rim is shown beyond. 



had done my best and they had studied 
our photographs just before starting. 
Sayre epitomized the situation. He 
told the photographers: '*Go ahead and 

take your d pictures. But you 

might aswell tear them up now. They *11 
never help anybody to imagine what this 
place is like." 

Recalling our previous difficulties with 
mud, we had decided to leave the ascent 
until late in the season, when the winter's 
snow was gone and the mud had had 
time to dry up somewhat. 

Days for climbing the high mountains 
were very few in 191 7, and we had finally 
to wait a full week before there came a 
chance to try. Even then we were 
cheated. As we ascended, the clouds 
began to gather; and just as we reached 
the crest, they completely shut down. 
We had one fleeting glimpse of the crater, 
but before we could so much as set up a 
camera it was gone. We had to wait 
three days longer for another chance. 

Our decision to defer the ascent till 
late in the season was well justified. In 
places where in 191 6 we had floundered 



up the slopes in slippery mud, ankle 
deep, we found the ground hard and firm, 
so that the climb, which before had taxed 
our strength and endurance, was now 
made easily in four hours, even under 
30-pound packs. 

Those who had not gone through the 
previous experience had difficulty in be- 
lieving the first climb could have been so 
much harder, until we came upon our old 
trail. It was broken so deeply into the 
mud that it had persisted in spite of 
freezing and thawing through the winter, 
and was still deep and clear a good share 
of the way! 

In spite of my experience of the pre- 
vious year I found myself overawed by 
the grandeur of the abyss. Its im- 
mensity little comported with my recol- 
lection, huge as I had conceived it to be. 

The proportions are so perfect that no 
one dimension appears exaggerated at 
the expense of the rest. If the crater 
were not so deep, its area would be more 
evident; if its walls were not so precipi- 
tous, one could better measure with his 
eye the distance to the bottom. 



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176 



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As one looks into the abyss, the 
dominant impression is one of 
enormous depth, but this is hard 
to render in the photographs, 
most of which give rather the 
impression of great width. The 
magnitude of the crater is literally 
inconceivable. 

Yet as one stands on the rim 
and projects in his mind's eye the 
outer slopes up to the original 
summit, which stood 4,200 feet 
above the lake within, he does 
gain a conception, perhaps not to 
be duplicated elsewhere, of the 
tremendous forces that destroyed 
the majestic mountain that only a 
little while ago was Katmai. 

There have been no • evident 
changes in the crater during the 
four years covered by our obser- 
vations. Some of the talus slopes 
have extended a little farther into 
the water, but there is no demon- 
strable change in the height of the 
lake. 

Unless there is a subterranean 
outlet, which is very unlikely, its 
level must be controlled by the 
temperature of the crater floor. 
If the quantity of heat given off 
should increase, the water would 
be vaporized more rapidly, lower- 
ing the lake. If the rock should 
cool off, water from the abundant 
precipitation would accumulate 
and the level of the lake rise. 
The height of the lake is thus a 
good indicator of the quantity of 
heat supplied from the conduit 
below. 

We wanted to estimate the 
depth of. the lake, but could find 
no means of doing so and had to 
be content with such surmises as 
we could make from the charac- 
ter of the banks, which vary con- 
siderably. 

Beneath the northeast cliff a 
conspicuous talus slope nearly 
1,000 feet high has accumulated. 
But on the north and northwest 



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KATMAI CRATER 



177 



the cliffs dip off into deep water, with 
no sign of talus. 

When the extremely unstable charac- 
ter of the cliffs and the frequency of ava- 
lanches are recalled, it will be seen that 
the amount of detrftus dumped into the 
lake in the years since the eruption must 
have been prodigious. That this rock 
waste could have entirely disappeared 
beneath the waters suggests that the lake 
is at least several hundred feet deep close 
up to the shore. 

A WEIRD CLOUD-ENCIRCLED CRATER 

The clouds hung off long enough for 
the topographers to make the observa- 
tions necessary to triangulate the crater, 
but even after waiting so many days we 
were permitted only a brief view. Be- 
fore long the clouds began to gather 
again. The struggle between the in- 
creasing mists and the heat rising from 
the abyss created one of the weirdest 
spectacles imaginable. 

Long after the gathering clouds had 
blotted out all else, the crater cup re- 
mained perfectly clear. Above the cliffs 
on all sides stood impenetrable walls of 
mist, 2,000 feet high. The sun shone 
down on the lake out of a blue sky, just 
as it had before. The mist which kept 
filtering into the crater through the low 
notches in the rim was quickly dissipated 
by the heat rising from below. 

For half an hour the elements main- 
tained their balance in this uncanny 
fashion, but finally the increasing cloud- 
iness gained the upper hand, and the lake 
slowly faded from view. 

DIMENSIONS OF CRATER 

From his survey Maynard has com- 
puted the dimensions of the crater as 
follows: The width of the crater rim, as 
seen from below, which includes all of 
the concavity on top of the mountain, is 
3 miles (4.8 km.). The circumference, 
measured along the highest point of the 
rim, is 8.4 miles (13.5 km.). The area is 
4.6 square miles (12 sq, km.). 

* The capacity of the crater is 4,500 million 
cubic yards (3,400 million cubic meters). It 
13 



The precipitous abyss, which does not 
extend to the rim on the southwest side, 
is somewhat shorter, measuring 2.6 miles 
(4.1 km.) in length, 7.6 miles (12.5 km.) 
in circumference, and 4.2 square miles 
(10.8 sq. km.) in area. The milky blue 
lake in the bottom is 1.4 miles (2.2 km.) 
long and 0.9 mile (1.4 km.) wide, with an 
area of 1. 1 square miles (2.8 sq. km.). 
The little crescent-shaped island in the 
lake measures 400 feet (120 meters) 
from point to point. The precipice 
from the lake to the highest point of the 
rim is 3,700 feet (1,130 meters) high. 

THE CRATER WOULD HOLD WATER ENOUGH 
TO SUPPLY NEW YORK OVER FOUR YEARS 

Statistics of dimensions of such mag- 
nitude, however, convey little meaning. 
Suppose we wished to fill the lake to the 
crater rim and had available the pump- 
ing stations which are employed to keep 
New York City supplied with water. 
If we should turn all the streams that 
supply the six million people of that great 
city into Katmai crater the pumps would 
have to continue working steadily for 
I »635 days — four and one half years — 
before the water would reach the lowest 
notch in the crater rim.^ 

This does not begin to tell the story, 
however. If the hole were filled with 
water the cliffs still standing up around 
the lake would form a spectacle almost 
as impressive as the abyss we see today. 
The great cliff on the eastern side would 
stand 1,700 feet above the water's edge 
and nowhere, except at the low notch 
forming the outlet, could we approach 
within hundreds of feet of the water level. 

Because of the great irregularity of the 
crater rim, computation of the quantity 
of water necessary to fill it does not give 
an idea of its true size. The real magni- 
tude of the hole is indicated by the 
quantity of material blown off the 
mountain during the eruption. 

A comparison of the present stub with 
the original mountain shows a difference 
of more than 1 1 ,000 million cubic yards, 

would hold 900,000 million gallons of water. 
New York City uses 550 million gallons daily. 



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KATMAI CRATER 



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approximately 2 cubic miles (8.5 cubic 
kilometers). This is more than 40 times 
the amount of material dug in the great- 
est excavation ever attempted by man — 
the Panama Canal. 

THE SKYSCRAPERS OF NEW YORK WOULD 
NOT FILL THE CRATER 

In seeking more familiar comparisons 
to make vivid the proportions of the 
crater, I recalled my bewilderment when 
I first tried to see New York City. The 
endless rows of closely built blocks, 
series on series, supply an apparently in- 
exhaustible number of objects large 
enough for units to measure cubic ca- 
pacity of almost any dimensions. 

If one could drop the blocks of New 
York into the crater of Katmai how 
many would it take to fill it? The truth 
is that if an average six-story tenement 
house were set against the crater wall, it 
would be hard to find in the picture. 

But the skyscrapers impress the visitor 
to New York more than the tenement 
houses. How would they appear in the 
crater? The probability is that all of the 
skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan could 
be submerged in the lake and never a 
tower project. Before the bottom of the 
crater were well covered, all the build- 
ings from the Battery far up town would 
have to be set in. The more put in, the 
more impressive the hole would become. 
And if every structure on Manhattan 
Island were thrown into the crater 
hardly a good beginning would have been 
made. As a matter of fact, all the build- 
ings of all the boroughs of Greater New 
York — Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, 
and Richmond, as well as Manhattan — 
would not fill the crater. 

Indeed, according to the best estimate 
I can secure * the buildings of fifteen 
cities like Greater New York would be 
less bulky than the material blown off 
the mountain! 

KATMAI LARGER THAN KILAUEA 

Kilauea, in the Hawaiian Islands, has 
always been accounted the largest active 
crater in the world, but it is clear that it 



must now yield the palm to Katmai. 
Kilauea's greatest diameter is 2.93 miles, 
its circumference 7.85 miles, and its area 
4.14 square miles. Each of these di- 
mensions is somewhat less than the coi# 
responding figure for Katmai. 

But the most significant difference is in 
the depth, which is less than one-seventh 
as great as that of Katmai. The highest 
point in the walls of Kilauea is only 500 
feet above the floor of the crater, as com- 
pared with 3,700 feet in Katmai. 

There is a good automobile road lead- 
ing through a low notch in the rim into 
the caldera of Kilauea. But no one who 
has ever looked into the abyss of Katmai 
has been tempted to try the descent. 
For, interesting as a close-up examina- 
tion of the bottom of the crater would 
certainly prove, no one has been able to 
suggest a means by which those sheer 
precipices might be ascended again, if by 
good luck one managed to reach the bot- 
tom with no broken bones. 

As a matter of fact, there is little justi- 
fication for comparing Katmai with Ki- 
lauea. Each is unique and unrivalled in 
its own way. Visitors to Kilauea are not 
so much impressed by the magnitude of 
the crater as by its incomparable fiery 
lake of molten lava, whichj however, is a 
scant thousand feet in diameter. On 
the other hand, there is nothing at Kil- 
auea similar in the least to the stu- 
pendous abyss of Katmai, its turquoise 
lake set round about by multi-colored 
cliffs. 

Katmai and Kilauea stand, in fact, at 
opposite extremes in the series of the 
world's volcanoes. While Katmai, dur- 
ing the brief period of explosive activity, 
furnished one of the most terrible 
examples of the titanic forces of vol- 
canism, Kilauea has been called "the 
world's safest volcano." Its continual 
quiet welling-up of highly liquid lava is 
the antithesis of the explosive expansion 
of Katmai, wherein all the magma was 
blown to fragments. 

' From data furnished by Herbert S. Swan, 
Secretary of the Zoning Committee, New York 
City. 



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XIV 



MOUNT MARTIN 



After the attainment of Katmai 
Crater, Mount Martin, which was far 
more active than Katmai itself, became 
our prime objective. But for several 
reasons it is the most difficult of the 
volcanoes to study. 

To get within striking distance is of it- 
self somewhat of a problem, since it is 
located in the most inaccessible part of 
the range. Despite the definiteness of 
our plans for its ascent, pressure of other 
work prevented us from establishing a 
camp at its foot in 1917 until late in the 
season. During the week we watched, 
the mountain was continuously shrouded 
in a cloud, and we had to give up the 
attempt. 

Unfortunately, Mount Martin is so 
placed that it is the first peak to cloud up 
with an approaching storm, and the last 
to clear again. Worse yet, the strong 
updraft created by its column of steam 
sucks up from the lowlands a body of 
warm air, whose moisture promptly con- 
denses into heavy clouds when it reaches 
the upper levels. 

While frequently clear for a time at 
morning and evening, it is often swathed 
in clouds during the middle of the day. 
It is, therefore, hard to choose a day 
suitable for the climb, for it is almost 
impossible to tell in the morning whether 
it will remain clear or cloud up before 
noon. 

Knowing something of these difficulties 
in advance, we planned in 1919 to make 
the ascent early in June, when the 
weather is most favorable. But here 
again we were foiled, for we found that 
snow persists longer at the head of Mar- 
tin Creek than anywhere else in the dis- 
trict, concealing the features we most 
wished to study. 

Accordingly, it was not until August 
that we found ourselves encamped in the 
valley at its foot, waiting our chance. 



The crater was clear on the morning of 
the first day after our arrival. So up I 
started without waiting for Hagelbarger 
and Henning, who were to meet me. 

But before I had gone far a hard rain 
commenced, and although I could still see 
the volcano it was of no use to try for 
pictures. Nevertheless, the day was not 
wasted, for I was enabled to pick out the 
best route to the summit and to study the 
glaciers and lava flows round about. 

MOUNT MARTIN A SUBORPINATE CONE ON 
THE FLANKS OF MAGEIK 

From the level of the lava platform on 
which the cone stands, it is evident that 
Mount Martin, although located di* 
rectly on a projection of the Katmai- 
Mageik axis, and the most active vent 
in the whole region, has somewhat the 
character of a parasitic cone on the flank 
of Mageik. 

From the Valley some of the lava 
flows comprising the plateau look as 
though they might have come from 
Martin, but from the higher levels it is 
evident that all the more extensive bodies 
of lava were poured out by Mageik. 

Martin stands superposed on the slop- 
ing surface of these lavas. Its cone is 
composed of short, massive flows of the 
same basic andesite that characterize 
the whole region. But apparently the 
lava was so viscous when extruded that 
it solidified close around the orifice. As 
a consequence, a steep-sided pile was 
built up, which from the valley looks 
like a cinder cone, rather than a mass of 
solid lava. 

The crater, which is about 1,000 feet 
in diameter, appears from below as a 
funnel blown out of the top of the 
mountain. The lowest point in the rim, 
which lies on the east side, is several 
hundred feet lower than the high point 
opposite. 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



MOUNT MARTIN FROM THE PACIFIC SIDE 



Three times we climbed this volcano and once descended inside, but we were baffled in our attempt 
to study its crater t)y the clouds which shut down before we could reach the rim. 



Often the whole cavity is filled with a 
dense cloud of steam, which may rise 
high in the air in a solid column. But 
on a very dry day it can be seen that 
most of the steam comes out in two 
vents at opposite sides of the crater. 

MARTIN SEEMS NOT TO HAVE THROWN OUT 
ASH OR PUMICE IN THE ERUPTION 

We had hoped to be able to determine 
the character of the convulsions by which 
Martin was opened up, and the r61e it 
played during the eruption. The fact 
that its later activity has been greater 
than that of any other vent in the dis- 
trict suggests that it may have con- 
tributed a considerable share to the 
general disturbance. But we saw no 
evidence on the flanks of the volcano 
that it had ejected any ash or pumice. 

The only deposit of unusual character 
observed in the vicinity was a consider- 
able amount of coarse sand and fine 
gravel, made up of fragments of old 
crystalline rocks, which lay among the 



crevices of the lava flows, as though 
showered onto them by an explosion 
from the top of the volcano. 

The summit, before the eruption, 
doubtless bore a quantity of glacial till 
that may very well have been the source 
of such a deposit. If the crater of 
Martin was produced by explosion, and 
this sand is the only debris left behind, 
the outburst must indeed have been 
mild, compared with the terrible blasts 
which wrecked Katmai. 

ALL VEGETATION IN THE VICINITY KEPT 
DOWN BY ACID RAIN 

Upon examining the neighboring 
country, I was astonished to see that for 
a distance of five miles or more in every 
direction the naked brown ground, 
though fertile and free from heavy ash 
deposits, remained bare of vegetation. 
It was quite different in this respect 
from any other area in the district. 

Even if all vegetation had been de- 
stroyed seven years before, it should 



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MOUNT MARTIN 



183 



have returned by this time; everywhere 
else plants were growing vigorously where- 
ever their roots could reach the old soil. 

I could not imagine what might be 
preventing revegetation until I chanced 
to experience a local rain, in which the 
drops had been so strongly acidulated by 
the fumes that they were painful to the 
eyes and other sensitive parts. Such acid 
rains probably destroy the plant life as 
fast as it comes back within their range. 

This country, indeed, resembles 
strongly the smelter regions of the West, 
where vegetation has been destroyed by 
noxious fumes. 

On the second attempt to climb, clouds 
settled down on us at the 3,500-foot level, 
but, thanks to bearings secured the first 
time, we were able to keep on through 
the obscurity for another hour in hope 
of a break that would permit us to scale 
the summit. 

Finally, having reached the main divide 
of the range, we sat down and ate our 
lunch, hoping for a rift that would show 
us where we were, for we had gone as far 
as we dared without new observations. 
Later, we found that we were right under 
the last steep pitch of the cone and could 
have reached the rim in a few minutes 
more, could we have seen our way. 

But it would have been a useless ex- 
ploit to reach the top under such condi- 
tions, since we should have seen nothing 
when we got there. It was a mournful 
party that descended the mountain that 
evening, for the demands of other work 
were imperative, and camp had to be 
broken next day with the crater yet un- 
seen after two weeks of waiting for a 
chance to climb. 

THE THIRD CLIMB 

Five days later, as I lay awake at 
Baked Mountain Camp, I crawled out 
into the night to look at the Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes and the volcanoes in the 
spectral light of a wonderful full moon. 
There was Martin puffing away, beauti- 
fully clear, its unconquered steam col- 
umn rising majestically over all. Why 
not do it tomorrow? 



We were now on the wrong side of the 
range, and far from a favorable starting 
point; but it was the only chance, for 
there were unmistakable signs that the 
good weather that had favored us for 
two days was about to change. It 
meant covering a mile in altitude and 30 
miles in distance, but I was not to be 
turned back if there was any possible 
way of getting there, and I knew Charlie 
Yori was as anxious as I to try it. 

Indeed, I should never have dared at- 
tempt to cross the glaciers that guard 
Mount Martin on the Valley side with- 
out the benefit of his experience in ice 
work. So I waited until a seasonable 
time to rouse the camp, and finding that 
we could leave without interfering with 
the chemists* work, Fenner, Yori, and I 
got ready in a hurry and started off 
double quick, in our eagerness to get to 
the top before anything should happen. 

The whole of our course, after we had 
climbed out of the Valley, lay across 
glaciers and snowfields. When we sur- 
mounted the first slope, we found to our 
sorrow that between us and our goal lay 
a considerable hollow, into which it was 
necessary to descend several hundred 
feet before starting up the slopes that 
led to the cone. 

The glacier that occupied this hollow 
was more extensive than any of the 
others which have developed on the 
flanks of Mageik. From its crest our 
view stretched out for many miles 
across the interior basin back of the low 
coast range. 

A few miles beyond us the central 
range, which bears the volcanoes, gave 
way to a broad open lowland, occupied 
by a luxuriant growth of tall grass. Be- 
yond this lay Becharof Lake, from whose 
shores these fine lands are readily ac- 
cessible in every direction. Farther 
still, from the opposite shore, the sym- 
metrical white cone of Peulik, the next 
volcano of the series, rose a mile high 
directly out of the lowland. 

For the most part going was not 
difficult, except that we had to waste 
much time winding in and out around 



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1 84 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
MOUNT MARTIN FROM BAKED MOUNTAIN CAMP 

The crater is thirteen miles distant in a straight line. After leaving the first slopes, five miles away, 
our path led entirely over ice and snow. Some of the glacier-work was extremely hazardous. 



the irregularities of the ash-covered 
glacier, here following a drainage gully, 
there cutting across the ridges. 

A "real GLACIER*' 

But between the hollow into which 
we had dipped and the high snowfields 
surrounding the cone lay an area badly 
cut up by close-set crevasses. As we 
entered this, Yori remarked, *'This is a 
real glacier, all right enough.** 

With his customary hardihood, he pro- 
fessed to scorn a rope, and took a sort 
of fiendish glee in trying me out in the 
most '* ticklish'* places he could find. 
I will not deny that I was somewhat 
timid, for my hobnailed boots were worn 
out and I had been compelled to come in 
rubber-soled shoe-packs, which could 



get no grip on the slippery surface. This 
bothered me greatly, though the ice-axe 
which I carried probably counter-bal- 
anced the disadvantage. 

Our way lay, as Fenner expressed it, 
"along the ridge pole," following narrow 
crests of glaring blue ice, themselves 
sloping both ways, between bottomless 
crevasses on each side. A slip would 
have meant certain death. But we 
crept along, using all the care we could, 
and finally reached the n6v6 above with- 
out mishap. 

Without stopping for the much-de- 
sired pictures we pressed forward fever- 
ishly, in the hope of reaching the summit 
while it was yet clear. A breeze had 
sprung up out of the northeast and we 
knew it was a question of only a few 



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MOUNT MARTIN 



185 



hours before our mountain would be 
hidden in clouds. Indeed, they had 
already begun to gather. 

We made rapid progress now, travers- 
ing the smooth snowfields in a wide 
semicircle around the base of the cone 
toward the low point in the crater rim 
opposite. We were in the clouds here, 
but had a glimpse out on the other side 
of the range to the Pacific. 

When we came around under the low 
notch in the rim we sat down and waited 
for a break in the clouds, to get our bear- 
ings before taking the last steep slope, 
and ate lunch as we waited. 

Hardly more than a hundred yards 
away was the hillock where we had 
stopped on our attempt from Martin 
Creek. This time, however, we never 
doubted but that we should soon have 
our chance, for the clouds were only 
beginning to gather. Indeed, just as we 
started to eat they blew off a little. 

There was the crater rim, seemingly 
only a few steps directly above us. 
Great masses of steam came rolling up 
close against it, but as we were on the 
windward side they were quickly carried 
off in the opposite direction. From a 
distance the smoke of Martin always ap- 
pears snow white, but from our position 
it took on a weird lemon-yellow color, 
which Fenner suggested was probably 
due to reflection from a large body of 
sulphur within the crater. 

CLIMBING A 60-DEGREE DIRT SLOPE 

The rim seemed so close that, dropping 
my cracker, I started for it. Before I 
could go a dozen steps the clouds closed 
in again, continuing until we had 
finished our lunch. But we had our 
bearings now, and started up, so as to be 
on the rim when the next break came. 

That last pitch, 250 feet it proved 
when we measured it, was the steepest 
slope I have ever seen. If it had been 
rock it would have been easy climbing; 
but it was bowlder-clay, left there by a 
glacier that had capped the mountain 
during its dormant period. 

The slope was 60 degrees by the cli- 



nometer (as compared with about 30 de- 
grees in a steep railroad embankment). 
The round bowlders on which we de- 
pended for foot- and hand-holds were so 
loosely held in the uncemented clay that 
it was extremely difficult to hang on. 

Finally we reached the top, at 5,300 
feet, but were unable to see anything in 
the cloud and steam that surrounded us. 
Inside the first sharp edge we found a 
slight depression, and then a second 
similar sharp inner rim. The original 
rim had evidently broken loose and 
slumped down into the hole a little. 

In the depression between the two rims 
was a little pool, over which we bent to 
secure a drink, for we had had only snow 
with our lunch, but, ugh! it was strong 
acid. 

The fumes at the rim were very dis- 
agreeably acid, and I was glad to retreat 
into a little hollow where I could take 
notes in comparative comfort. 

DESCENDING INTO THE CRATER IN THICK 
STEAM 

After a little, Fenner came out of the 
cloud and reported that it was possible 
to go down inside the crater, using 
handkerchiefs as respirators. So we all 
put our handkerchiefs to our noses and 
plunged over the edge. 

On the rim we could distinguish the 
outlines of objects 50 feet away; but 
once inside the steam thickened rapidly. 
A few feet down we could hardly see each 
other, though standing only four or five 
feet apart. Whenever a gust of wind 
swept the smoke back a few feet, we 
leaped on farther down, until the ob- 
scurity closed over us again and we were 
compelled to halt for fear of stepping off 
the edge of the precipice into the roaring 
vent beneath. 

There we stood huddled together, like 
ninnies, panting through our handker- 
chiefs and pulling down our hats in futile 
efforts to protect our smarting eyes. If 
we loosened the handkerchiefs a little to 
get a freer breath, we met a suffocating 
draft that at once compelled us to clamp 
the protection back again. 



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MOUNT MARTIN 



187 



Silent as ghosts we stood, until one of 
us, caught by the ridiculous attitudes of 
his companions, burst out laughing, set- 
ting us all a-snickering behind our hand- 
kerchiefs like school boys who fear the 
teacher's wrath, for we durst not lift our 
mufflers. 

Thus we waited for nearly half an 
hour, but there came no further op- 
portunity to proceed. We could see 
nothing around us. So we decided to 
give it up, and after picking up a few 
specimens of the rocks immediately 
around us (ordinary andesites) we 
scrambled back to the rim. 

RETURNING THROUGH THE LOWERING 
CLOUD 

Here again we sat down and waited 
for an hour. But there was not the 
slightest sign of a let-up; so, reluctantly, 
we started for camp. The momentary 
break that had come while we were 
eating was the only near-by glimpse of 
the crater we were to have. 

Climbing up a dirt slope at an angle of 
60 degrees is as nothing compared to 
wriggling down again. There was im- 
minent danger of dislodging a loose 
, bowlder to fall on one's companions, be- 
low, and there were places where we 
simply had to "let go** and fall off, trust- 
ing to luck not to hit anything hard be- 
fore stopping. 

Regaining the snowfields, we found 
that the cloud cap had settled much 



farther down the slopes, and we had to 
descend several hundred feet before we 
came out into clear day again. 

We had not turned back a minute too 
soon. Of that we needed no second 
hint. We all knew that to be caught in 
a fog on that crevassed glacier, where we 
could neither follow the route by which 
we had come nor choose a new path, 
might mean disaster. 

As we worked our way back and forth 
among the crevasses, we got into an 
area of snow bridges which made even 
Charlie, with his long experience on 
glaciers, hesitate. He kept protesting 
that "he didn't like that ice,'* and we 
went forward with great caution. 

But no better way was to be found, 
and the certain menace of the thickening 
clouds compelled us to take the uncertain 
risks of rotten snow bridges and go 
ahead regardless of danger. "All's well 
that ends well," however, and finally we 
crossed the last crevasse, reaching the 
solid floor of the Valley again without 
accident. 

There was still a long four-mile drag 
across to camp, but we made it before 
half past eight, tired and disappointed, 
but yet with the knowledge that we had 
succeeded in a difficult feat, even though 
we had been denied the fruits of our labors. 

And this, the sixteenth of August, had 
been the best opportunity to climb 
Mount Martin since the twenty-fifth of 
July! 



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XV 



DISCOVERY OF THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



July 31, 19 1 6, dawned clear and 
bright as had the day before, when we 
had made the second ascent of the vol- 
cano. But this time the steam from 
Mageik drifted off to the northwest, 
and small clouds were beginning to 
gather on the west side of the valley, so 
we knew it was to be the last day of 
good weather. 

We had originally planned a two- 
days' trip across the Pass, to see if we 
could find the source of the clouds that 
had aroused our suspicions. But, re- 
membering the bad name given Katmai 
Pass by Spurr (see page 268) , who states 
that it was impossible to cross it except 
in good weather, and fearing to be 
caught short of provisions on the wrong 
side, we gave up the projected trip and 
decided merely to reconnoiter. 

Planning to make an easy day of it — 
for we were tired after our climb to the 
rim the day before — we climbed around 
the shoulder of Observation Mountain 
and descended into the upper valley of 
Mageik Creek. 

Here we found the most striking ac- 
cumulation of ejecta we had yet encoun- 
tered — a quantity of fine material which 
resembled the Katmai Mud Flow in 
its massive non-stratified character, al- 
though it was much more extensive and 
thicker, having weathered out into bad 
lands with bluffs nearly 100 feet high. 

ASCENT TO KATMAI PASS 

After stopping a little while to study 
the flow and to eat our lunch, we made 
our way across the bad lands toward 
the Pass, following now the ridges of 
the flow, now the bottom of the canyon, 
which rose at a gentle grade. 

As we ascended the valley past the 
highest peak of Trident we came within 
view of the hollow between it and the 
next peak, from which we had thought 



several times we saw clear, indications 
of rising steam. The sun illumined it 
brightly, and there was not the smallest 
puff of steam anywhere. 

We were now up 2,500 feet, only a 
little lower than the Pass, and could 
see a long way through it. No steam 
was visible there, either (see map, page 
68.) 

So again we concluded, as we had the 
day before, that we had seen nothing 
more than the ordinary clouds which 
gather so easily around the summits of 
all high mountains. 

Church, incapacitated by too many 
flapjacks at breakfast, gave out, so 
Folsom and I left him with the packs, 
much against his wishes, while we went 
forward a little farther to see what we 
could discover. 

Traveling transversely across the gul- 
lied bad lands of the mudflow, a route 
made necessary by the condition of the 
canyon below, was very laborious, and 
before long I was ready to turn back, 
satisfied with having seen through the 
Pass and, as I believed, having laid an- 
other ghost. 

THE FIRST FUMAROLE 

But just as I was about to suggest 
returning, I caught sight of a tiny puff 
of vapor in the floor of the Pass. I 
rubbed my eyes and looked again. Yes, 
there it was, a miniature volcano send- 
ing up a little jet of steam right in the 
Pass. 

The very smallness of this steam jet 
made it of as much interest as a large 
volcano (see page 192), for we had been 
continually surprised at the absence of 
manifestations of secondary activity — 
parasitic cones, fumaroles, mud craters, 
hot springs, and the like — features al- 
most invariably associated with so great 
an eruption. 



189 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Folsom 

WARMING MY HANDS AT THE FIRST LITTLE FUMAROLE IN THE PASS 

These little sentinels of the Pass continued unchanged- through 191 8, but had gone out in 1 919. It was 
the sight of these which led to the discovery of the Valley. 



Thus far we had seen absolutely no 
indication of signs of recent volcanism 
outside Katmai Crater, except in the old 
volcanoes Mageik, Trident, and Martin. 
These, however, were singularly far re- 
moved from the main crater, and we 
had been at a loss to understand why 
activity should appear at such widely 
separated points, with no intermediate 
vents. 

Earlier in the day we had found the 
streams from the hot springs near the 
Pass, which continued as described by 
Spurr before the eruption, except that 
the water now was not nearly so hot as 
stated in his account (see page 269). 
Aside from that, this fumarole was the 
first thing of its sort to be observed. 

When we reached the Pass we found 
its floor all shot through with cracks 
and small fissures from which issued 
half a dozen good-sized jets of steam 
and perhaps a hundred small ones. 

With some trepidation we approached 
over the fissured surface. Most of the 
steam escaped from small openings a few 
inches in diameter, whence it came with 



considerable velocity, giving forth a low, 
roaring sound. We could go quite close 
and warm our hands in the steam, which, 
though very hot as it emerged, soon 
cooled, like the moist vapor from a tea- 
kettle. 

Coming off with the steam were vari- 
ous substances which gave rise to curi- 
ous evil odors and precipitated a highly 
colored crust on the ground. Prom- 
inent among these was hydrogen sul- 
phide, with its characteristic **rotten 
egg** smell, and sulphur, which gave a 
yellow tinge to the parti-colored subli- 
mates of the crust. 

I was anxious to return to Church, 
for we had alreajdy been gone much 
longer than we expected, and had 
reached a little eminence, when, turn- 
ing round to urge Folsom to hasten 
back, I saw far down the valley, over 
the top of some rising ground beyond 
us, a puff of steam. 

This had not been there when we 
came over the Pass, and was evidently a 
good deal larger than the jets we had 
been examining. As the obstructing 



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DISCOVERY OF THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



191 



Photograph by D. B. Church 



THE TRAIL UP TO KATMAI PASS 



The way led over permanent snowdrifts, for the snow had been covered with ash during the erup- 
tion of Mt. Katmai, and this coating protects the drifts from the sun's rays. All the supplies for the 
camp had to be carried on the backs of the men through this pass into the valley. 



hill was not far away I decided, late as 
it was, to go forward to "have a look." 

DISCOVERY OF THE STEAMING VALLEY 

The sight that flashed into view as 
we surmounted the hillock was one of 
the most amazing visions ever beheld by 
mortal eye. The whole valley as far as 
the eye could reach was full of hundreds, 
no thousands — literally, tens of thou- 
sands — of smokes curling up from its 
fissured floor. 

From our position they looked as 
small as the little fumaroles near by, but 
realizing something of their distance we 
knew many of them must be gigantic. 
Some were sending up columns of steam 
which rose a thousand feet before dis- 
solving. 

After a careful estimate, we judged 
there must be a thousand whose columns 
exceeded 500 feet. A dozen miles away 
the valley turned behind a blue moun- 



tain in the distance. Plainly the smokes 
extended that far. How much farther 
we could not tell. 

The first glance was enough to assure 
us that we had stumbled into another 
Yellowstone Park — unseen and un- 
suspected by white man and native 
alike until this hour. 

I tried to "keep my head** and ob- 
serve carefully, yet I exposed two films 
from my one precious roll in trying for 
pictures that I should have known were 
impossible. For a few moments we 
stood gaping at the awe-inspiring vision 
before us, then plunged down to get a 
nearer view. 

It was as though all the steam en- 
gines in the world, assembled together, 
had popped their safety valves at once 
and were letting off surplus steam in 
concert. 

Some of the fumaroles were seen to 
be closely grouped in lines along common 



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192 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



fissures; others stood apart. The big- 
gest of all, the one whose steam had first 
caught my eye, stood well up on a hill- 
side, in a nest of fissures, reminding me 
of the crevasses of a glacier, and was 
big enough to be plainly visible though 
three miles away. 

Fortunately a strong wind was blow- 
ing through the Pass, carrying all the 
fumes down the Valley and away from 
us, or we might not have dared to go 
on. In addition to the active fissures 
there were thousands more, inactive at 
the time of our visit, which had en- 
crusted the ground round about with 
colored deposits like the others. 

Even from the hasty examination we 
were able to make on the day of dis- 
covery, we could see that the vents 
must be counted by the tens of thou- 
sands. And from this first impression 
came the name, The Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes. 

CHARACTER OF THE VENTS 

In some cases the steam issued from 
a large deep hole; in others there was 
no opening at all — the vapors simply 
escaped through the interstices of the 
soil particles. 

There was no relation between the 
size of the vent and its output. Some 
of the largest jets had very narrow 
throats, while from some cavernous 
holes there issued only faint breaths of 
steam. In many cases steam poured 
from the sides of the drainage gullies, 
where it did not break through the more 
compact surface layer of sand. 

The ground was hot in places where 
no visible exhalation was being given 
off, as we found to our dismay when we 
sat down to rest on a bank seemingly 
safe enough. 

Fearing to ruin our shoe leather we 
dared not enter any areas except those 
which appeared moderately cool. But 
even with such precautions the heat in 
many places penetrated our thick soles. 

I wish my vocabulary were adequate 
to describe the curious mixture of foul 



odors which the "Smokes" gave forth. 
Mixed with the omnipresent sulphurous 
gases were others which had a strangely 
organic smell, recalling at once burning 
wool, the musky smell of a fox den, and 
the odors of decay. 

We could not tell to what extent, if 
any, odorless asphyxiating gases, such 
as carbon monoxide, might be present 
in the complex. We did not experience 
any ill effects from the fumes, but we 
took good care to keep to windward 
most of the time. 

ENTRANCE TO THE MAIN VALLEY 

A mile and a half from the Pass we 
came out from between the two lava 
cones ^ that guard the main entrance, 
into full view of the Valley. It was 
clear that the fumaroles stretched along 
the range all the way from Katmai to 
Martin, linking into one huge area of con- 
tinuous activity the widely separated 
volcanoes, which had hitherto appeared 
as isolated vents. 

We did not take time to examine con- 
ditions to the west, for we beheld in the 
opposite direction a prodigious steam 
column from a volcano which we later 
named Novarupta. 

As we drew nearer we saw that the 
main body of this steam was rising from 
a central mass of rock (stiffened lava), 
surrounded by a comparatively low 
crater ring, evidently composed of ma- 
terials thrown out of the vent. The 
surface of the cooling lava plug was 
covered in most fantastic fashion with 
sharp angular fragments, which on 
closer inspection proved to be rocks sev- 
eral yards in diameter. These had been 
broken off by the too sudden cooling of 
the molten magma, just as a piece of 
hot glass is shattered if suddenly plunged 
into cold water (see page 276). 

AN INTERPRETATION OF THE FUMAROLES 



Even the hurried observations we 
were able to make were sufficient to 
bring out clearly, in its larger outlines, 
the significance of the Valley. With 
^ Named later Cerberus and Falling Mountain. 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
MOUNT MAGEIK, WITH CERBERUS CROUCHING AT ITS FOOT, STANDS GUARD AT THE 

HEAD OF THE VALLEY 
The sloping "high sand mark" comes down from the Pass across the base of Cerberus. 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 

THE OVEN WHERE CORN BREAD WAS BAKED BY NATURE'S FIRES 
If left too long it would quickly burn to a cinder over the greatly superheated steam issuing here. 

VI 



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DISCOVERY OF THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



193 



the very first glance it was evident that 
although little fumaroles in the Pass 
might be secondary manifestations, the 
great steamers of the Valley must be 
true volcanic vents. They were alto- 
gether too big and too hot to be anything 
else. 

The long fissures everywhere so much 
in evidence were apparently the outlets 
of fractures in the bedrock through which 
the emanations from a mass of intruded 
magma were escaping to the surface. 

The gases rising through these funda- 
mental fissures and seeping through the 
mass of accumulations from recent 
eruptions evidently found their vent in 
the myriad fumaroles, very much as 
many small leaks will break out on the 
surface of an old bicycle tire from a 
single puncture of the inner layer of 
rubber. 

We were surprised to observe that the 
main trend of the activity was at right 
angles to the chain of volcanoes. We 
would have expected exactly the reverse, 
for in any general rise of the range, such 
as might have accompanied the eruption, 
the fracture lines would run parallel with 
the axis. 

Another remarkable feature was the 
fact that so far as we could see the 
fumaroles were strictly confined to the 
low ground of the valleys and were not 
breaking out on the mountains as well. 
This indicated that whatever the nature 
of the intrusion below, it must have come 
so close to the surface that the position of 
the fractures was determined by rela- 
tively small differences in surface relief, 
i,e. in the thickness of the roof above 
the magma. 

The great distance to which the 
fumaroles extended from the axis of the 
old volcanoes — 15 miles, as we found by 
later surveys — further indicated that 
the subterranean magma must have a 
considerable extent. 

It was late, and as we had now seen 
all that could be observed without ex- 
tended exploration, we turned our steps 
homeward and hurried to rejoin Church, 
who had shivered in the cold wind for 
I* 



five hours, even with all our extra 
clothes. Once across the gullies, which 
were more than ever a terror to us now 
that we were nearly exhausted, we made 
good speed back to camp, which we 
reached a little after ten o 'clock. 

We had expected, of course, to outfit 
and return to our Valley of Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes for further exploration, 
and especially for pictures which would 
prove our story. For, on the day of 
discovery, so little did we anticipate 
what was before us that we had left the 
photographic outfit behind with Church, 
and had only a kodak with a single roll 
of film. 

But the river had risen so fast under 
the influence of the warm weather that 
we dared not remain longer on the far 
side. We decided it was better to save 
what pictures we had than to try for 
more at the risk of not getting any of 
them out. 

REFLECTIONS ON THE NIGHT 
OF THE DISCOVERY 

Sleep that night was impossible. I 
had as yet only a very inadequate con- 
ception of the place we had discovered, 
but I had seen enough to know that we 
had accidentally discovered one of the 
great wonders of the world. 

The responsibilities and the oppor- 
tunities of our position came over me in 
a flood of problems that I could not drop. 
Here were we, alone of all the world, 
possessed of the knowledge of the exist- 
ence of this marvelous place. 

I kept wondering how the discoverer of 
the Yellowstone felt when he first beheld 
the spout of Old Faithful. I remem- 
bered Jim Bridger, and his stories — so 
incredible that no one would believe 
them, yet so phrased as to prove in- 
dubitably to posterity his familiarity 
with phenomena which by that time had 
become well known. 

I remembered how the editor of a 
prominent Western paper had refused 
to publish any of "Jim Bridger's lies." 
It was sweet to recall that finally, years 
afterward though it was, that editor had 



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DISCOVERY OF THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



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publicly apologized for the injustice he 
had done the great pioneer. 

And when the reality of the marvels of 
the Yellowstone was definitely estab- 
lished everyone believed them hopelessly 
inaccessible. Yet what has happened? 
Anyone may visit the Yellowstone, 
surrounded by all the luxuries of modern 
civilization and within the lifetime of 
Jim Bridger too! 

Could I hope for as much? Would 
our story be believed when we got back? 
Or would we be regarded as modern 
Mimchausens? I did not underestimate 
the difficulty of the task that had been 
set me by that day's discovery. 

I recognized at once that the Katmai 
district must be made a great national 
park accessible to all the people, like the 
Yellowstone. To make it known, to 
have it set aside as a National Park, and 
to secure the means necessary for its 
development would, I foresaw, require 
a tremendous amount of effort. 

In the* years that have followed I 
have had occasion many, many times to 
be thankful for the good fortune which 
had sent me out under the auspicies of 
the National Geographic Society. For 
in all the world there is no other organ- 
ization so well fitted to bring such a dis- 
covery to the knowledge of the public. 

The task of making the place known 
and of getting it set aside as a National 
Monument proved much easier than I 
dared hope, as I lay awake that night. 

The President of the National Geo- 



graphic Society did not refuse credence 
to our account and deny us publicity. 
On the contrary he was quick to grasp 
the significance of our discovery, and 
did all in his power to assist further ex- 
ploration and to stimulate interest in the 
reservation of the district as a part of 
our great National Park System. 

Many times also have I been thankful 
for the tools which modern invention 
had placed in our hands. With kodaks 
and halftones and motion pictures to 
record our discoveries, our advantage 
over the old-time explorer, who could 
supplement his account with nothing 
better than sketches, was enormous. 

Along with the difficulties, real and 
imaginary, that plagued me there was 
one practical problem which from that 
night assumed a large place in my mind. 

How was the public ever to reach this 
region? Where was a landing-place to 
be found on that dangerous and in- 
hospitable coast? For it went without 
saying that no great number of people 
could land through the surf, as we had 
done; that before it could become the 
great National Park it was to be, a har- 
bor must be found somewhere along that 
difficult shore. 

A study of the chart next morning 
held out little hope. But fortunately 
for our quest, the coast was very im* 
perfectly charted and we discovered 
afterward a fine harbor within easy dis- 
tance, lying in an area shown on^the 
charts as dry land. 



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XVI 
EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



Anxious as we were to see more of our 
wonderful Valley of Volcanoes, condi- 
tions compelled us to leave with only the 
scantiest evidence to substantiate the 
story of our discovery. 

Fortunately the pictures secured from 
our one roll of film were enough to prove 
that our tales were not altogether men- 
dacious, and the Board of Managers of 
The Society proposed to send us back in 
191 7 equipped to explore the place in 
greater detail. 

It was with great impatience that we 
awaited the slow course of the interven- 
ing months. After we had landed, the 
days required to pack our supplies up 
Katmai Valley to our camp at the foot of 
Observation Mountain (see map, page 
68) seemed weeks of waiting. But we 
thought it necessary, before attempting 
to cross, to accumulate sufficient stores 
at the foot of the Pass to insure the 
maintenance of the party in the Valley. 

Finally my impatience would brook no 
further delay, and I decided to celebrate 
the Fourth of July by a preliminary ex- 
cursion across the Pass, to have one look 
at the place. So, luring Walter along 
with the prospect of a bath in the hot 
springs below Trident, I started out, 
without announcing my intentions. 

SMOKES UNDIMINISHED AFTER 

A year's interval 

When we reached the Pass I saw at 
once that everything was just as it had 
been the previous year. There were the 
two little fumaroles which we had first 
discovered, steaming away exactly as 
they had the year before. 

This was decidedly reassuring, for I 
had been tormented with the fear that 
we had seen only a passing'stage in the 
declining activity, and that after all the 
time and effort spent in preparation for 
the' expedition, we might find the Valley 



dead when we returned, and all its vol- 
canoes things of the past. 

When I got back to camp and reported 
the conditions, I found that some other 
members of the party had secretly been 
entertaining the opposite fear — that 
the whole Valley might blow up sud- 
denly while we were in it! 

On the contrary, all that we have seen 
indicates that the activity of this dis- 
trict, like that of the Yellowstone Park, 
has reached a stable stage which will 
continue without much change for a rela- 
tively long period. 

Wherever we went, conditions were 
the same. All the vents, big and little, 
are remarkably constant in their ac- 
tivity. And now that the district has 
been made a National Monument, this 
constancy assumes a twofold interest and 
importance. In the first place, its won- 
derful sights are likely to continue for 
the admiration of tourists for years to 
come. Secondly, there is little likeli- 
hood of a sudden return to a condition 
of explosive activity. 

EFFECT OF THE VALLEY ON AN 
UNEDUCATED NATIVE 

Walter, who had been keeping camp 
on the day of the discovery the year be- 
fore, had listened to our accounts of its 
wonders with polite incredulity. I was 
anxious to watch the effect of the Valley 
on an uneducated native, with no scien- 
tific interest to give significance to the 
sight. 

When we had examined the little fu- 
maroles in the Pass and had looked at 
the dozen or so of others round about, 
he turned to me with an air of, "Well, I 
thought so all the time,'* and asked, 
"And is this the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes?" 

"Oh! No!*' I answered, "that is over 
the rise yonder.*' 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



199 



When we reached a point from which 
we could see on down the Valley, his 
amazement was unbounded. *'Why," he 
exclaimed, **a whole big valley all full of 
smoke!" 

I had planned merely to look in and 
turn back, for we had come a long way — 
so far that on the way up he had fre- 
quently remarked how far we had come 
and how fast I was walking, and had 
even asked to rest. 

But once he caught sight of the Val- 
ley, he must go on. It was my turn to 
call a halt now, for I was thinking of the 
long way back to camp. But before I 
could stop him, he had gone a couple of 
miles beyond the Pass. 

He came home with shining eyes, very 
much excited, and though very tired he 
kept talking to Andrean about the won- 
der he had seen until late into the night. 
How I wished I could understand his 
Russian! 

CROSSING THE MOUNTAINS AGAINST A 
HAIL OF PUMICE 

It was four days later before all was in 
readiness for the whole party to go over. 
The wind, which had been blowing un- 
comfortably hard for several days, fresh- 
ened during the night until it began to 
carry away our dishes. The gauge in the 
sheltered nook we had selected for our 
camp showed a velocity of 25 miles an 
hour. 

Out on the mountain it was blowing 
twice as hard, directly in our faces, lift- 
ing us off our feet at times. But worse 
than the wind itself was the hail of sharp 
pumice which it raised. This cut like a 
knife whenever it struck our flesh. The 
others protected their eyes with close- 
fitting goggles; but I could not avail my- 
self of that relief because of the necessity 
of finding the way. 

Fortunately these conditions lasted 
only round the shoulder of Observation 
Mountain, and from there on the going 
was comparatively easy. This was by 
no means an extreme wind, however. 

On another occasion the men bringing 
up the supplies were unable to make it 



and had to turn back. The wind gauge 
at the sheltered camp that day regis- 
tered 60 miles an hour steadily, and 
much higher during the gusts. 

MANY MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND VENTS 

When the party reached the Valley, 
they were even more impressed with the 
sublimity of the spectacle than Walter 
had been. None had imagined anything 
so wonderful. All agreed that no de- 
scription could convey any conception 
of its immensity and grandeur. 

I found that my matter-of-fact chem- 
ist was counting the smokes, to see 
whether I had been justified in asserting 
that there were 10,000 of them ! He soon 
announced that I was quite well within 
the truth. 

There were certainly several times ten 
thousand to be seen, even on a clear day; 
and when the weather was moist myr- 
iads more appeared, for then the smoke 
from the millions of little holes, whose 
gases were ordinarily invisible, con- 
densed until there were a thousand times 
ten thousand. 

One member of the party, who had 
traveled considerably and found many 
of the sights of the world overdrawn, had 
been somewhat skeptical in advance 
about the Ten Thousand Smokes. 

When once he felt its thrall, however, 
he repeated over and over again, **Why, 
you couldn't exaggerate it!" This state- 
ment is perfectly true. Although the 
statistics of length, area, and the like 
could be falsified, the enlarged figures 
would no more convey any idea of the 
stupendous number and size of the 
Smokes than do the real ones. 

It can not be described. Only after 
one has spent many days exploring the 
Valley and realizes how many active 
areas still remain unseen, does one begin 
to get an idea of its magnitude. 

No amount of experience seemed suffi- 
cient to enable us to grasp the propor- 
tions of the place, for as long as we re- 
mained we habitually underestimated, in 
spite of ourselves, its distances and the 
size of its fumaroles. As we moved to 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



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any corner of the Valley and came up to 
what we had supposed from a distance to 
be little fumaroles, we found instead 
monster vents, each group a more won- 
derful spectacle than the whole seen in 
panorama, so much larger was the area 
of activity than our powers of compre- 
hension. 

OVERAWED BY THE WONDERFUL 
VALLEY 

No later visitors can ever experience 
the sensations that came over us as we 
prepared to camp for the first time within 
its confines. They will know in advance 
that it is safe, but we could not tell what 
dangers might lurk in its fumaroles. 

Our feeling of admiration soon gave 
way to one of stupefaction. We were 
overawed. For a while we could neither 
think nor act in normal fashion. 

It was a situation calculated to instill 
dread. Would we wake again, or would 
that insidious poison, carbon monoxide 
— colorless, tasteless, odorless — attack 
us and render us incapable of the exer- 
tion of climbing out, even if we did 
waken? We knew that it must be ema- 
nating from the fumaroles in considera- 
ble quantities and that it was deadly in 
concentrations as low as one- twentieth of 
one per cent. It was one thing to go into 
this *' Death Valley" with all our facul- 
ties alert to ward off danger, but quite 
another to lie down and allow ourselves 
to lapse into unconscious helplessness in 
such a place. 

I do not know whether the others were 
as worried as I. If so they, like myself, 
kept silent. But I must confess that 
when it came to lying down I chose for 
my bed the place next the window, 
where I would get the best air possible. 

How I was paid for that selfishness! 
It was the windward side, and through 
all the fierce storms that followed I lay 
and took the brunt of it. The tent al- 
ways leaked first on my side. My bed 
was always the first wet, my position 
the coldest and most uncomfortable. 

No one slept much the first night; but 
as nothing happened to justify our fears. 



and dawn found us all hale and in good 
spirits, one great bugaboo had been laid. 
It was a long while, however, before we 
could regain anything like a normal men- 
tal attitude. 

At night, as I lay in my blankets with 
the sight of the Valley cut off, I would 
upbraid myself for not having accom- 
plished what I had planned, and make 
out a list of things I wanted to do the 
next day; but when the morning came I 
could not move myself to action. I 
could only look and gape. 

Shipley, our chemist, was easily the 
most self-possessed member of the party. 
But for him we might have turned around 
and come home without the scientific 
material we had gone to collect. 

After all, the whole Valley is very 
much of a gigantic chemical laboratory, 
and perhaps that acccounts for his 
greater command of himself. Yet, on 
the third day, even he remarked that he 
"did not feel like monkeying with his 
little bottles of chemicals." 

One of the boys was frankly scared to 
death. He did what I told him, but 
when not at work sat in a dull-eyed 
stupor, like one at the funeral of his 
sweetheart, and from this state no efforts 
of ours could rouse him. 

I can only guess the effort it must have 
cost him to go up to the fumaroles and 
get pictures of them. He said himself 
that he expected to go crazy before he got 
out again. When relieved of his duties 
and sent down to the lower camp he 
quickly regained his nerve, and in the 
end got as good control of himself as any 
of us. 

I was utterly unprepared for the feel- 
ings which thus overcame us. At the 
time of the discovery I had not been able 
to stay long enough to get beyond the 
first sensations of wonder and admira- 
tion. I had by no means grasped the 
situation sufficiently to report it ac- 
curately. 

This region should have been named 
"The Valley of a Million Smokes," for 
there are certainly not merely thousands, 
but millions of them all told. 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



203 



A large factor in my feelings was plain 
fear; perhaps I ought in honesty to say 
cowardice. The Smokes were so much 
bigger, so much hotter, so much more 
numerous than I remembered them that 
I was badly scared by the job I had 
undertaken. 

THE FEAR OF CAVE-INS AND FUMES 

As we explored the margin of the 
Valley (the worst place, as we after- 
ward found), we could plainly hear the 
ground ring hollow beneath the ''tunk'* 
of our staffs, and more than once we felt 
it shake under our blows. 

What if it should suddenly give way 
and precipitate us into a steaming cal- 
dron? Occasionally a breath of the 
steam blown around us by a chance 
breeze gave an uncomfortable burn. We 
knew that if once a man fell into such a 
place he would be instantly parboiled. 

At first we roped up as for mountain 
climbing, and spread out, so that if one 
man went through the others could pull 
him out. When we came better to un- 
derstand conditions, however, we dis- 
carded the ropes, having decided that if a 
man once broke through it would be 
more merciful to leave him than attempt 
to pull him out. 

We had been assured by the best au- 
thority that there could be no danger 
from the fumes. Nevertheless, I brought 
along a chemist to keep us out of the 
dangerous places, for I knew this Valley 
to be unlike any other place in the world 
and reasoned that there could be no real 
basis for the assurances given. 

Our apprehension was, to be sure, 
greatly relieved after passing the first 
night safely, and our fears diminished 
with each day. There was no telling, 
however, what we might encounter as we 
extended our observations into new areas. 

Had we known, for example, that there 
was enough hydrofluoric acid in some of 
the fumes to etch the inside of the glass 
tubes in which they were collected, we 
should have been still more worried, for 
even a small dose of hydrofluoric acid is 
dangerous. 



But, like most bugaboos, these dan- 
gers proved much less real than our im- 
agination pictured. Experience showed 
that there was always plenty of air to 
breathe, and we found no insidious gases 
strong enough to strike us down without 
warning. Our noses always gave ample 
notice of dangerous places. 

We suffered no injury beyond slight 
headaches and irritation of the mu- 
cous membranes caused by the corrosive 
gases. 

LEARNING TO TRAVEL SAFELY 

So also with cave-ins. As we grew 
familiar with conditions we soon learned 
to pick our way about safely. The sub- 
limations brought up by the fumaroles 
themselves so encrusted their throats 
and the ground round about that a thin 
roof over a cavern would support a man 
with safety. 

The most dangerous places were those 
where fissures had been bridged over by 
ash and mud, so as to leave nothing to 
indicate their presence. After we had 
been in the Valley several days we had 
some experiences with such "crevasses" 
that probably would have turned us 
back, had they occurred when we first 
arrived. 

Several times when we accidentally 
put a foot through a thin place in the 
crust, steam would come spouting out 
of the hole, forming a new fumarole. 
But it was always one foot only, and 
the owner did not take long to back 
out. 

Once, while walking across a place 
that looked perfectly solid, I noticed a 
new hole midway between two old fis- 
sures and, on investigating, found that a 
steaming fissure two feet wide and ten 
feet deep was roofed over for 50 feet by a 
layer of mud so thin that I could per- 
forate it anywhere by a slight thrust of 
my ice ax. 

But such experiences rapidly led to a 
sort of technique like that of the moun- 
tain climber, by which we could judge 
the ground. It was, moreover, some- 
thing like one's boyhood "banters" on 



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204 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Folaom 

THE MOUTH OF A VENT IN THE SmE OF A GULLY 

The entomologist with his bug net seems incongruous in such a place, but around some of the vents 
are thousands of dead insects, killed by flying into the hot steam. 



thin ice. After the first fellow had made 
it anybody was willing to follow. 

If, like the actuary, we may judge the 
risk by the mortality, the Valley is far 
safer than Broadway, for never in the 
course of the four expeditions which en- 
tered it was there the slightest accident 
to mar our success. 

To be sure, one could easily walk into 
a volcano if he were careless, but the very 
character of the Smokes engenders a 



respectful attitude on the part of the 
spectator, so that there is little if any 
real likelihood of accident. 

There is no doubt that, with ordinary 
precautions, the Valley can be made as 
safe for tourist travel as the Yellowstone 
Park. 

In many places the ground around the 
vents is covered with a peculiar blue 
mud, thinly coated with a chestnut- 
brown crust, which sometimes supports 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



205 



one and sometimes gives way suddenly, 
letting one down to his shoetops in the 
soft scalding mud beneath. At such 
times one is apt to feel that in all verity 
his "feet are taking hold on hell," par- 
ticularly if the place happens to look 
"ticklish" otherwise. 

EFFECT OF THE FUMAROLES ON SHOES 

Sinking deep into scalding mud would 
appear to be very hard on shoe leather. 
Many have asked me what sort of foot 
gear we used. We wore our ordinary 
shoes. The ash is such a poor conductor 
of heat that even where it is hot enough 
to melt zinc a few inches underground 
the surface is little above the air tem- 
perature. 

It is only when the surface is covered 
up, confining the heat, that the tempera- 
ture rises. Consequently, one may walk 
— so long as he keeps moving — over 
ground hot enough to burn up his shoes 
in short order if he stood still, without 
any marked sensation even of unusual 
warmth. 

Once, when we were careless enough 
to leave a packsack lying near a hot 
fumarole, we found its straps burned up 
in a few minutes. But our shoes had 
suffered no injury. 

As for the patches of scalding mud, one 
naturally gets out of them with as little 
delay as possible. I fully expected, how- 
ever, that the soil would be so impreg- 
nated with acids as to eat up our shoe 
leather with great rapidity, but fortu- 
nately there is here little or none of the 
free sulphuric acid prevalent in some 
volcanic districts. 

Our shoes lasted far better in the Val- 
ley than on the pumice plains outside. 
Indeed, the pair in which I worked in 
191 7, with a new pair of soles, went back 
into the Valley in 1919, and, again re- 
soled, are still good for a trip or two more. 

COOKING AT A FUMAROLE 

We chose for our camp a site 250 feet 
above the Valley floor close beside a 
melting snowdrift. Here, although we 
were denied the pleasure of a camp fire 



— for not a stick of wood remains any- 
where in the upper Valley — we had 
** all the comforts of home." Fifty yards 
to the rear was our refrigerator, where 
we could keep everything freezing cold 
until needed (see page 198). 

Just in front was our cookstove — a 
mild-mannered fumarole — into which 
we hung pots to cook our food. We were 
somewhat dubious beforehand as to the 
feasibility of this method of cooking, be- 
cause of the noxious gases that came off 
along with the steam; but the results 
were more than satisfactory. We never 
detected the faintest taint in any of our 
food. 

Everything was always done exactly 
right. Since the pots were surrounded 
by an atmosphere of live steam just at 
the point of condensing, nothing ever 
boiled away, cooked to pieces, or burned, 
no matter how long neglected or for- 
gotten. 

There was only one drawback; while 
we were in the Valley we had to do with- 
out our old stand-bys, bacon and flap- 
jacks, for the *' stove** we used that year 
would not fry. There were, however, 
many vents in the Valley quite hot 
enough to fry bacon, as we found to our 
satisfaction in 1919 (see page 294). But 
in 191 7 we were too much afraid of the 
big vents to try cooking in them. 

We could not even measure their tem- 
peratures, for supposing in advance all 
the fumaroles to be merely '* steamers*' 
at the boiling point we had come en- 
tirely unprepared for high temperatures. 
Our thermometers did not read high 
enough, so we had to content ourselves 
with guesses until the following year, 
when Sayre and Hagelbarger, provided 
with pyrometers supplied by the Geo- 
physical Laboratory of the Carnegie 
Institution, made a special study of tem- 
peratures. Thus equipped, they meas- 
ured temperatures ranging all the way 
from boiling up to 432° C. (810° F.), 
hot enough to melt zinc^ (see page 221). 

^ For a detailed account of the temperature 
observations in 191 8, see Ohio Journal of Science, 
vol. 19, pp. 249-278. 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



207 



When we turned in the first night we 
were astonished to find that the ground 
under our tent was decidedly warm. 
On examination we found that a ther- 
mometer thrust six inches into the 
ground promptly rose to the boiling 
point. This was indeed a surprise, for 
the place had been vacated only recently 
by the retreating snowbank behind us. 

A STEAM-HEATED TENT 

We put most of our bedding under us 
to keep us cool ! 

Before long our blankets were as hot 
as the ground. Close to the snowdrift 
as we were, and at an altitude of about 
2,300 feet, the air was at times decidedly 
cold ; so while we steamed on one side we 
froze on the other and had to keep turn- 
ing over and over in an effort to strike a 
balance. Everybody expected to *' catch 
his death of cold.*' 

After a little we discovered that our 
beds were not only hot, but wet from in- 
visible vafKjrs which were everywhere 
seeping up through the soil. The con- 
densation of the steam soon saturated 
our blankets, so that by morning we were 
in a most curious case. The sensations 
that greeted us on awakening in these 
warm, wet beds can in justice be com- 
pared only with certain distressing mem- 
ories of one's childhood days. 

This state of affairs worried us very 
much indeed, for such conditions were 
the worst possible for the films on which 
we were depending to vouch for our 
story. 

By building a sort of crib with the 
walking sticks we had brought from the 
lower camp, we managed to keep them 
off the floor, and thus reasonabl>^ cool. 

Our instruments also took up water 
and swelled, so that we feared we should 
lose everything. A tripod that had suc- 
cessfully stood the climate of a tropical 
rain forest jammed so hard that it could 
not be hammered loose. The cameras 
swelled until their focal points shifted. 

A panoramic outfit uix)n which high 
hopes had been built refused to work and 
was altogether useless for the rest of the 



summer. It is because of this failure 
that the frontispiece of this book shows 
only the main arm of the Valley. After 
many trials and much jogging, we got it 
to rotate as far as Baked Mountain, but 
there it stopped dead. 

As I saw everything thus rapidly soak- 
ing up moisture, I was very much dis- 
turbed lest we should be caught in the 
rain; a fumarole might be an ideal cook- 
stove but it was no good to dry clothes 
by. With the tent steamy also there 
would be absolutely no way of drying 
out when once we got thoroughly wet, 
as was sure to happen before many days. 
Transportation was so difficult that we 
had brought no change of clothing. 

But in these fears I was most happily 
disappointed. We found that though 
everything in the tent was soon suffused 
with moisture, nevertheless anything 
brought in dripping wet from outside, 
being supersaturated, quickly became 
merely damp. 

When we came in soaked through and 
chilled after a ducking, therefore, we 
merely crawled into our blankets. After 
a while both clothes and bedding would 
become as *'dry" as when we started. 

THERAPEUTIC POSSIBILITIES 
OF THE VALLEY 

In spite of the expxjsure to which we 
were daily subjected, there was not a 
symptom of *' colds" or other illness in 
the party. 

On the contrary, the constant steam- 
ing seemed a good treatment for the 
rheumatic pains which usually develop 
on such expeditions. During our stay in 
the Valley, and for some time thereafter, 
we were as free from such aches as if we 
had taken the '*cure" at a hot spring. 

We had no physician along, nor did we 
have time for any experimenting, but 
one does not have to be very well versed 
in medical lore to see the therapeutic 
possibilities of such a place. The healing 
powers of thermal waters are a matter of 
common knowledge; the thousands of 
patients who annually journey to such 
places sufficiently attest their efficacy. 



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208 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



The hot mud, which everywhere 
abounds, may possibly excel more than 
one hot spring in its healing properties. 
The virtues of a clay poultice are well 
known to us all, beginning with the mud 
plasters we used to employ when as boys 
we were stung in digging up a bumble- 
bees' nest, and ending with the high- 
sounding '*antiphlogistene" poultice we 
now purchase at the drug stores to relieve 
bruises and inflammation. 

One's imagination can readily picture 
the benefits that might accrue from 
the scientific employment of the hot 
muds of the Valley in the treatment 
of all disorders that yield to external 
applications. 

KATMAI PASS A NOTORIOUS 
WEATHER-BREEDER 

We came at length to appreciate 
greatly our steam-heated tent, for we 
found it always warm and comfortable, 
and there were times when the driving 
wind and rain outside were so bitter that 
we could scarcely have endured the place 
otherwise. 

It would be a mistake, however, to 
suppose that with all our conveniences 
life in the Valley was wholly ideal. The 
Alaska Peninsula is notorious as a storm- 
breeder, and before the eruption Katmai 
Pass had a reputation for bad weather 
not to be matched elsewhere on the 
American Continent. 

Now, with such enormous quantities 
of hot steam rushing into the air close 
beside the extensive glaciers and snow 
fields of the mountains, the weather is 
even worse than before. From the head 
of the Valley, where conditions made it 
necessary for us to carnp, we could often 
look out of our door through a storm that 
threatened every moment to tear the 
tent from the ground, and see bright sun- 
shine and good weather a short five miles 
down the Valley. 

During the season of 191 7 there was 
rain almost every day of our stay — not 
the gentle mist familiar to dwellers of 
southeastern Alaska, but real rain in big 
drops, driven before the gusty winds 



that penetrated everything, until our 
tent roof leaked like a basket. 

How we wished to study the Valley 
from the shelter of a house with a real 
roof, where we could keep things dry and 
contemplate the wonders of nature with 
some degree of personal comfort! 

But in the intervals between rains, the 
sunshine made up for all the hardships 
we endured. The weather here reminds 
one of the little girl with the curl. When 
it is bad it is undeniably horrid, but 
when it is good it is so very, very good 
that one straightway forgives its evil 
moods. Whenever the skies cleared we in- 
stantly forgot the discomforts and one and 
all gave ourselves up to admiration of the 
surpassing beauty of our surroundings. 

Having established ourselves in the 
Valley, we prepared to study the many 
scientific problems presented by thb 
unique place. 

A FEW SIGNS OF ANIMAL LIFE 

One of our first observations was the 
number of dead insects around many of 
the vents, where they had been killed by 
flying into the live steam. Hine, there- 
fore, came up for a few days to study the 
insects with the object of ascertaining 
how they got into the Valley and where 
they bred (see page 204). 

The larger animals were practically 
absent, but we found occasional tracks 
of bears, wolves, and wolverines, which 
had crossed the Valley from one range 
to the other. Most of these were old, 
but one day I found the tracks of a bear 
that had crossed during the night. 

I wished I might have watched him 
when his feet sank into the patches of 
soft scalding mud that lay in his way. 
He must have been treated to the sur- 
prise of his life! But however he felt, he 
kept right on, straight across the Valley, 
without making the slightest deviation 
to avoid the bad places, often sinking 
deep into the hot mud. 

SURVEYING THE VALLEY 

Maynard, with one of the others for 
assistant, toiled up to the summits day 



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BRILLIANT INCRrSTATIOXS FROM THE FUMAROLES 
The yellow of sulphur is largely lost in reproduction, materially subduing the effect. 



VII 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
A ROW OF GORGEOUS "STOVE HOLES" 
Here the rice and beans could be left to simmer indefinitely, held exactly at the boiling point. 



VIII 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



209 



after day to secure the topx^graphic map 
which is the necessary basis of all our 
statements of areas and sizes. 

His was arduous work and the effort 
was often wasted, for perfectly clear 
days, which are necessary for this work, 
are rare around mountain passes any- 
where, and here especially so. 

Sometimes the weather seemed to take 
an almost fiendish delight in opposing 
his plans. Several times as we watched 
from the Valley we could see a thin 
cloud hanging all day to the very summit 
on which he stood shivering, while the 
mountains all around were clear. 

The first time he tried to work Baked 
Mountain the wind happened to be just 
right to carry the steam from the biggest 
fumarole in the vicinity, No. 46, square 
across the summit, preventing observa- 
tions as effectually as though the whole 
region were enveloped in fog. 

More than once it seemed as if there 
would not be enough clear days to com- 
plete the observations, but in the end he 
succeeded in getting the data for an 
excellent map. 

COLLECTING GASES FOR ANALYSIS 

The most disagreeable, as well as one 
of the most difficult tasks, fell to Shipley, 
who collected samples of gas from the 
vents for analysis (see page 246). 

It looks easy, as the work is laid out in 
advance, to poke a glass tube into a vent 
and pump the gas into a container; but 
in the field all sorts of difficulties crop up, 
and to surmount these requires great 
patience and resourcefulness. Appara- 
tus will not do what is expected of it; 
tubes clog prematurely or snap in the 
heat. 

Moreover, a fumarole is not an easy 
thing to deal with at close range. When, 
after some trouble, one gets in a position 
where he can take his sample, and a sud- 
den shift of wind brings a cloud of hot, 
acid vapor around him, he is placed in a 
difficult, not to say dangerous, situation. 

More than once our gas collectors be- 
came lost in the blinding vapors and re- 
gained a place of safety only after some 



minutes of anxious groping through the 
steam. But fortunately the precious 
samples were all secured without mishap, 
and a considerable amount of other val- 
uable chemical work done. 

PRACTICALLY ALL PLANT LIFE DESTROYED 

Only the botanists were without em- 
ployment, for in the formation of the 
Valley all life was annihilated. Plants 
were practically absent in 1917. Not 
quite so, however, for around some of 
the mild vents moss and algae were be- 
ginning to start in places bathed by the 
warm breath of the fumarole. 

From the vapors they derived, besides 
constant moisture, their supply of nitro- 
gen in the form of ammonia, which is 
given off in considerable quantity by the 
vents. Beans dropped on the ''kitchen 
floor" near our fumarole sprouted and 
grew rapidly on the warm ground, soon 
making a bright spot of green. But they 
were short-lived; the roots were killed 
wherever they touched the acid soil. 

The absence of vegetation gave me op- 
portunity to study the unique exhibition 
of geological forces here presented. Ob- 
servation of the different types of fuma- 
roles, of their relations to each other, 
to the old rocks and to the new deposits 
that filled the valley, endeavors to cor- 
relate temperatures and incrustations, 
and similar problems of a merely de- 
scriptive character were more than 
enough to occupy my time. 

But beyond these were the more im- 
portant questions of the relations of the 
fumaroles to the old volcanoes, to the 
subterranean magma whose rise brought 
on the cataclysm, and to the great forces 
of the inner earth responsible for the 
crumpling and fissuring of the outer 
shell, the building of mountain systems 
and the formation of volcanic chains — 
processes in which the greatest of erup- 
tions are but incidental details. 

TESTIMONY OF MY ASSOCLA.TES 

Consideration of these questions will 
best be deferred, however, until the com- 
pletion of the narrative of the expedi- 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



211 



tions. My account of our experiences is 
necessarily influenced by the limitations 
of my own interests and point of view. 
The impressions which my associates 
have set down at my request, reflecting a 
wide diversity of temperament and ex- 
perience, will give a broader view: 

L. G. Folsom: '*You ask me to write 
of my impressions upx^n seeing for the 
first time the 'Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes/ I do not recall your ever hav- 
ing given me yours, and I suspect that 
you feel as helpless as I do in attempting 
to put impressions into words and for the 
same reason — that it would require a 
special vocabulary not found in any dic- 
tionary of present publication. It can- 
not be denied that such impressions are 
determined by point of view, and ix)int 
of view by temperament, so I must be 
sincere or my statements are of no real 
value. 

*' You, and only you, whose companion 
I was in the discovery, can have an 
adequate conception of the emotions of 
one who knows he is the first of his 
fellows to look ufKjn such a marvel of 
nature. In fact, the emotions of a dis- 
coverer must bear some similitude to the 
emotions of a creator. 

''To think again of what we had al- 
ready seen, to feel again the explorer's 
urge, to suffer again the pains of pro- 
tracted exertion, to experience again the 
thrill and exaltation of achievement, pro- 
duces a sort of exquisite languor, which, 
were it not that there is still so much to 
do, one might wish to be lasting. 

"The thousands of little volcanoes 
were almost a more magnificent sight 
than the wonderful Katmai Crater we 
had visited the day before. We were in 
danger of being surfeited with 'world 
wonders.' 

"There comes in upx^n my conscious- 
ness yet, occasionally, a sort of startling 
memory of the experience. It almost 
hurts. Then I fall to dreaming of the 
causes and probable progress of such 
phenomena; of the unusual opportuni- 
ties for study; the wonderful scenic dis- 
play of natural forces. 



" Upon first walking among the hissing 
fissures there was such a sensation as one 
might imagine if sitting upon the roof 
of a powder magazine — sputtering fuse 
— Kingdom-come. And yet, I cannot 
say I ever feared the Valley, but was 
awed by it. I could not decide whether 
it was Valhalla, 'World of the Gods,' or a 
rendezvous of devils; an Elysium or a 
Tartarus. 

"There was always a very conscious 
realization that the ground upon which 
we were walking was holey ground, also 
that it was not wholly ground, but in 
large part, cavity, filled with odorous 
and malodorous gases, chiefly the latter. 

"In its bigness it is truly Alaskan; in 
its scenic effect it is marvelous; in its 
display of mighty force it is magnificent. 

"You perhaps recall Walter Metro- 
kin's story of his dogs, who had once 
caught a porcupine, with 'needles all 
chuck full o' mouth.* While this first 
wonder of the world is not a thing to in- 
spire humor, Walter's twisted vernacular 
would fittingly characterize it as 'smokes 
all chuck full o' valley.'" 

EACH INDIVIDUAL VENT MORE BEAUTIFUL 
THAN VALLEY AS A WHOLE 

Paul R. Hagelbarger, Assistant Botan- 
ist: "Bright sunshine bathed the Val- 
ley when I first saw it. Even though 
several miles away, I was awe-struck by 
the surprisingly large size and striking 
beauty of the spectacle. There were so 
many more steam jets than I had even 
hoped to see that I could only gaze in 
silent admiration. 

"After living in the Valley and work- 
ing among the fumaroles, my impres- 
sions began to change. My amazement 
at the great area was intensified by the 
knowledge gained on many trips across 
the Valley floor. The beauty of each 
individual vent was even more than that 
of the Valley as a whole. 

"The thing that stupefied me, how- 
ever, was the ever-present proof that 
some terrific energy or force had only re- 
cently exerted itself. Everything seemed 
on such a huge scale. Our tents looked 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



213 



insignificant amid the roaring volcanic 
vents. 

"As I came daily to know the area 
better, I was more and more impressed 
by the titanic forces that had been 
at work here. Human endeavor and 
achievement seemed dwarfed to insig- 
nificance by comparison. I felt out of 
place and like an intruder in this Land of 
the Gods. This Valley appeared to be 
on another planet that was in the proc- 
ess of formation. 

** I spent 16 days in the Valley and was 
glad to leave, as will be seen in my diary 
for August 2 : * Came out of the steam- 
ing Valley for good. Lucky to get out. 
Glad to see trees and grass again. Feel 
like I am just awakening after a two 
weeks' nightmare. Valley is wonderful, 
but no place to camp. Walter says, 
" Lots of steam. Hell of a place." Heart- 
ily agree.*" 

SURPASSED HIS WILDEST DREAMS 

J. D. Sayre, Assistant Botanist: ** My 
sensation on first seeing the Valley of 
Ten Thousand Smokes was one of won- 
der and astonishment. I was astonished 
at the great dimensions of the Valley and 
at the countless numbers of fumaroles 
and fissures out of which the steam is- 
sued, to say nothing of the many other 
gorgeous and magnificent displays of na- 
ture. Never in my wildest dreams had 
I imagined anything to compare with 
these. 

*' Greatest of all was my surprise that 
so much energy could be released in such 
an e2isy and quiet manner without ap- 
parent injury or danger to any one or 
any thing. I experienced no sensation of 
fear while staying in the Valley, perhaps 
because my mind was so filled with as- 
tonishment and admiration at this great 
marvel of nature, or because I was fool- 
hardy and did not realize the grave dan- 
ger of falling into one of those hot places. 

*'I had no hatred of the place during 
my short stay there, although we were 
surrounded by many discomforts, and I 
said, soon after we left, that I would like 
to come back some time and see the 



place again. I am very proud to say 
that I was a member of the expedition 
which overcame the difficulties and 
hardships and first explored such a won- 
derful place.** 

THE COMPLAINT OF A TOPOGRAPHER 

Clarence F. Maynard, Topographer: 
"To me the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes is a stretch of country that offers 
all the usual difficulties of topographic 
surveying in Alaska, with a few rather 
unusual ones thrown in for good meas- 
ure. It is hardly a country to make the 
heart of a topographer glad. 

"The smokes did not impress me with 
their grandeur or with their wonder as a 
natural phenomenon. Their ability to 
make surveying next to impossible did, 
however, make a very decided impres- 
sion on me. On the occasional clear days 
when the sun was shining down the Val- 
ley they seemed to be always at their 
best, as Griggs would put it, but to my 
mind at their worst. 

"On these, the few rare days when it 
was not raining and the wind was not 
doing its best to move our camp (rather 
good judgment on the part of the wind, I 
should say), they would shoot forth jets 
of steam which soon took the form of 
clouds and obscured the country we 
were trying to work. 

"I finally began to believe that the 
smokes were out to buck me, and be- 
came convinced of it when, on one of the 
rare fine days, I ascended to a peak 
which immediately became enveloped in 
fog. This was not unusual, but I was 
impressed on returning to camp to hear 
from the more fortunate members of the 
party that the whole Valley had been 
clear with the exception of the peak 1 
occupied. 

"I am not a v^etarian; furthermore, 
tea cooked in a steam pit is not tea. A 
tent that never sheds a drop of water is 
not a tent. A wool comfort placed on the 
ground which is iio'^ F. in the above 
tent will steam beautifully. It is a nat- 
ural phenomenon, but it is not a good 
bed. 



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Photograph by J. W. Shipley 
HINE INSPECTING THE CAVERNOUS MAW OF A GAS-EMITTING VENT 

The gases from these openings are transparent until they begin to condense in the atmosphere. 
Consequently it is frequently possible to look far into the depths of the earth. 

214 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



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" I believe I mentioned that I am not 
a vegetarian. I like bacon in the morn- 
ing; I like it fried. A steam jet, in spite 
of its being a glorious and natural phe- 
nomenon, will not do this. I am from 
New England and have decided ideas on 
baked beans. Again the steam jet fell 
down. It needs New England training. 
Baked beans are beyond the limit of its 
capabilities. 

*' I should say the coming of the smokes 
ruined what might otherwise have been 
a perfectly good country. My opinion, 
however, is probably valueless, as being 
out of tobacco always colors my views." 

Fortunately Maynard was by no 
means the confirmed grouch that he 
makes himself out, but on the contrary 
was one of the best fellows in the crowd, 
his good-natured raillery contributing 
greatly to the pleasure of the summer's 
work. 

THE MODERN INFERNO 

James S. Hine, Zoologist: "A hike of 
miles over devastation wrought by nat- 
ural disturbances in the Katmai country 
naturally puts one into a peculiar state 
of mind. He is deeply impressed with 
the enormity of the whole affair, and 
everything seems beyond comprehen- 
sion. The unusual circumstance of sum- 
mer with no plant life and no animal life 
surely is a strange realization. 

** Having reached the summit of Kat- 
mai Pass, the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes spreads out before one with no 
part of the view obstructed. My first 
thought was: We have reached the 
modem inferno. I was horrified, and yet, 
curiosity to see all at close range capti- 
vated me. Although sure that at almost 
every step I would sink beneath the 
earth's crust into a chasm intensely hot, 
I pushed on as soon as I found my- 
self safely over a particularly dangerous- 
appearing area. I didn't like it, and yet 
I did. 

*'I felt like a boy at a circus, for I 
couldn't take time to study the attrac- 
tion before me because I suspected some- 
thing more captivating farther on. Nor 



was I ever disappointed, for nothing was 
exactly like anything else. 

''The broken hills, the falling moun- 
tains, the magnificent glaciers, the steam- 
ing fumaroles, and the rolling steams 
can all be described, but their wonderful 
profusion and the manner in which they 
encroached upon one another must re- 
main largely in possession of him who is 
fortunate enough to make a visit to the 
locality where these things abound in 
extraordinary splendor." 

LIKE A HUGE CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING 
PLANT 

J. W. Shipley, Chemist: "On first 
entering the Valley from between the two 
guardian volcanic cones, I experienced 
the same sensation as the man who on 
seeing a giraffe for the first time ex- 
claimed, 'There ain't no such animal.' 
The quiet evolution of myriads of col- 
umns of vapor from the floor of a wide, 
desolate valley, the encompassing moun- 
tain ridges, the sequestered isolation, 
the avalanches of rocks, all vividly re- 
called Sindbad's adventures in the 'Ara- 
bian Nights.* It is so unreal! 

"Hot streams issue from beneath 
banks of snow; extensive glaciers hob- 
nob with steaming fumaroles; icebergs 
and hot water are found in the same 
little lake (see page 244). Enormous 
mud flows appear to have run uphill. 
A stick chars when thrust into a jet of 
steam. It is uncannily unreal. 

"But the unreality suddenly vanishes 
when one's foot breaks through the crust 
and hot volcanic gases rush out. It is 
also sufficiently realistic to have ava- 
lanches of rocks galloping down the 
2,000-foot face of Falling Mountain 
while we are collecting gases in the 
bottom of a 20-foot hole at its base. 

"The familiar fumes of hydrogen sul- 
phide, sulphur dioxide, and hydrochloric 
acid transform the Valley into a huge 
chemical manufacturing plant, roofed 
over by a permanent cloud of vapx^rs. 
And when one is cold and wet, it is 
rather comfortably lonesome to lean 
against the hot walls of a sheltered crev- 



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2l6 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

ONE OF THE GAPING FISSURES ALONG THE MARGIN OF THE VALLEY 

The two sides were evidently pulled apart by contraction of the Valley floor; compare the diagram- 
matic section of the Valley given on page 263. 



ice and meditate on the dead bodies of 
hundreds of flies lying around the orifice 
of the subterranean chimneys." 

A SPECTACLE OF AWESOME MAGNITUDE 

D. B. Church, Photographer: *' Re- 
gardless of our packs, we hurried through 
the Pass leaving behind the few faint, 
wispy steam jets that mounted from its 
floor just over the divide, craning to 
glimpse the first steam cloud to rise from 
the Valley beyond. There floated over 
the spur of the ridge to the north a bil- 
lowy cloud that marked the largest 
steamer. 

''Reaching the higher ground that 
had hidden my view, I gazed at the 
panorama before me. Flanked by Cer- 
berus and Falling Mountain, spread the 
Valley — a maze of pearly columns that 
billowed skyward and bent before the 
strong westerly wind. Down a narrow 
canyon we trudged and climbed out over 
its painted ash walls on to the Valley floor. 



, "The meager pictures of the previous 
year, and even the graphic descriptions 
of Griggs and Folsom, had not prepared 
me to face such a spectacle of awesome 
magnitude. I had pictured the Valley 
as large; the actual view dwarfed my 
wildest imagery to insignificance. 

"I started for the nearest fumarole; it 
seemed a few hundred yards distant. I 
found it half a mile away. It was a 
small fumarole and I crept cautiously 
up to its edge. From its red-painted 
throat, which vanished in deep black- 
ness, the sulphur-reeking steam roared 
forth in a smothering blast. 

"Passing back, I found a crack in the 
rocklike crust of the mud flow, through 
which sizzled the scorching steam and 
gas. A few prods with my staff opened a 
hole into the underground conduit, from 
which the steam hissed forth. The 
fragility of the crust and knowledge of 
the result of a misstep startled me. My 
fears began to awaken — fears that for 



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EXPLORATIONS IN THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1917 



217 



several. days made me tiptoe over spots 
where the earth rang hollow beneath my 
feet. Familiarity gave me greater con- 
fidence, but I never ceased to tread care- 
fully the color-daubed regions of sub- 
surface activity. 

WORK DROVE AWAY FEAR 

"The next day I b^an my work in 
the Valley. This day activity and in- 
terest drove fear from me. The one 
conception that pervaded me was: How 
like this place to Dante's conception of 
the 'Inferno.' It seemed to me, as we 
stood on the edge of Novarupta, that 
this was the Devil's own private comer 
in hell itself. 

*' It seemed, as I gazed at the seething 
steam clouds that rushed from the cool- 
ing lava plug, and at the shattered, 
steam-smothered furnace that filled the 
rising vale beyond, that there was some 
vague fantastic form, a horrid dream, a 
hideous, potent 'thing,' which was not 
for human eyes to see nor human ears to 
hear. 

''Then an endless night on the hot, 
moisture-teeming ground; an endless 
rolling from side to side to escape the 
torment of the penetrating heat that 
seeped up from the hot, sodden ground; 
and always, as I looked down the Valley 
through the open tent door, shone the 
marble-like steam columns, which, like 
tall, writhing specters, swayed in the 
dim twilight. 



"There was always a certain awe- 
someness about the Valley which clung 
to me throughout my stay. I looked for- 
ward with relief to the time when I 
could put from my sight the curling 
steamy billows that rose from f umaroles 
and mounted ever skyward. 

"Pictures cannot bring back the Val- 
ley of the Smokes. They have lost the 
awesomeness that lies in the setting. 
You may build in memory, but never 
reproduce the scenes which lie beyond 
the Katmai Pass. They seem too big to 
be a part of the rest of the world. They 
do not connect up with the little things 
which are built into our lives. 

"Outstanding in my memory is the 
Valley as I left it. It was a brilliant day, 
with puffy silver clouds that floated on 
a sky of deepest blue, and sunlight that 
glinted on opalescent steam jets and 
sparkled on peaks fresh-capped with 
snow. 

"As, homeward bound, we skirted 
Cerberus, the steamers turned in the 
dying sunlight to shimmering gold and 
the snowy crests of distant mountains 
glinted yellow. I forgot the heavy pack 
which bowed my shoulders as I glanced 
backward at the growing beauty which 
filled the Valley. Through its giant 
gateway the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes sank from sight as we dropped 
over the Pass, and the sky above red- 
dened to a crimson halo in the fading 
rays of the sinking sun." 



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XVII 
THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



When, after months of preparation, 
we approached the Valley again on the 
first day of June, 1919, we were intensely 
curious not only to see what changes 
time had wrought but also to observe 
the fumaroles at that early season. 

It was thirty-four days earlier than 
anyone had entered the Valley before — 
so early that the snow had only begun 
to disappear from the mountains and 
the great torrents that pour from the 
glaciers in July and August had not yet 
started . Many feet of snow still covered 
the south approach to the Pass, and the 
area of little fumaroles between Cerberus 
and Mageik was blanketed ten feet 
deep. 

But the Valley itself looked just as in 
midsummer except for two or three 
diminutive white patches in quiet cor- 
ners away from fumaroles. We had 
been curious to know how the fumaroles 
behave through the winter, and this view 
in early spring was next best to over- 
wintering in the region. 

FUMAROLES NOT VISIBLY AFFECTED BY 
SEASONAL VARIATIONS IN STREAMS 

Aside from a somewhat idle curiosity 
to see the struggle between the elements 
when the winter's cold should intensify 
the temperature contrasts, there are 
scientific deductions of much importance 
to be made from a comparison of the 
winter activity of the Valley with its 
summer condition. 

Practically all the drainage from the 
watershed tributary to the Valley is 
vaporized by the heat and returned to 
the air, either through the fumaroles or 
as diffuse invisible vapor. The only 
way to estimate how large a proportion 
of the steam from the fumaroles is com- 
posed of surface water is to compare the 
condition of the Valley in winter, when 
practically no water runs into it, with 



that in summer, when the accumulated 
run-off of the whole year is largely con- 
centrated in two months. If the fuma- 
roles are due to surface waters they 
should dwindle in winter and grow with 
the increasing melt in summer. If on the 
other hand surface water plays but a 
small part, they should remain nearly 
constant at all seasons. 

So far as our observations go, they 
point definitely to the latter suppo- 
sition. The Valley looked exactly the 
same on June i, 1919, as it had in Au- 
gust, 191 7, and we could not detect any 
differences beyond the daily fluctuations 
due to changing weather conditions as 
the season progressed. Yet in early 
June the slight streams from the gla- 
ciers quickly dried up, leaving dry beds 
through the main portion of the Valley, 
where in August ran foaming mountain 
torrents. 

SOME INDICATIONS OF SLACKENED 
ACTIVITY 

While it was evident at once that the 
general appearance of the Valley was 
the same as before, after we had had 
time to examine the ground in detail we 
could observe some slight indications of 
a slackening of activity around the edges. 

The little fumaroles between Mount 
Cerberus and Mount Mageik at the 
head of the Valley, of which there were 
about a hundred in 1916, 1917, and 1918, 
were reduced to two or three in 191 9. 
At the foot of the Valley a large number 
of springs of boiling water had started 
up in areas where there had been noth- 
ing but steam previously. The temper- 
atures of some of the fumaroles in the 
same area were markedly lower than the 
year before. 

Falling Mountain, likewise, though 
quite active enough to satisfy the new- 
comers, did not shoot forth its avalanches 



219 



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220 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

FALLING MOUNTAIN FROM ACROSS THE VALLEY 

One of the most remarkable phenomena of the region is the constancy of the avalanches down the 

face of Falling Mountain. 



with quite the same frequency as in for- 
mer years. The old volcanoes, Katmai, 
Trident, Mageik, and Martin, also were 
less vigorous than in 1916 and 191 7. 

This is, however, by no means a cer- 
tain indication that the activity of the 
region is dying out. The big volcanoes, 
which alone were known at that time, 
had a similar period of slackening in 
1915. We could not assure ourselves 
then that Katmai was really active, and 
steam from Trident could be seen only 
at certain times. 

But the two following years the out- 
put of both these vents increased measur- 
ably, so that no one could question the 
reality of the steam clouds issuing from 
them. Whether the slackening of the 
activity of the Valley vents observed in 
1919 was simply such a temporary 
fluctuation, or whether it represented a 
permanent quieting down can only be 
judged by the future. 

In either case there is no reason to 
expect any sudden extinction of the 
Smokes, for the changes observed were 



so slight that we could not be certain 
that there was a real slowing-down until 
after many days of observation and com- 
parison. 

MELTING LEAD AND ZINC IN 
THE FUMAROLES 

Despite the signs of decreasing ac- 
tivity that were detected around the 
edges of the Valley, the geophysicists 
found fumaroles very much hotter than 
any that had been measured before — hot- 
ter, indeed, than any of us had supposed 
occurred in the Valley. 

It was late in the season before any of 
these extremely high temperatures were 
discovered. We all felt that more and 
perhaps hotter places would have come 
to light if only there had been time to 
continue the work. But increasingly 
bad weather prevented further search. 

There was great excitement one night 
when Dr. Allen, coming in late, an- 
nounced, "Three times have we melted 
zinc this day." His party had found 
three widely separated fumaroles with 



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THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



221 



Photograph by Jasper D. Sayre 
MEASURING THE TEMPERATURE OF A FUMAROLE 

The temperature of this insignificant little hole was 300° C. (572° F.). Others in the same line near 
by ran above 400** C. (752° F.). The difference in temperature between the hot and cold junctions 
at opposite ends of the thermocouple sets up an electrical current whose intensity, recorded by the 
meter in the foreground, is a measure of the temperature (compare Plate XV, facing page 304). 



temperatures above the melting point of 
zinc (420*^ C). 

The hottest of these was practically 
500° (496^ C, 868° F.). This was found 
in a fumarole where the steam broke 
through a myriad of small holes in the 
roof of a bridged-over fissure. 

The volume of gas coming from any 
one of these holes was so small that we 
could approach as closely as desired. We 
could easily reach into the hole with a foot 
rule. Within five seconds the end of a 
stick held in the steam began to smoke 
violently and when drawn out was a glow- 
ing coal. In less time than that a bar 
of lead slumped down and melted away. 

KINDLING A FIRE BY PLUNGING 
A STICK INTO WATER 

But even this performance was 
eclipsed next day, when the chemists 



came in reporting several temperatures 
above 500*^. The highest, 645*^ C. (nearly 
1,200° F.), was obtained in a small orifice 
not more than two inches in diameter, 
located at the bottom of a crater-like 
pit eight or ten feet across. 

This was an inconspicuous little fuma- 
role which had not excited our curiosity, 
although it was but little removed from 
the trail that we used constantly in trav- 
eling up and down the Valley. The gas 
rising in the vicinity was, however, so 
blue as to arouse Dr. Zies' suspicions, 
and lead him to examine the place in 
detail. 

When we put an aluminum cup into 
the steam it was quickly softened, so 
that it could be cut with a knife like pew- 
ter. Yet it showed no signs of melting. 
The tinned handle of the cup was vigor- 
ously attacked by the gas, but the alu- 



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222 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by E. C. Kolb 
OUR DRINKING POOL AT THE MOUTH OF A SNOW CAVE 

By moving the tents a few feet back or forward, we could obtain any desired floor temperature. Only 
a few rods beyond the tents was our cookstove. 



minum body was neither corroded nor 
tarnished in the least degree. 

Then we cut the end of a walking 
stick into a brush of shavings, such as one 
uses to light a fire, and thrust it into the 
fumarole. Instantly it began to smoke 
and char, and when jerked quickly into 
the air burst into flame, from which we 
kindled a bonfire by breaking up what 
was left of our canes. Since the vapor 
from this fumarole was almost pure 
steam — that is to say, water — what we 
really did was to kindle a fire by plung- 
ing a stick into water (see page 296). 

''a red-hot fumarole" 

All of the very high temperatures 
measured were found in such relatively 
small and inconspicuous fumaroles as 

1 A number of people whose knowledge of steam 
at higher temperatures was derived from experi- 
ence with boilers have asked me why the Valley 
was not in great danger of blowing up from the 
tremendous pressures accompanying steam tem- 
perature of 1,200° F. It may be well to remark 
that while steam heated in a confined boiler to 
such a temperature would develop an enormous 



these, rather than in the big vents which 
one would suppose to be hottest. 

The temperature of the gas as it 
first emerges is probably quite as high in 
the big vents as in the little ones, but 
the wide-open throats, which the force of 
the escaping gases has blasted out, per- 
mit the emanations to cool down consid- 
erably before reaching the orifice. On 
this account the largest and most im- 
pressive vents, those which are actually 
delivering by far the greatest quantities 
of heat, are seldom more than two or 
three times as hot as ordinary steam, 
that is, 200° to 300° C. This tempera- 
ture, although far beyond that ever 
found in a steam boiler, is yet much 
below the kindling point of wood.* 

Even at 300°, however, the steam is 
perfectly dry as it emerges, and some- 
pressure, in an open receptacle permitting free 
expansion, it could be raised to a high tempera- 
ture, as readily as so much air, without dex'elop- 
ing increased pressure. 

The gases from the fumaroles all come off at 
relatively low pressures, but little above the 
atmosphere. 



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THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



223 



times does not condense until 20 feet 
from the vent. The dancing, swirling, 
feathery wisps which first appear in such 
a condensing column hold a peculiar 
fascination for the onlooker, as he 
watches them thicken and coalesce into 
a heavy cloud. 

In the hottest vent the steam is not 
only so perfectly dry as to show no sign 
of condensing for a long distance, but 
so hot that in the dark the throat must 
glow with a faint redness. All of us 
would have liked to see a red-hot fuma- 
role, and there was much talk of going 
down to the vent to observe it at night; 
but when it came to the test no one was 
quite ready to undertake the trip, for 
none cared to try picking his way a- 
round among the fumaroles in the dark- 
ness. 

VALLEY BECOMING GREEN IN SPOTS 
WITH MOSS AND ALGAE 

The most conspicuous change in the 
appearance of the Valley was due to 
quite another cause — the beginning of 
an invasion of its hot soil by plant life. 
In the two years since 191 7 the few 
minute beginnings of vegetation had in- 
creased until they formed in places con- 
spicuous spots of bright green, visible 
sometimes for a mile. 

The new growth was composed of 
"blue-green" algae and moss, which 
made a dense carpet around some of the 
fumaroles. The algae consisted of sev- 
eral genera that are common in hot 
springs; the moss was uniformly sterile. 

These plants here show a very decided 
preference for hot ground. In fact, they 
are strictly confined to spots moistened 
by the steam. Sometimes a small fuma- 
role will be surrounded by a mat of moss 
which approaches the orifice on all sides 
until its advance is stopped by the high 
temperature. Besides the living plants, 
one often finds brown seared remains of 
others that have been killed by the fuma- 
roles, after having managed in some way 
to make a good growth inside the dan- 
ger zone. 

In addition to these visible plants. 



Sayre found by incubating samples of the 
soil that the hot earth is inhabited by 
bacteria. 

The scientific problem raised by the 
invasion of the Valley by these lowly 
plants is one of the greatest fascina- 
tion. If one could work out the whole 
sequence of organisms from the lowest to 
the highest as vegetation is reestablished 
he would perhaps be enabled to under- 
stand a great deal more than we now 
know concerning the peopling of this 
planet and its preparation for habitation 
by the higher animals and man. 

BEARS INVESTIGATE THE VALLEY 

In the seven years since the formation 
of the Smokes, the surrounding country 
had gradually been occupied by a new 
population of bears which, having prob- 
ably grown up in the vicinity of the 
Valley, had come to regard it as one of 
the normal phenomena of their world. 

When first discovered, the active area 
was as absolutely devoid of evidence of 
living creatures as can be imagined. The 
next year, as previously noted, a single 
bear ventured to cross the Valley dur- 
ing our stay. 

But in 1919 bears Were frequent visi- 
tors, comprising indeed the only tourists 
that had yet visited its confines. Not 
merely here and there, but in many 
places, their tracks were to be found all 
through the Valley. These were not the 
work of any single bear, nor made at any 
one time, but were of many sizes, show- 
ing that most of the bears of the region 
probably enter the place from time to 
time. 

They were not satisfied with merely 
crossing through the steaming areas, but 
were apparently attracted in some de- 
gree by the Smokes. Their tracks were 
often to be found close around the largest 
vents, even far up toward the head of the 
Valley, many miles from any possible 
source of food. 

From their behavior, indeed, it seems 
not at all improbable that they may 
have enjoyed lying on the warm ground, 
seeking good places to bask in the heat, 



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224 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



just as a dog picks for his bed the hottest 
place behind the kitchen stove. We 
could not assure ourselves in this matter, 
for we could never catch sight of them in 
the Valley, and the ground around the 
big fumaroles is baked so hard that only 
claw marks remained to show where 
they had walked. If they lay down 
their shaggy coats left no mark on the 
hard crust, so we were little the wiser 
concerning their real habits. 

It was not unusual to find the tracks 
of a bear leading straight up to one of 
the large vents, where evidently he had 
stopped to peer into the mysterious hot 
hole. In one of the steaming areas 
Hagelbarger found a place where the 
hot ground had apparently excited the 
bear's curiosity, for he had dug into it 
until he started a small fumarole of his 
own. The appearance of a cloud of 
steam under his claws as he broke into 
the hot crust must have given him a great 
surprise. It did not scare him away, 
however, for not satisfied with a single 
experiment, he tried again in several 
places, each time digging down till he 
started the steam before turning away. 

BAKED MOUNTAIN CAMP 

When we first camped in the Valley 
in 191 7 we were so afraid of its fumaroles 
that our guiding maxim was "safety 
first." But when we returned in 191 9 
we were willing to take a chance and try 
experiments we had not dared attempt 
before. 

At the suggestion of the photogra- 
phers, the camp was placed at a corner 
of Baked Mountain (see map, page 68), 
close beside some of the biggest vents 
in the Valley, a situation that command- 
ed magnificent views of Mount Mageik 
and Mount Martin and was at the same 
time convenient of access from all direc- 
tions. 

Although this position proved unten- 
able, as was afterwards demonstrated by 
a series of disastrous experiences, it per- 
mitted us to secure some photographs 
which could not otherwise have been 
obtained; for pictorial conditions in the 



Valley are so dependent on fleeting 
light effects that one cannot hope to 
obtain the pictures he wants except by 
camping on the spot and rushing out 
with his camera when the light is right. 
So far as conveniences for the camper 
were concerned, this location was all 
that could be desired. The big fuma- 
roles in front furnished all degrees of 
heat for cooking, while the snowdrift 
directly behind the tents supplied an 
abundance of good water and served as 
refrigerator. 

ACID FROM THE COOKSTOVE 
EATS THE POTS 

The new location called for new 
methods of cooking. We soon found 
that it was impossible to hang a pot 
down into the fumarole, as we had done 
before. The steam from this group of 
vents was highly charged with acid 
(either hydrochloric or hydrofluoric), 
which in the course of a few moments 
attacked the rope to such an extent that 
it fell to pieces when we tried to pull 
out the pot. More embarrassing still 
was its effect on the pots themselves, for 
it was not long before they developed 
leaks where the fumes had eaten away 
the aluminum. 

Instead of hanging the pots in a fuma- 
role, therefore, we dug holes in the hot 
ground and banked up the steaming 
earth around them. The different holes 
stood at different temperatures, so that 
we were able to vary our procedure 
according to the results desired. If, on 
leaving in the morning, we wished to 
provide supper against our return, or if 
we wished simply to keep a pot warm, 
we would select a "slow** hole. But if 
we were in a hurry for something, we put 
it into a hot hole, where it would boil 
away vigorously. 

The hottest places would burn up the 
food if we left it too long, just as a fire 
does. But a pot could be left indefinitely 
in the slow holes without coming to 
any harm. Once, when driven out by a 
storm, we found the oatmeal that had 
been put on for breakfast in prime con- 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
THE CAVERNOUS MOUTH OF ONE OF THE FUMAROLES 
A long passage full of superheated steam could be followed with the eye for sixty or a hundred feet 

into the depths. 

IX 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
A RED-BURNED FISSURE ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE VALLEY, LOOKING TOWARD THE 

GLACIERS OF MAGEIK 



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THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



225 



dition on our return two days later. The 
wind had entirely buried the pot in drift- 
ing pumice, so that it had to be dug out 
with a spade; but it was none the worse 
for having simmered away ten times as 
long as intended. 

CORN PONE A LA FUMAROLE 

With no fumaroles hotter than ordi- 
nary steam at hand we had been com- 
pelled in 191 7 to limit our menu to boiled 
dishes. But the range of temperature 
at Baked Mountain was great enough to 
permit any sort of cookery we might 
desire. 

The situation of the "cookstove" 
which made such varied temperatures 
readily available in a small compass was 
characteristic of many areas. It was 
located on the roof of one of the great 
bridged-over fissures that encircle the 
margin of the Valley. The cavern be- 
low was full of superheated steam under 
pressure (see plate ix, facing page 224). 

Every little crevice in the arching 
bridge was the path for a small seepage 
of steam, the temperature of which, as it 
emerged, depended on the volume. The 
slow cookers were dug in places with 
little seepage; the hot spots had close 
connection with the steam below. We 
could not tell in advance, however, how 
effective any hole would prove as a 
cooker, for there was little visible emana- 
tion from any of those we used. 

In the hottest of our ''stove holes" 
the temperature was high enough to fry 
bacon or bake bread with ease. For 
some reason the tastes of the party cen- 
tered on johnny cake rather than on 
white bread or biscuits, although the 
latter were occasionally made with 
equal success. The procedure was to 
put the pan of batter in a covered 
aluminum cooking pot which was then 
simply set on the ground in the proper 
place. 

Baking over the f umarole required the 
same sort of watchful care that it does 
anywhere else. It would not do to go off 
and forget the bread, as we did the oat- 
meal, for if it was left longer than the 

z6 



allotted hour it was burned up, as it 
would have been in any other oven. 
When taken off at just the right time, 
however, it came out with beautiful crispy 
brown crust, as fine corn bread as was 
ever seen (see plate vi, facing page 193). 

FRYING BACON IN SUPER-HEATED STEAM 

For frying bacon we found it most con- 
venient to repair to **Fumarole No. 5," 
at a little distance from the camp. Here 
a column of very hot steam emerged 
under pressure from a round hole about 
a foot and a half in diameter in such a 
way that it could be readily approached. 
The gas at this place was so hot and 
came out with such a rush that if we 
tried to pour a cup of water into the hole 
it never reached the ground, but was 
caught up by the outrushing steam and 
carried away before our eyes, vaporizing 
within a few inches. When we threw 
our hats into it, they would go sailing 
away 30 feet into the air before coming 
down. 

The frying pan had to be held down 
against the steam, for even the weight 
of the pan and the five-foot stick we em- 
ployed as a handle was not sufficient to 
balance the pressure of the f umarole. It 
would keep wobbling around, up and 
down, in and out of the rushing steam 
unless firmly held. Needless to say, the 
bacon began to sizzle promptly and was 
soon as well crisped as when cooked over 
the best of camp fires. 

While experimenting to find the best 
place to hold the pan, we tried pushing 
it down into the cavern below the orifice, 
but immediately it was caught by the 
back draft and — piff! the bacon was 
whisked out of the pan, flying through 
the air in every direction, to be eagerly 
caught and devoured by the spectators, 
who howled with delight at this sudden 
turn of events. Discovered accidentally, 
this trick was repeated again and again 
till we tired of chasing the flying slices. 

With such facilities at our command 
and a full stock of dehydrated fruits and 
vegetables, there was little in the way of 
**grub" that could not be concocted at 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Grigss 
THE ''defenses" OF BAKED MOUNTAIN CAMP 

Profiting by several sorry experiences, Yori finally shored up the tents so thoroughly as to bid de- 
fiance to the winds but it was no use. The condition of the camp when the next storm cleared away 
is shown on the opposite page. 



Baked Mountain. The staples were 
oatn-eal, rice, beans, combread, dehy- 
drated potatoes with abundant butter, 
cheese, and pilot bread. These were 
varied with an occasional mess of corn- 
beef hash, or of trout when someone 
brought them up from the lake. 

For green vegetables there were string 
beans, spinach, and ** boiled dinner vege- 
tables," the latter soon becoming a joke 
because of the superabundance of carrot, 
of which everyone quickly tired. Our 
fruits included apples, raisins, peaches, 
pears, apricots, loganberries, cranberries, 
and cherries, the last being such a uni- 
versal favorite that they were soon used 
up. Soluble coffee was varied with co- 
coa and an occasional cup of tea. One 
hot day we even indulged in iced tea, 
but for the most part we preferred hot 
dishes. 

THE ''WILLIWAWS" 

All went well at Baked Mountain 
Camp as long as the weather remained 



good, but when the storms struck we 
encountered a fury that no tent could 
withstand. The conformation of the 
mountains is such that Katmai Pass is 
a double-ended funnel, through which 
the wind sucks with terrific violence 
whichever way it blows (see map, p>age 
68). 

Curiously enough it is not on the 
windward, but on the lee side of the Pass 
where the heavy ''williwaws" or '*wool- 
ies," as the boys called them, are ex- 
perienced. The winds we had learned 
to dread on the Pacific slope were the 
westerly gales, but on the Valley side it 
is the northeasters that make the trouble. 

We were blown out four times before 
we finally learned our lesson and moved 
to a safer, if less convenient, location. 
Fortunately, these storms came in a 
series of increasing violence, so that each 
time we were better prepared for trouble 
than before. Otherwise, they would have 
been even more disastrous than they 
were. 



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THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



227 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



THE WRECK OF BAKED MOUNTAIN CAMP 



We could never have believed that the boasted strength of our camp would be so completely 
demolished. Nearly a thousand feet of cordage had been used in lashing the poles together to resist 
the weather. The wreck was so heavily drifted over by flying pumice that it took the combined 
strength of two of us to peel back the fallen roof and get at the duffel on the floor. 



As we came across the Valley on our 
way back from the ascent of Mount 
Martin (described in Chapter xiv), the 
northeast wind freshened in a way which 
I knew meant that the '*woolies*' were 
to visit us that night. We were too 
tired from the climb to care much, how- 
ever, for we believed we could sleep 
through anything. And the tents had 
been so shored up as a result of pre- 
vious experiences that, like the skipper of 
the Hesperus, we believed they "could 
weather the roughest gale that ever wind 
did blow." 

The frame of the grub tent had been 
strengthened by a multiplicity of poles 
and braces sunk deep in the ground un- 
til it formed a veritable cage, inside of 
which we had patched together parts 
of four tents. Fully a thousand feet of 
cord had been used in lashing the struc- 
ture together. 

All the guys were anchored to bowl- 
ders as big as a man could roll, deeply 
buried in the ground. On every side 



except the front there were at least two 
thicknesses of cloth to protect us from 
flying pumice. A heavy duck tarpaulin 
had been thrown over the second tent 
and buried in the ground on the wind- 
ward side, to reduce its resistance and 
prevent the wind from getting in under 
the eaves. 

THE FINAL WRECK OF BAKED 
MOUNTAIN CAMP 

After the first few warning blasts I 
called to Yori, questioning whether we 
had not best take additional measures 
to protect the camp, but he let out a 
whoop of defiance, '*0h, let it blow; we 
can stand it." 

I was too tired to get up and go out 
looking for trouble, so I lay down again 
to get the rest I so much wanted. If I 
had gone out then I could have saved the 
apparatus tent, which was afterwards 
sorely needed. But weariness is a great 
foe to will power, and I missed my 
chance. 



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228 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph from E. G. Zies 
DR. ZIES LEAVING THE WRECK OF BAKED 
MOUNTAIN CAMP 

The expression of grim determination caught 
by the camera was not accidental. It was due 
to the experiences recently passed through. 

By the time it was fairly dark the 
storm had increased to considerable 
proportions. It came in great inter- 
mittent gusts, with intervals of quiet 
between. We could hear them coming 
over the mountains long before they 
reached us, their terrible roar as they 
tore their way down through the Pass 
for a while more frightful than the blow 
when it struck. Quaking with dread, 
we lay huddled together beneath the 
tent awaiting the crash. 

APPARATUS AND SLEEPING TENTS 
GO DOWN 

The apparatus tent went first, torn 
to shreds and exposing all the chemists' 
instruments, as well as cameras and 
other valuable equipment, to the soaking 
rain and driving pumice which flew be- 
fore the wind in sheets. By ten o'clock 
the poles of our tent snapped, the broken 
ends tearing great rents in the fabric as 



the>' went down. Fortunately they 
went one at a time, gi\'ing us a chance 
to move our beds and duffel into the 
grub tent, which now alone remained 
standing. 

After the last blanket in-as removed 
we managed to lay hold of the flapping 
wreck and weight it douTi with rocks, 
to prevent its being torn to pieces. It 
was all we could do to accomplish that, 
for by this time the fur>' of the u-ind 
was such that one could hardly manage 
even so small a thing as a prostrate tent, 
and the hail of flying pumice was im- 
possible to face even with goggles for 
protection. We were well repaid for our 
efforts, however, for the saving of that 
torn tent was all that made a resump- 
tion of work possible after the storm. 

EXTRA TARP TEARS AWAY 

Crawling into the remaining tent, 
I stretched out in my sleeping bag to 
get a little rest, if I could. But it was 
not for long that such relaxation was 
permitted. It soon became a question 
whether even so strongly built a tent 
as ours could withstand the pressure. 

Before long the spare tent, with which 
the lee side had been reinforced, gave 
way and, still holding to the frame by 
the corners, went flopping around in the 
wind to increase the general confusion. 
Two days later, when we returned, we 
found it, a new tent that had never been 
set up, torn clean in two! 

No sort of rest was longer possible. 
So I got up, packed my bed with a little 
clothing inside my packsack to keep it 
dry, and put on all my extra sweaters 
and coats to keep warm, for the driving 
rain was intensely cold. Some of the 
others who continued to use their bed- 
ding as robes were less fortunate, for it 
was extremely difficult to gather things 
together and to keep them dry in the 
final break-up. 

About one o'clock the extra tarp 
lashed to the windward side tore away, 
leaving only one thin sheet between 
us and the gale. It seemed impossible 
that any light cotton fabric could en- 



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THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



229 



dure the strain. It soon broke all our 
boasted guying and then was held only 
by the frame. 

The pumice came beating against it 
with the noise of a hailstorm on a tin 
roof; but these stones were sharp at 
every corner, not round and smooth 
like hail. The impact was so heavy 
that our flesh would not tolerate the 
pain if, trying to keep the tent in place, 
we pressed our bare hands or arms against 
the wall. Why the flying pumice did 
not instantly cut the tent to shreds was 
more than we could understand. But 
it held for half an hour or more, and then 
gave way all at once with the crack of 
a cannon, as a great rent opened from 
roof to floor. 

HUDDLED TOGETHER IN THE LAST 
CORNER OF THE TENT 

The hail of pumice that greeted us as 
we crawled out to see if anything could 
be done cannot be imagined. It could 
not be endured on face or hands for an 
instant. It hurt clear through our 
clothing. It drove in around our ''dust 
proof" goggles, a constant menace to our 
eyes. Many of the pieces were as large 
as hickory nuts and all were armed with 
sharp corners that made them terrible 
missiles. 

Once the tent ripped, the wet pumice 
began to collect all over us, down our 
necks, in our pockets, in our ears, in our 
noses, in our mouths — everything was* 
permeated with it. Soon it was four 
inches deep on the floor, though more 
blew out through the other side of the 
tent than lodged within. 

The five of us — Allen, Zies, Fenner, 
Yori, and I — huddled together against 
the windward corner that gave the last 
little shelter remaining. It was sug- 
gested that we crawl into a gully; but 
we remembered that such places were 
collecting grounds for the pumice which 
would hail down on us in greater quan- 
tities than ever. So we agreed to stick 
it out as long as possible, praying fer- 
vently for the dawn. 

The nearest relief was at Ukak, ten 



Photograph by E. G. Zies 
CHARLIE YORI 
Leaving the wreck of Baked Mountain Camp. 

miles down the Valley. The violence 
of the wind left us little control over our 
bodily movements, and we dared not 
attempt to flee down through that maze 
of fumaroles in the darkness of the night. 
How we watched the diminishing 
shreds of our tent, and counted time 
against the wasting fabric! Could it 
shelter us until it was light enough to 
leave? Time and again the wind would 
pick us up as we braced our backs uni- 
tedly against the wall and roll us into a 
pile in the middle of the floor. I sat 
on a flat valise weighing 50 pounds, 
on which I had placed for protection a 
big rock weighing as much more, yet the 
wind repeatedly picked up the whole 
bundle — man, suitcase, rock, and all — 
and rolled us into the middle of the tent. 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Fobom 
SORTING OUT THE WRECKAGE AFTER THE STORM AT BAKED MOUNTAIN 

We looked and felt very much like rag-pickers on the dumps, but among the wreckage were many of 

our most cherished possessions. 



Yori, with characteristic self-sacri- 
fice, chose the most exposed end of the 
line. He drew a tarpaulin over his head 
and shoulders in a vain effort to miti- 
gate the blast. Soon it was the only 
protection he had, and for some time 
he sat practically outside while the wet 
pumice was driven down his neck. He 
must have been bitterly cold, but never 
a complaint escaped him. 

THE WIND PICKS ME CLEAR OFF THE 
GROUND 

Finally, at four o'clock, the gray 
shapes of the fumaroles began to be 
distinguishable in the general blackness. 
I crawled outside and decided it was 
little worse than within, for there one 
could at least move around. So, though 
all were fearful of being driven bodily 
into a fumarole, it was agreed that the 
time had come when we must try it 
down the Valley. 

Zies had a little flashlight which made 
it possible to gather up the things we 



most needed. But before they were 
collected Allen came out and was almost 
literally carried off before the wind. 

Feeling that it was of the utmost im- 
portance for safety's sake that we keep 
together, I made frantic efforts to de- 
tain him, but he was gone like a ghost in 
the night, beyond recall, out of earshot 
almost at once. Then I tried to hurry 
the others. Zies and Fenner were ready 
and started ahead but Charlie was busy 
trying to save some extra conveniences 
for the geophysicists, and I turned back 
to urge him to come along. 

To face the gale was impossible; so 
I started backing toward the tent, brac- 
ing with all my might against the wind. 
Suddenly I found myself flying through 
the air — I felt I was being carried off 
down the Valley, God knew where. 
My whole life flashed before me! The 
gratitude I experienced when my face 
landed in the mud only two gullies 
away was inexpressible. My feet kept 
on and nearly turned me another somer- 



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THE TEN THOUSAND SMOKES IN 1919 



231 



sault, but I was safe on the ground 
again! 



FLIGHT TO UKAK 



After that I decided it was useless to 
try to go back» so I started on in an 
attempt to catch Allen and slow him 
down. Down the hill I sped, carried 
to windward with little chance of choos- 
ing my course. In the distance I spied 
the gray smoke of one of the big fu- 
maroles, dead ahead. I knew that I 
must avoid the yawning chasm by which 
it issued, if I were to live. 

By desperate scratching I managed 
to deflect my course a little, but slid 
by so close that had there come just then 
another gust such as had picked me up 
I could not have avoided it. It was 
some time before I could find Fenner 
and Zies, who were waiting for Charlie 
and me in a deep gully. They had seen 
Allen go sailing by. We soon caught 
him and proceeded down the Valley in 
somewhat more orderly, if none the less 
precipitate, fashion. 

The wind came obliquely over Baked 
Mountain, making it extremely diflicult 
for us to avoid being carried out into the 
middle of the Valley; whereas our safety 
depended on keeping to the east side, 
in order to make the ford of Knife Creek 
above the point where it plunges into an 
impassable canyon. For if we missed 
the ford our flight would have ended in 
a cul-de-sac among the canyons, from 
which there would have been no escape. 

Our legs fairly ran away with us. 
Despite the accumulated weariness of the 
day before and the strain of the night, 
we made the trip to Ukak in record 
time, covering the distance — nearly 
ten miles — in less than an hour and a 
half. Everyone jumped up to let us 
crawl into the warm sleeping bags. 



and we were soon sound asleep. The 
gale continued all that day, but in the 
night it calmed down enough to permit 
us to visit the ruins on the following 
day. 

The site of our former happy camp 
presented a scene of complete deso- 
lation. Everything was covered with 
pumice blown into the fallen heaps of 
wreckage until no more could stick on. 
Where we had rolled a big stone over 
the sleeping tent to hold it down the 
pumice had drifted a foot deep. It lay 
so heavy on the tent that it took the 
united strength of Yori and myself to 
roll back the fallen roof, to expose the 
things that lay on the floor. 

The friction-top tin cans in which we 
stored most of our supplies were scat- 
tered all over that section of the Valley. 
Fortunately for us the gullies had inter- 
cepted most of them and their lids had 
stuck tight. When we came to take 
account of stock, we found the real 
damage less than seemed possible. The 
single cot which had served primarily 
as a bench for keeping the photographic 
materials off the ground was removed 
from the fallen tent by ripping a hole 
through the wall, and the scattered 
effects gathered together and stowed on 
it in a secure cache. 

Meanwhile we found that another 
party, camped at the old place under 
Cerberus, had experienced no difficulty 
with the gale. None of us who had 
been through that experience would 
have cared to try camping at Baked 
Mountain again. But here was another 
chance. Enough remained in the wreck- 
age to permit a resumption of work on a 
restricted scale. No one was slow to 
grasp the opportunity, for the season 
was far advanced and we knew it was 
now or never. 



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XVIII 

A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY OF 
TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



If one will turn upside down the map 
reproduced on page 68 he will note that 
the Valley occupied by the Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes has the form of a gigan- 
tic heavy-faced Y, stretching from the 
mountain axis of the Alaska Peninsula 
toward Naknek Lake. The height of 
the Y, perpendicular to the trend of the 
main range of volcanoes, is 13 miles 
(20.9 km.). Its width across the top is 
9 miles (14.95 km.). The width of the 
stem and of the right arm of the Y is 
about 2 miles; the left arm is approxi- 
mately half as wide. 

Each of the three extremities of the 

Y is expanded into a heavy ceriph, 
transforming the simple crotched Y, 
such as might be described in the basin 
of any forked stream, into a heavy 
Roman Y of very different form. 

The expansion at the bottom of the 

Y is due to the fact that the Valley di- 
vides at the base into two broad arms 
which reach Naknek Lake independently 
some ten miles apart. If, therefore, the 
volcanic activity had continued beyond 
the present terminus, the Smokes would 
have assumed the form of an X still 
more gigantic. 

So broad and open, indeed, is each of 
these lower valleys that travelers who 
formerly traversed the Valley in crossing 
Katmai Pass used to go sometimes by 
one, sometimes by the other arm, de- 
pending on weather conditions. 

It is at the constricted area between 
the two upper ceriphs of the Y that the 
climax of activity occurs, for here are 
located Novarupta and Falling Moun- 
tain, as well as the most bewildering 
mazes of smokes to be found in the 
whole Valley. 

The area enclosed between the two 
arms of the Y is occupied by a highland 
of which Baked Mountain and Broken 



Mountain are the principal summits. 
This is bisected by a small valley, which 
extends up from the stem of the Y. 
Like the main Valley, this area is active. 
Its mouth is the seat of some of the 
most vigorous vents in the region, and 
smaller fumaroles occur farther up (see 
page 294). 

The main entrance to the Valley is 
through a narrow branch which extends 
from Katmai Pass down between Cer- 
berus and Falling Mountain. There 
is abundant evidence that this Valley 
also at one time gave vent to numerous 
fumaroles, though it is no longer active. 

Near the summit of the Pass another 
branch runs out between Cerberus and 
Mageik, in which a considerable number 
of small fumaroles were still active in 
1917 and 1918. The nearest of these 
were the first little smokes that lured us 
on to the Pass on that memorable 31st 
of July, when we discovered the Valley 
(see page 190). 

VALLEY UNDERLAIN BY SEDIMENTARY, 
NOT BY VOLCANIC ROCKS 

It is interesting and important to note 
that the rocks of the Valley are not 
volcanic, nor even igneous, but ordin- 
ary fossiliferous sandstones and shales. 
Where the lavas of the old volcanoes, 
Mageik, Trident, and Knife Peak have 
been poured out, the rock is, of course, 
igneous. But elsewhere the walls and 
floor of the Valley consist of sedimen- 
tary rocks lying in nearly horizontal, 
evenly bedded strata, almost as they 
were laid down on the bottom of the 
Jurassic sea which once occupied the 
region. 

To attempt a catalogue of the vents 
or any description of the individual fu- 
maroles would be futile. They vary all 
the way from microscopic jets of steam 



233 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



235 



Up to mighty columns that overtop the 
mountains. To explore the Valley 
thoroughly and become acquainted with 
the character of the various vents would 
require much more time than has ever 
been spent within its confines. 

There are several square miles within 
the active area which no one as yet has 
so much as entered, much less examined 
carefully. The north arm of the Valley, 
under Knife Peak, which was supposed 
from the cursory inspection of 191 7 to 
be of only subordinate interest, was 
found, for example, to be extremely ac- 
tive, containing the most remarkable 
craters of the whole Valley. 

There can be little doubt, moreover, 
that a more thorouj^h examination of 
areas whose general features have be- 
come familiar will yield further results 
of importance. We were continually 
finding new and interesting fumaroles 
in places which we thought we had ex- 
plored carefully. The extremely high 
temperature previously mentioned was 
discovered close to the trail, where we 
had all passed scores of times without 
noting anything unusual. 

THE FISSURE FUMAROLES 

By far the greater number of the fu- 
maroles find vent through the fissures of 
the Valley. These readily fall into 
two classes: bands of marginal fissures, 
several together, running around the 
edge of the Valley in parallel lines; and 
single central fissures which criss-cross 
the floor in all directions. 

While the marginal fissures are often 
evident for a distance of half a mile or 
more, the central fissures are usually 
marked only by the lines of incrustations 
or of small fumaroles stretched along 
their courses. The fissures in the center 
of the Valley are mostly closed, but 
one may frequently peer far down into 
those along the margin. They are 
great clefts in the tuff which forms the 
floor of the Valley. These narrow 
chasms are sometimes 10 feet wide at 
the surface, and extend to bottomless 
depths, like the crevasses of a glacier. 



For the most of their courses, however, 
the fissures do not gape open, but are 
closed over by curious bridges of strat- 
ified ash which have been stretched 
across in some manner. These arched 
spans usually sag a little, revealing both 
the width and direction of the tunnel 
beneath. But they are remarkably 
strong, considering how much they re- 
semble the proverbial rope of sand, and 
even when only a few inches in thickness 
will support the weight of a large party. 

We soon learned to cross and recross 
such places indifferently, notwithstand- 
ing the proximity of superheated steam 
in the cavern beneath. It was indeed 
the steam below that made the bridge 
safe, for its incrustations partially ce- 
mented the grains of ash together. After 
a soaking rain, however, they sometimes 
broke down. 

One such cave-in occurred on the 
bridge which we used continually in 
going down to our cookstove. When 
we came out the morning after a heavy 
storm we found our path broken by a 
yawning chasm 20 feet long and half as 
wide, from which issued a new and im- 
pressive fumarole. 

Most of the great fumaroles that 
fringe the edge of the Valley emerge 
from just such openings. Since the 
whole fissure for a long distance is full 
of steam under pressure, it is evident 
that any hole that is broken through 
will become the seat of a new fumarole. 
Variation in the number and appearance 
of these fumaroles does not imply, 
therefore, any change more fundamental 
than the mere opening of new orifices 
at the surface. 

From some of the less active of these 
fissures the vapor lazily rises in diffuse 
clouds. From others it comes pouring 
forth in great rolling, expanding columns, 
reaching many hundred feet aloft or 
drifting off before the wind for a mile 
or more. 

In other places, where a narrow crevice 
is the only opening from a large cavern, 
the steam may come out under pressure, 
emitting a low hissing or roaring sound. 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



237 



If one tosses pebbles into such vents, 
they are buoyed up by the rising steam 
and are either immediately spewed out, 
or sink slowly down, like feathers settling 
to earth. It was at such a vent that we 
fried our bacon, as described in Chapter 

XVIL 

DOMED FUMAROLES 

Some of the largest and most con- 
spicuous of the fumaroles come, not 
from fissures, but from isolated eleva- 
tions in the flat Valley, which may per- 
haps be best described as low domes. 
These appear to have been upheaved 
after the general level of the Valley floor 
had been fixed. They are confined to 
the lower half of the Valley, and are 
especially well developed at the junction 
of the two arms of the Y. 

The height of these domes is perhaps 
50 feet and their diameter several hun- 
dred yards, but the slopes are so gentle 
that no definite boundary line can be 
drawn around them. The principal fu- 
marole comes from a hole in the summit, 
whence cracks radiate in difi^erent direc- 
tions. Surrounding the main vent are 
numerous satellites of lower temperature, 
which are interpreted as radial leaks 
from the central conduit. 

The domes give ofi^ tremendous quan- 
tities of steam, making some of them 
the most conspicuous objects in the 
Valley. Sometimes the gigantic column 
of "No. 32,*' the biggest of all, rises ver- 
tically high in air, when all its lesser 
neighbors are held by the breeze close 
to earth. 

CRATERS 

The fissure fumaroles give no evidence 
of ever having been the seat of any sort 
of activity other than the present quiet 
evolution of vapor, but there is another 
class of craters which, though now steam- 
ing quietly or extinct, were evidently at 
one time explosive. 

These vents have blown great funnel- 
form pits in the floor of the Valley 
(see page 292). Around the edge the 
ground is commonly raised several feet 



above the general level by debris thrown 
out of the hole. The ejected material, 
for the most part, consists of small frag- 
ments, but occasionally includes lava 
blocks up to three feet in diameter. 

Some of these craters stand apart 
without evident relation to other vents, 
but by far the larger numbers occur in 
two regions: there are a score or more 
of them, mostly extinct, near the out- 
side edge of the west arm of the Y under 
Buttress Mountain ; in the north arm of 
the Valley, under Knife Peak, they are 
easily the dominant feature. 

In these tracts they often stand close 
together with intersecting edges, forming 
compound craters. In a number of in- 
stances they are so numerous and thick- 
set as to have coalesced into veritable 
nests of craters. 

Two such nests in the north arm, now 
extinct and filled with smooth floors of 
inwashed pumice, are perhaps half a mile 
long and half as wide. Throughout each 
of these areas the floor of the Valley 
was blown out completely, giving some- 
what the impression of a single, gigantic 
explosion crater. But the crenate mar- 
gin, made up of the arcs of the individual 
craters, testifies to its composite char- 
acter. 

In other cases the craters stretch out 
in long lines, their position evidently 
determined by the presence of a deep- 
seated fissure in the Valley floor. In a 
few instances where explosive action 
has built up mounds around points of 
special activity, the chain of miniature 
volcanoes stretching along the fissure 
furnishes a diagrammatic model of the 
conditions believed to underlie the great 
lines of volcanoes that girdle the earth 
(see page 292). 

STEAMING MUD AREAS 

In most of the fumaroles the vapors 
find exit through some evident break in 
the surface of the Valley floor; yet there 
is a large number where the escaping 
gases have no manifest outlet, but seep 
through the surface in innumerable 
minute hissing jets. The diff^use activ- 



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238 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Grins 
THE TOP OF THE LAVA PLUG OF NOVARUPTA 

Where the rock is in place in the center of the picture, the parallel concentric banded structure is 

evident. 



ity of these steaming mud areas often 
covers an acre or more. 

Throughout the area covered by the 
"mud hissers** the ground is everywhere 
full of steam, sometimes under pressure, 
ready to escape through any new orifice 
which may be broken through the sur- 
face. The surface itself is generally 
covered with a crust of some strength, 
stained a rusty brown by iron oxide. 

But beneath, the vapors (which are 
never of a high temperature) commonly 
keep the ground in the condition of soft 
wet mud, having the appearance and 
consistency of steaming hot asphalt, as 
one sees it applied to a street in process 
of being paved. The illusion is height- 
ened by the curious "organic" odors 
that are often liberated when the mud is 
stirred up, but the chemists tell us that 
the blackness is here due to iron sulphide. 

STEAM RISING THROUGH UNDISTURBED 
SANDSTONE STRATA 

One of the most conspicuous features 
of the Valley is the strictness with which 



the activity is confined to the Valley floor. 
All the big fumaroles come forth below 
the "high water mark*' which is the 
boundary of the Valley, as described in 
the next chapter. 

Careful examination showed, however, 
that there were some exceptions to this 
general rule of distribution. Steam was 
seen coming from a number of places on 
the slopes of the mountains which rise 
above the Valley basin. 

Upon examination of a number of these 
high-level fumaroles, it was found that 
the steam rose directly through the 
sandstone strata of which the mountains 
are composed. In some cases the sur- 
face was covered with a mantle of frag- 
ments which obscured the relations 
somewhat, but in others it could be seen 
with the utmost clearness that the 
steam came directly out of crevices in 
the undisturbed sandstone strata. 

By far the greatest number of the 
fumaroles coming from the sandstone oc- 
curred on Baked and Broken Mountains, 
though they were not confined to this 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



239 



locality, similar small steamers being 
found across the Valley at the base of 
Buttress Mountain. At the foot of the 
Valley, also, in the vicinity of ** Three 
Forks" (the junction of Knile Creek, 
Lethe, and Windy Creek), we found 
places in the underlying sandstone which, 
though no longer active, had evidently 
once been the seat of fumaroles. 

To a thoughtful observer these fuma- 
roles, despite their diminutive size, are 
extremely interesting, for it is hardly 
necessary to state that they could not 
originate in the sandstone rocks from 
which they emerge. Neither could such 
activity be due to the gradual cooling 
down of a great mass of material thrown 
out by the recent eruption, as, conceiv- 
ably, might some of the fumaroles of the 
Valley floor, which undeniably rise 
through a great mass of ejecta from the 
eruption. The only possible source of 
these fumaroles is a mass of magma in- 
truded beneath the sandstone. 

HOT SPRINGS 

Hot springs, mud pots, geysers, and 
the like are such familiar phenomena 
in most regions where volcanic activities 
are spread out over wide areas that we 
naturally looked for them in the Valley 
of Ten Thousand Smokes. 

As for hot springs, nothing of the sort 
was found in 191 7. The minimum tem- 
perature observed was the boiling point, 
so that all water appeared as vapor. 

In 191 8 Say re and Hagelbarger found 
a bathing pool at Three Forks, provided 
"with hot and cold water, as a white 
man *s bathtub should be. " A considerable 
stream of water (95° C.) poured into the 
cold creek in such fashion that one could 
obtain any temperature desired simply by 
moving from one side of the pool to the 
other. The next year there were a num- 
ber of such hot springs in the lower end 
of the Valley, in areas known to have 
had only fumaroles in 1917. 

Among the most interesting of them 
were numerous hot spots which we dis- 
covered in 1919 in the bed of Ukak River, 
while fording at the foot of the Valley 



across ground formerly occupied by the 
sand flow which came down during the 
eruption (see Chapter xix). 

So much hot water was poured into 
the river at this point that, although it is 
a considerable stream of swift water, it 
was distinctly warm to the touch across 
a good share of the channel. 

In this connection it is worth noting 
that, according to trappers, Iliuk arm 
of Naknek Lake did not freeze over 
until January 20, in the winter of 191 8- 
19 19, a circumstance which suggests 
that the total amount of heat delivered 
by the inflowing streams may be very 
large. 

The chemists brought back some sam- 
ples of the water of these recently formed 
hot springs, but it has not yet been de- 
termined whether they represent merely 
the heating of surface waters by contact 
with the hot ground or are of deep-seated 
origin, like some long-established hot 
springs. 

MUD POTS 

True mud pots of long-continued 
activity, which are so characteristic of 
the Yellowstone and similar places, have 
not been found in the Valley. But 
occasionally a sort of ephemeral mud 
volcano develops, which for the time 
furnishes a counterpart. 

After one of the heavy rains common 
in the summer months, streams of water 
run freely over the hot surface of the 
Valley. Naturally such water often 
finds its way into the basins of some of 
the little fumaroles, which, choked off^ 
from their usual method of escape, boil 
and bubble up through the water, quick- 
ly stirring up a thick soupy mud which 
sputters and splashes with miniature ex- 
plosions until the rain water is boiled 
away, and the erstwhile mud pot be- 
comes a steamer again. 

Since it is the continuous disturbance 
of the sputtering mud that gives them 
their character, these mud pots make 
but poor **stiir' pictures (see page 284). 
In the motion pictures they are very in- 
teresting objects. 



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240 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



One other type of vent requires men- 
tion. These, from their excrescent ap- 
pearance, are what the boys have called 
** pimples*' (see page 294). They are 
confined to the lower half of the Valley, 
where dust storms are frequent. Their 
formation appears to be due to the 
moisture which condenses around small 
vents so as to catch and hold the blowing 
sand, that is later cemented into place. 
The process is repeated again and again 
until a mound several feet in diameter is 
built up over the vent. 

These little fumaroles are so smothered 
by their covering that they usually ap- 
pear dead, but whenever we dug into 
them we found them hot, proving that 
the apparent lack of activity was due 
largely to the covering of sand which 
clogged the orifice and stopped visible 
exhalations. 

THE NEW VOLCANO, NOVARUPTA 

There is only one place in the Valley 
where the underlying magma from which 
the Smokes take their origin has come 
through to the surface in such a way that 
its connection with the present activity 
can be observed. This is in the throat 
of Novarupta, a new volcano of typical 
form and character which has arisen in 
the floor of the Valley between Broken 
Mountain and Trident. 
• Here, surrounded by a crater ring 0.8 
mile (1.25 km.) in diameter, evidently 
formed by ejected materials, is a "dome" 
of lava 800 feet in diameter and 200 feet 
high that was pushed up through the 
throat of the volcano in a stiff, viscous 
condition (see pages 280 and 300). 

The lava of the plug is a rhyolite whose 
predominant color is a light gray. Su- 
perficially it appears to be solid massive 
rock, but on close examination it is seen 
to be all blown full of minute bubbles 
which, under a lens, give it a very loose 
spongy texture. 

In the process of cooling, this viscous 
lava naturally developed strains which 
shattered the upper portion into a con- 
fusion of broken blocks, heaped topsy- 
turvy over the surface, concealing for 



the most part the bedrock and giving 
the lava plug the appearance of a huge 
stone pile (see page 238). 

These great bowlders, standing in the 
most precarious attitudes of unstable 
equilibrium, would make the top of the 
lava plug one of the most dangerous 
places in the whole region, even if there 
were no stifling vapors to interfere wit6 
one's movements. 

Many times, as Fenner and I walked 
over it on the day we examined it to- 
gether, we found great blocks, weighing 
tons, balanced so nicely that they rocked 
back and forth under our feet. There 
was imminent danger of tumbling them 
down on ourselves. 

Once, a pile of rocks on which I was 
standing suddenly crumbled, and when 
it came to rest again I found myself 
dropped down several feet. But as I 
was on top of the moving bowlders, I 
was in small danger of being caught be- 
neath them. 

In spite of the unstable rocks we man- 
aged to examine nearly the whole of the 
plug, and that without very great diflft- 
culty; but an hour later, as we looked 
down on it from above (see page 280), it 
seemed altogether beyond the bounds 
of possibility for anyone to pick his way 
through the thick clouds that rose every- 
where from among the loose rocks. 

As we looked, we wondered whether 
we had been specially favored by atmos- 
pheric conditions at the time of our as- 
cent, or whether the plug was really 
easier than it looked from a distance. 

Like most of the ejecta of the recent 
eruption, the lava of the dome is not pure 
rhyolite, but contains a considerable ad- 
mixture of basic andesite, like that com- 
posing the old volcanoes, as well as a 
small quantity of fragments of the sur- 
rounding sedimentary rocks. 

These foreign inclusions, which show 
clear evidence of having been partially 
digested by the new magma, are arranged 
in striking dark bands, alternating with 
the lighter rhyolite. Where the rock of 
the dome can be seen in place, it be- 
comes evident that the bands are con- 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
MOSAICS OF ALUM DEPOSITED IN AN AREA OF DIFFUSE ACTIVITY 
When the steam finds no open vent it permeates the whole ground over a considerable area, escaping in 

innumerable minute jets. 

XI 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
THE GAUDY MUDS OF THE VALLEY MAKE GOOD PIGMENTS FOR A PAINTER 
With no other materials, very creditable pictures have been painted. 

XII 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



241 



centric, running tangentially, parallel 
with the circumference of the lava plug, 
thus affording some indication of the 
manner of action of the forces of extru- 
sion (see page 238). 

The blocks of lava were evidently 
broken apart before they had entirely 
solidified ; their surfaces frequently show 
evidence of flowage after breaking up. 
This is especially striking where the 
banded structure is well marked, for 
there it is evident that the rhyolite was 
more fluid than the andesite. 

In many places the bands of rhyolite 
stand out beyond the alternating inclu- 
sions, giving the blocks a fluted appear- 
ance. When this is developed at the 
corner of a block, a striking cornice struc- 
ture results (see page 296). 

The greater fluidity of the rhyolite is 
both surprising and significant, since its 
melting point is undoubtedly higher than 
that of the andesitic inclusions. The 
explanation of the anomaly lies, I be- 
lieve, in the fact that the andesite in the 
dark bands was *'dead" lava in process of 
digestion by the new '*live" magma — a 
matter whose interpretation is discussed 
in some detail in Chapter xxii. 

FALLING MOUNTAIN 

While the attention of the visitor who 
comes into that vicinity for the first time 
is certain to be absorbed by the sight of 
Novarupta, he could not gaze long upon 
its steaming lava plug without inter- 
ruption. 

Within a few minutes he would be 
startled by a crash behind him and, 
turning, would see an avalanche of fall- 
ing stones, which had started high up on 
the face of the mountain side, galloping 
down the precipitous slope toward him. 

Whenever it has been under obser- 
vation, ever since its discovery in 1916, 
this rock face, which we named Falling 
Mountain, has been subject to frequent 
avalanches. The constancy of their oc- 
currence is one of the most impressive 
features of the Valley. 

The falls of rock vary in size all the 
way from single bowlders up to large 

XT 



masses weighing many tons, which let 
go with a crash distinctly audible for 
miles around. During the first two sea- 
sons, a five-minute period never passed 
without a fall of some sort, but in 1919 
the mountain was often quiet for half an 
hour at a time. 

FALLING MOUNTAIN AS A FOG SIGNAL 

The first time we heard it in 1919 was 
memorable. **Biir' Henning and I had 
started for Katmai Pass in a fog, from 
a camp pitched in the valley between 
Baked and Broken mountains. Neither 
had ever been over the ground before, 
and the fog was so thick that we could 
not see 20 yards. 

We took a compass-bearing from the 
camp and started out over '* Greased 
Hill,** which connects Baked and Broken 
mountains. As usually happens in a fog, 
the land took on an unexpected aspect 
before we reached the divide, and we 
soon became uncertain of our direction 
and suspicious of our compass. 

When we started down the far slope, 
we ran into a series of hot steaming fis- 
sures directly athwart our course. In 
reality, they were not very deep but in the 
dense fog we could not see the bottom. 
The slippery, variegated muds reeking 
with steam made progress both difficult 
and uncertain. It seemed that we were 
in danger of sliding straight into '*the 
bottomless pit.'* 

We had traveled thus, working our 
way among the fissures for what seemed 
a long time, when suddenly, out of the 
distance, a great booming rock fall let go 
on the slopes of Falling Mountain, con- 
firming us in our course and setting us 
at ease once more. 

CATACLYSM BEGAN WITH A GREAT SLIDE 
FROM FALLING MOUNTAIN 

Examination shows that Falling Moun- 
tain is a counterpart of Noisy Mountain, 
discovered later (see page 127), and of 
the cliff from which the Mageik Land- 
slide originated (see Chapter xi). It 
is obvious from a glance at the great 
gouged-out face of the mountain that an 



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242 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Grisg* 



TAKING THE TEMPERATURE OF A HOT ONE 

Many of the vents were far beyond the range of the thermometers we carried the first year. 

pare the picture on the opposite page. 



Com- 



enormous mass of rock has fallen away 
recently — a mass quite comparable with 
the Mageik Slide or with the Noisy 
Mountain Slide. 

But, although the broken cliffs give 
the clearest evidence that such a slide 
occurred, one looks about in vain for the 
debris. Nothing but a few rock cones 
are to be seen on the smooth-floored 
Valley. It is as though the whole side 
of the mountain had not only fallen from 
its place, but had been swallowed up in- 
to the bowels of the earth. 

In a sense that is exactly what has 
happened, for we can only conclude that 
the slide debris is so deeply buried under 
the ejecta of the eruption that the form- 
er irregularities of its surface have been 
entirely concealed. In other words, this 
slide must have occurred before the out- 
pouring of the ejecta. It is thus the 
first event in the recent volcanic disturb- 
ance of which we have record. 



As one watches the frequent rockfalls 
which come bounding down the face of 
the mountain, he gains, as perhaps is 
possible in no other way, some realiza- 
tion of the magnitude of the great mass 
of material that fell in the early slides. 
For while the present avalanches often 
involve the fall of an impressive mass of 
rock, the accumulated pile of fragments 
at the foot of the mountain has not 
grown appreciably in the four years 
since its discovery. It is now, as then, 
utterly insignificant in comparison with 
the total volume of the material that 
must have fallen away. 

FUMAROLE ACTION ON FALLING MOUNTAIN 

In addition to its frequent avalanches, 
Falling Mountain possesses another fea- 
ture of considerable interest. Far up 
on its bare rock surfaces are a number of 
small fumaroles, the highest vents in the 
region (except the craters of the old vol- 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



243 



Photograph by R. F. Grigss 



THE SAME VENT FROM A LITTLE DISTANCE 



The steam is so hot that it does not condense until ten feet from the vent. The scale may be judged 
from the little steamer enclosed by the circle which was our cookstove (see page 196). 



canoes) through which the subterranean 
gases reach the surface. 

The petrological studies made by Fen- 
ner show that the gases from these, com- 
paratively small though they are, have 
wrought notable changes in the andesitic 
rock through which they have come, 
apparently reacting with the constituent 
minerals in such a way as to form vola- 
tile compounds, "so that quantities of 
material have actually been removed by 
gaseous transfer." ^ 

Many of the pyroxene crystals have 
been replaced by aggregates of hematite 
scales, while tridymite was abundantly 
formed. As a result of this action, the 
rock has lost much of its cohesive 
strength, which fact may have some 
bearing on the continuance of rock falls. 

BAKED AND BROKEN MOUNTAINS 

One of the most significant indications 
of the character of the subterranean dis- 
turbances at the time of the eruption is 
the present condition of Baked and 



Broken mountains, which occupy the 
central space between the arms of the 
Y-shaped Valley, entirely surrounded 
by active vents. These mountains, 
which rise 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the 
Valley floor, are, like the Valley itself, 
not volcanic, but carved out of horizon- 
tal sandstone strata. 

Their mass is now criss-crossed by wide 
gaping fissures, accompanied by faults 
whose individual displacement is as 
great as 50 feet. These fault scarps 
show the deepest deposits of ash and 
pumice found anywhere in the district. 
In the sections here exposed, 50 feet of 
stratified ash may be seen. 

The scarps do not, however, cut 
through to the original surface, so there 
is no means of telling how much greater 
the total thickness of the ashfall may 
have been (see page 244). 

Where the slopes of these mountains 
are so steep that the ash has slid off^ and 
exposed the rocks beneath, they show 
a curious change wrought by the erup- 



* C. N. Fenner, Journal of Geology, vol. 27, p. 586, 1920. 



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244 



THE VALLEY OF TEX THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



A FAULT SCARP ON BROKEN MOUNTAIN 



The face of the scarp is composed of stratified ash mostly from Novarupta. The sequence of the 
ash strata shows that Novarupta burst forth before the explosion of Katmai, but this faulting occurred 
after the eruption. 



tion, their gray-green sandstone having 
been turned a dull brick-red . The chem- 
ical change that took place is exactly the 
same as that which occurs when clay 
blocks are burned to red brick. But it 
is not certain that heat was the only 
agency at work in the coloration of Baked 
Mountain. Some of these cliffs are so 
extensive and conspicuous that their 
character may be seen from more than a 
mile away. 

FISSURE LAKE 

Near the foot of the glaciers that 
wind down from Mageik occurs the 
largest fissure to be found anywhere in 
the Valley. It is 200 to 400 feet wide, 
with perpendicular walls, one of which 
stands about 35 feet higher than the 
other. The depth could not be ascer- 
tained, because it was filled by a beauti- 
ful lake of clear, green water. 

Standing just at the foot of the glaciers, 
Fissure Lake when first seen was one of 
the most picturesque spots in the whole 



Valley. Along the sides were numerous 
snowdrifts, from which miniature bergs 
broke off and floated away (see page 
212). 

Unfortunately, the proximity to the 
glacier which gave the place its greatest 
beauty will result in its early extinction. 
The lake of necessity receives a large 
amount of glacial debris, and will be 
filled up in the course of a few years. A 
large delta had, indeed, been built out 
into it in 1919, considerably impairing 
its charm. 

WARM WATER FROM SNOWDRIFTS 

Fed by the glaciers and melting snows. 
Fissure Lake would be expected to be 
icy cold, but on the contrary it was de- 
cidedly tepid in spots, where heat was 
evidently received from below. One of 
the most amusing incidents of the whole 
work occurred when Shipley, the chem- 
ist, poking his thermometer into every- 
thing, discovered this fact. 

I was coming along a little behind and 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



245 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

THE RIVER LETHE CROSSING A LINE OF FUMAROLES 

The steam in places actually bubbles up through the cold water. The volcanoes and the surface 
drainage manifestly have no connection with each other. 



he, pretending to need my assistance, 
asked me to tell him the temperature of 
the water coming out from under the 
edge of a snow field. Willing to answer 
even a foolish question, I had the words 
" ice cold " on the tip of my tongue when 
my fingers touched the water. The 
speaking expression froze on my face 
and I carefully dipped my hand in again. 
It was actually warm! How he did 
laugh at my discomfiture! 

DRAINAGE WATER NEARLY ALL VAPOR- 
IZED IN THE HOT VALLEY 

The snow fields which surround the 
Valley send trickling rills down its slopes, 
but these disappear long before the floor 
of its basin is reached. 

Even the streams from the half dozen 
good-sized glaciers which discharge into 
the Valley were able to hold their courses 
clear across the hot area only during 
the warmest months, when the melt is 
greatest, and then in such reduced vol- 



umes that they were often scarcely more 
than muddy trickles at the lower end. 

But in early June, when we first en- 
tered the Valley in 1919, the bed of the 
River Lethe, half way up the Valley, was 
one mass of hissing fumaroles, without a 
sign of the muddy torrent which coursed 
across the hot ground a month later. 

It was very striking, and at first sight 
surprising, to see how little the direction 
of the waters was affected by the fuma- 
roles. As in ordinary streams, their 
courses were controlled by gravity, re- 
gardless of the position of the fumaroles 
which they often approached closely or 
even overran. When this happened the 
waters quickly washed in a thick deposit 
of ash, effectually blanketing the fuma- 
role, whose vapors probably found a 
means of escape through some other 
outlet. 

In some places, however, we found the 
steam still bubbling up through the cold 
water. But the waters of the river 



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246 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



passed the hot spots quickly and were 
only slightly heated by their close con- 
tact with very large hot areas. We 
found that the River Lethe was still 
48** F., although the ash of its banks 
stood above the boiling point. 

On the other hand there is no clear 
evidence that the steam of the fuma- 
roles is sensibly increased by the addi- 
tion of surface water, for, as observed 
on page 219, it does not appear to fluc- 
tuate with the seasonal variations in 
drainage. 

A BEWILDERING COMPLEX OF ODORS 

The mingling of the many substances 
rising through the vents results in an ex- 
tremely curious combination of odors, 
which Dr. Shipley, with the trained nose 
of a chemist, thus describes: 

"As we entered the Valley along a 
deep, dry watercourse, we observed from 
time to time a peculiar, indefinable and 
not unpleasant odor. Passing close to 
the active vents, the odors of hydro- 
chloric acid and hydrogen sulphide 
could be detected easily. From certain 
of the active areas a disagreeable smell, 
unlike any odor that we had ever en- 
countered, arose. It was somewhat sug- 
gestive of a pigsty, a horse stable, and 
sewer gas, yet we could not relate it defi- 
nitely to any previously observed smell. 

''Whatever the gases are, that rise 
from the vents in the floor of this won- 
derful Valley, collectively they offer a 
considerable task to the olfactory organs 
in differentiating the known from the 

' The statements herein are summarized from 
the followmg papers by the chemists: 

Shipley, J. W. Some Chemical Observations 
on the Volcanic Emanations and Incrustations in 
the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, Katmai, Alaska. 
Am. Jour. Sci., vol. 50, pp. 141-153, 1920. 

. The Nitrogen Content of Volcanic 

Ash in the Katmai Eruption of 19 12. Ohio Jour- 
nal of Science, vol. 19, pp. 213-223, 1919. 

. The Water-Soluble Salt Content, the 

Ferrous Iron Content and the Acidity of Katmai 
Volcanic Ash. Ibid., pp. 224-229. 

. Ammonia and Nitrous Nitrogen in 

the Rainwater of Southwestern Alaska. Ibid., 
pp. 230-234. 

Allen, E. T. Chemical Aspects of Volcanism 



unknown. At a distance of 20 miles 
from the Valley, one was certain one 
moment that the gas was sulphur dioxide 
which the wind bore to him, the next 
moment it was hydrogen sulphide, and 
the next both or neither. 

''This same elusive uncertainty clung 
throughout the whole period of our stay 
in the Valley. It was only in the vicin- 
ity of a vent that the individual gases 
could be identified with certainty by the 
sense of smell." 

THE CHEMISTRY OF THE FUMAROLES 

A thorough chemical study of the 
fumaroles would undoubtedly greatly 
assist in the interpretation of the dy- 
namics of the volcanoes. The difficulties 
in the way of such a study are so great, 
however, that as yet only a good begin- 
ning has been made.* 

Steam is the predominant constituent 
in all the gases examined, whatever the 
temperature. In the samples collected 
by Allen and Zies it varied from 98.4 to 
99.99 per cent by volume. The most im- 
portant remaining gases are hydrochloric 
acid, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, 
nitrogen, hydrofluoric acid, and some- 
times marsh gas. Minor constituents 
are oxygen, carbon monoxide, argon, and 
ammonia. 

Although part of the steam is un- 
doubtedly derived from the vaporiza- 
tion of surface drainage, as stated above, 
much of it must be truly volcanic in 
origin* (see also Chapter xvii). 

The ammonia comes up largely in the 

with a Collection of the Analyses of Volcanic 
Gases. Journal, Franklin Institute, vol. 193, 
pp. 29-80, 1922. 

' Allen and Zies have shown that the remaining 
volcanic gases by themselves could not possibly 
be hot enough to vaporize surface water in the 
quantities that issue from the fumaroles. 

There is in this region no relation between the 
temperature of a vent and the composition of its 
gases. Deville's generalization that there is a 
progressive increase in the percentage of steam 
and of carbon dioxide with declining activity and 
falling temperature finds no support here. Nor 
is there any simple system of temperature dis- 
tribution, except, as would naturally be ex- 
pected, that high temperature vents do not 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



^47 



form of the chloride, sal ammoniac, 
which may sometimes be gathered in 
masses as pure and white as when pur- 
chased in a drug store. (One sample 
analyzed was 98 per cent pure.) 

AN UNPARALLELED PERCENTAGE OF 
FLUORINE 

The most surprising chemical discov- 
ery was the abundance of fluorine. The 
hydrofluoric add in the fumes attacked 
the collecting apparatus, etching it until 
it looked as though made of ground glass. 
Even one of the vacuum tubes was at- 
tacked in the same fashion, the relatively 
minute quantity of gas it contained hav- 
ing enough hydrofluoric acid to destroy 
the polished inside surface. 

The majority of the incrustations were 
found on analysis to contain fluorine. 
In one soft deliquescent orange deposit 
Shipley found 7 per cent of it. Such high 
percentages of fluorine have never been 
reported previously. 

Sulphur is, of course, abundant. It 
occurs most frequently in small veins — 
cracks in the mud which have been filled 
up. Rarely such veins reach a thickness 
of six inches. The throats of many fuma- 
roles are lined with the most beautiful 
delicate needle-like outgrowths of sul- 
phur crystals, appropriately named flow- 
ers of sulphur. 

In 191 7 we found one large deposit 
where sulphur crystals could have been 
gathered by the bushel, but by 191 9 it 
had disappeared. Sulphuric acid, which 
is troublesome in many volcanic areas, is 
uncommon in the Valley, but Shipley 
found one fumarole in which it reached a 
high concentration. 

Arsenic was discovered associated with 
sulphur as an incrustation over several 
of the fumarole cracks. The mass con- 
sisted of yellow crystals of orpiment — 
^'King's Yellow" (arsenic trisulphide 
As2Ss) — with some red crystals which 
may have been the other sulphide of 

occur around the edges. In other words the 
Valley does not conform with the central type of 
volcano, where the climax of activity occurs in 
the main crater and its intensity decreases stead- 



arsenic, realgar (AS2S2). These deposits 
analyzed 19 per cent arsenic. 

Corundum^ aluminum oxide (AliOs), 
which in impure form is used as emery, 
was found as small crystals in several of 
the incrustations. 

Potassium alum was perhaps the most 
conspicuous incrustation, forming strik- 
ing lichen-like deposits in all the active 
areas. These lichenoid growths would be- 
come very conspicuous after a few hours 
of good weather, only to disappear when 
the rain began again (see color plate). 

Iron is one of the most abundant ele- 
ments in the Valley, and is largely re- 
sponsible for its beautiful coloring. Well- 
developed crystals of pyrite (FeS2) were 
found in several places. In other situa- 
tions the mud had the lustre of fool's 
gold, presumably imparted by myriads 
of tiny crystals of pyrite. 

Considerable deposits of 'Venetian 
red" (Fe208) were forming in one gully 
examined by Shipley. In another fu- 
marole discovered by Zies a quantity of 
good-sized black crystals of magnetic 
iron ore (Fe804) had been deposited, sub- 
limed by the hot vapors. 

PETROLEUM-LIKE EMANATIONS 

Another remarkable and puzzling as- 
sociation of products was found by both 
Shipley and the geophysicists in the vi- 
cinity of Novarupta. The gases here con- 
tain considerable amounts of marsh gas 
(CH4), amounting in one case to 12 per 
cent of the total gases aside from steam. 

The interest of this finding is that 
marsh gas, which is a principal constitu- 
ent of natural gas, is generally assumed 
to be of organic origin. Its significance 
here is increased by the occurrence of 
other products, discussed by Shipley as 
follows: 

"A most interesting organic deposit 
resembling coal tar in odor and appear- 
ance was observed saturating the ash 
around fumaroles on the western slope of 

ily with the distance from that point. The wide 
distribution of activity here indicates rather the 
close approach of the magma to the surface over 
a large area. 



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248 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by E. G. Zies 

STEAM RISING FROM HOT SPRINGS IN THE LOWER END OF THE VALLEY 

These streams were running cold in 1917 and 1918. At that time the hot springs of 1919 were 
f umaroles, whose steam escaped into the air without warming the surface waters. The terraces in the 
background are the exact counterpart of those often found in large river valleys (see text page 153). 



Novarupta volcano and in the immediate 
neighborhood of the NH4CI [Ammonium 
chloride] fumaroles. 

" One fumarole in this same area was 
emitting nitrous acid. The gases from 
fumaroles in this area possessed a similar 
tarry odor and emitted much H2S [Hy- 
drogen sulphide]. On analysis of the im- 
pregnated ash the deposit proved to be 
of a very complex character. 

" A 20-gram sample was extracted with 
the following solvents successively until 
no further extract from each was ob- 
tained. The solvents in the order used 
were: ether, petroleum ether, carbon di- 
sulphide, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, 
ethyl alcohol and glacial acetic acid. 
Each of the solvents extracted organic 
matter varying in amount from half a 
gram to a centigram, CS2 [Carbon bi- 



sulphide] and (C2H6)20 [Ether] being the 
most effective. Several of the solvents 
extracted considerable quantities of free 
sulphur. 

'*On evaporation, a brownish-black 
resinous mass was left by each solvent. 
None of the extracts belonged to the 
aliphatic series; none contained nitrogen 
and none were unsaturated. 

"Steam distillation carried over the or- 
ganic matter together with the free sul- 
phur, and the first portion of the distillate 
gave an unmistakable odor of naphtha- 
lene. 

"The occurrence of this deposit of 
aromatic hydrocarbons may have some 
significance in the theory of volcanic 
origin for such compounds. The de- 
posit lies close to the most active area of 
the district and is associated with NH4CI 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



249 



and sulphur, while H2S is unusually con- 
centrated in the escaping gases. 

" On the other hand they might equally 
well be attributed to steam distillation 
from the sedimentary rocks with subse- 
quent condensation in the ash on the 
surface. The Jurassic sandstones meet 
the igneous intrusion in the immediate 
neighborhood.'* * 

The origin and relationships of these 
various products are most interesting 
and deserve much further study. It is 
not possible at the present time to sug- 
gest any satisfactory explanation of 
those of the ** organic*' series. 

THE COLORS OF THE DEPOSITS 

The members of the expedition of 1919, 
while agreeing that the published ac- 
counts described the fumaroles accu- 
rately, were unanimous in the opinion 
that the printed accounts had given them 
no idea of the colors of the deposits. 
The previous articles had, to be sure, 
stated that the ground was painted 
**with all the colors of the rainbow" and 
that the *' fissures were baked bright red 
for miles at a stretch,** but somehow it 
was imagined that these must be wild 
exaggerations rather than careful scien- 
tific statements. 

No one was more impressed than Kolb, 
who, having lived for years on the brink 
of the Grand Canyon, was not oversus- 
ceptible to striking colors. Along with 
most people, he had supposed that the 
Canyon represented the climax of na- 
ture's coloring, and had never expected 
to see anything more brilliant. 

The coloring is, however, so altogether 
different in character from that of the 
Canyon that the two cannot properly be 
compared. In the Canyon it is in the dis- 
tance that the color is most remarkable. 
In the Valley it is in the foreground. 

There are no bright and sharply con- 
trasting masses of rock in the walls of 
the Valley. On the contrary, the Valley 
itself, seen under the heavy clouds which 
usually cover it, is apt to convey an idea 
of sombreness. But, when one comes 

* Quoted from Shipley, American Journal 



Up to the fumaroles, he is almost over- 
whelmed by the indescribable riot of 
color. Not so in the Grand Canyon ; its 
rocks are ordinary enough when closely 
approached. I have before me two vials 
— one given me by the keeper of the 
Bright Angel Trail, containing, according 
to his statement, sands of all the colors of 
the Canyon, the other filled with mud 
from the Valley. The one is so ordinary 
as never to attract a second glance; the 
brilliant hues of the other arouse uni- 
versal interest. 

The colors of the Canyon are due al- 
most entirely to the wonderful atmos- 
phere and the brilliant light which floods 
its recesses. 

Another reason why the Valley as a 
whole fails to show much color is that 
when the hues of the spectrum lie close 
together, they blend into neutral grays 
or browns. But, while largely losing their 
effectiveness at a distance, the colors are, 
for this very reason, all the more strik- 
ing when seen close up, for then each is 
heightened by contrast with the other. 

The throats of the fumaroles and the 
ground around them are most often 
burned into some of the various shades 
of red which are familiar in the different 
tints of brick in common use. Some- 
times it will be a light, pinkish tone; 
again a bright scarlet; or, in still hotter 
places, a dark, rich crimson, passing into 
purple and black in some of the very hot- 
test vents. With such deep-burned pur- 
ple patches there is frequently associated 
a deliquescent incrustation of brilliant 
orange. These two colors are most often 
found together in fumaroles bearing a 
high concentration of acid which has 
eaten away all soluble constituents, leav- 
ing the general ground snow-white. 

In some places considerable areas are 
thus leached to a gleaming whiteness by 
fhe acid fumes. When to this are added 
faint tinges of pink and yellow, there 
results a beautiful flesh color of the great- 
est delicacy. Again, the ground color 
of red, white, or gray may be overlaid 
with copious deposits of yellow sulphur, 
of Science, vol. 50, pp. 147-148, 1920. 



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250 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by L. G. Polsom 



KOLB IN THE ROLE OF SAMSON 



Balancing such a "rock" in the air is not so much of a feat as it appears, for the mass is a chunk of 
pumice blown full of bubbles by the gases of the eruption. It might even float on water. Such large 

gieces of pumice are confined to the vicinity of Novarupta. All the ejecta of Katmai itself are very 
nely divided, because of the greater violence of its explosion. 



THE TRAVELER S SHOES DAUBED WITH 
BRILLIANT PIGMENTS 

Bright colors are by no means limited 
to the large and vigorous fumaroles. 
Over many hundreds of acres in the 
Valley, where steam is everywhere seep- 
ing up from beneath, the ground becomes 
a multicolored mud with the most bril- 
liant colors imaginable. 



Sometimes it is black, from iron sul- 
phide, with the character and consis- 
tency of asphalt. This grades through 
various shades of blue into delicate light 
pearl grays, or alternates (as the chem- 
ical conditions change from reducing to 
oxidizing) with the various shades of red, 
due to iron oxide. Round about are the 
more ordinary ochraceous yellows and 
browns. 



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A DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF THE VALLEY 



251 



After a trip across such an area, one *s 
shoes, covered with the particolored 
muds, take on a resemblance to an art- 
ist's palette, daubed with every pos- 
sible color in a confused medley. 

The fine-grained mud is indeed so sim- 
ilar to artist's pigments that it may 
readily be used as a substitute for them. 
With no other materials than mud from 
the Valley, and a piece of canvas from 
a ruined tent, Kolb painted several ex- 
cellent pictures. 

Where the ground is not too hot to 
prevent their growth, the patches of 
steaming mud are covered with a layer 
of bright green algae, adding the last 
color needed to complete the spectrum. 
One of the most striking color combi- 
nations in the whole Valley was produced 
by a green carpet of such algae in one 
of the great conical craters where the 
general rock color was a bright orange- 
ochre. 

In another place I came across a trail, 
made a few days previously, where the 
depressed tracks had served to collect 
a little water which had favored the 
growth of algae, making the tracks stand 
out green against the general brown sur- 
face. Occasionally a green, perhaps one 
of the salts of copper, is found among 
the mineral incrustations, but such de- 
posits were never seen in quantity. 

In other places one may find the most 
astonishing combinations of reds and 
blues and yellows by digging into the 
incrustations in the vicinity of a fuma- 
role. The brilliance of the colors of such 
freshly exposed blocks is indeed quite 
beyond belief. One can simply stand 
and marvel at the never-ending variety 
of hues he uncovers, for each block is dif- 
ferent from all the rest (see color plates). 

THE COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS 

To portray the gorgeous coloring by 
verbal description is impossible. Even 
pictures colored on the ground as care- 
fully as might be would not serve. The 
most gaudy mixture of colors that could 
be daubed over the canvas would not 



surpass the shrieking effects presented 
by the impressionistic artists as their 
idea of the coloration of ordinary land- 
scapes; wherefore many would doubt 
the accuracy of any painted pictures. 

Ever since I first beheld the display 
of colors in the Valley I had been anxious 
to record them by color photographs, 
which should present what we had seen 
without the possibility of the personal 
equation entering in. 

The problem was by no means easy of 
solution, for the obstacles to successful 
color photography, which at best are 
difficult to overcome, become greatly 
intensified in such a region as the Ten 
Thousand Smokes. 

The plates are sensitive to adverse 
climatic influences and must be guarded 
from the hot damp ground with the most 
jealous care. The dust clouds fre- 
quently stirred up by the wind make it 
extremely difficult to keep things clean, 
and dust is much more serious in color 
photography than in ordinary black and 
white work. Films can be changed just 
before exposure, but the plates must be 
loaded beforehand. On a black and 
white picture it is easy to touch out a 
spot, but in the Paget process which we 
used any imperfections on taking-screen, 
plate, or viewing screen, must remain a 
permanent blotch on the picture. 

Success in ordinary photography is 
dependent on one's ability to regulate 
two or three mechanical processes — 
shutter-speed, diaphragm, and focus — 
and at the same time to watch the sub- 
ject and make the exposure when con- 
ditions are exactly right. But, in color 
work, the number of mechanical factors 
is increased and the demands of artistic 
conception on the part of the operator 
are far greater. 

It is, therefore, a rare man who can do 
such work successfully in the rough-and- 
ready conditions under which we were 
forced to live. The results are so beau- 
tiful and preserve the natural colors 
with such fidelity as to reflect great 
credit on the artist. 



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XIX 



THE GREAT HOT SANDFLOW OF THE VALLEY 



The first thing that attracted our 
attention as we explored the fumarolic 
area — when we could look beyond the 
Smokes themselves — was a curious line 
that encircled the Valley almost like the 
high water mark of a flood. Above 
this line were the ordinary gray ash 
slopes; below it, covering the Valley 
floor, a great mass of compact, firm, 
terra-cotta tuff, which has no counter- 
part on the surrounding hills. 

The interpretation of the character 
and origin of this tuff was, for a long 
while, our chief concern as we explored 
the Valley and its branches, for its 
evident peculiarity had at once excited 
our curiosity. 

Surrounded as it is by high and rugged 
mountains, the most striking feature of 
the conformation of the Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes is the flatness of its 
floor. One could ride a bicycle for miles 
along its smooth surface, and there are 
many places between the lines of activity 
that would be ideal landing fields for air- 
planes. 

IMMENSE DEPOSIT OF TUFF ON THE FLOOR 
OF THE VALLEY 

The traveler peers into the canyons cut 
by streams in the hope of finding some 
clue to the thickness of the deposit, but in 
this he is disappointed. In such places 
one finds cuts 40, 60, or even 100 feet 
deep, but none of them, except those near 
the foot of the Valley, reach its base 
and reveal the character of the ground 
beneath. Inasmuch as most of the 
trenches are located near the edges of 
the Valley, where the deposit is relatively 
thin, it may be inferred that the total 
thickness is very great. An attempt 
to reconstruct in the mind's eye the 
original contours of the Valley before 
the tuff was poured out leaves the 



impression that its maximum thickness 
can hardly be less than 500 feet (see 
page 264). 

This is very puzzling and very im- 
pressive, for when it is observed that the 
tuff maintains a great thickness over 
wide areas it becomes evident .that the 
volume of the formation is enormous. 
The great quantity of this material was 
further emphasized as we extended our 
exploration through the Valley and found 
it spread over the whole of the active 
area. 

First we discovered that the branch 
valley between Baked and Broken 
mountains was covered with tuff. Then 
we saw the great valley between Broken 
Mountain and Knife Peak filled in the 
same way, clear back to Novarupta 
Volcano, connecting with the main valley 
and forming a complete circuit (see map 
page 68). 

Later we came to recognize that the 
massive '*mud flow** we had found as 
we climbed up to Katmai Pass was part 
of the same formation. 

From the point where we first en- 
countered it, back of Observation Moun- 
tain, to its extremity down Ukak Valley 
is a distance of 20 miles (32 km.). From 
the divide back of Novarupta to the 
tip at the foot of the Valley is 15 miles 
(24 km.). The greatest width is about 
9 miles (14 km.). 

Altogether it occupies an area of 53 
square miles (137 sq. km.). At its high- 
est points, near Novarupta and in Kat- 
mai Pass, it reaches an altitude of nearly 
3,000 feet, while at the tip it extends 
down to within about 200 feet of sea level. 
If its average thickness over this area is 
only 100 feet, its volume is a full cubic 
mile. 

The bulk of the deposit is composed of 
fine fragments, many of them dust-like, 



253 



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254 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by Frank I. Jones 

KNIFE CREEK CANYON 

The streams have cut most curious sinuous canyons into the 
stiffened mass of the sandflow. Although in places these canyons 
are a hundred feet deep, they do not cut through the flow to the soil 
beneath, except in the lower part of the valley. 



but there are included numerous lumps 
of pumice which in places make up a con- 
siderable fraction of the whole. There 
is no trace of stratification of the mate- 
rials, except where they were obviously 
subject to secondary readjustments after 
deposition. Where cut into by erosion or 
sheared by faulting the tuff breaks with 
irregular fractures, running in any direc- 
tion according to the stress. From the 
character of its cleavage, it is often broken 
or weathered into fantastic blocks like the 
hoodoos of the bad lands (see page 259). 



VALLEY SURROUNDED BY 

A CONSPICUOUS "high 

WATER mark" 

The'* high water mark" 
above alluded to, which 
separates the chocolate 
tuff-covered basin of the 
Valley from the gray 
ash slop)es of the moun- 
tains, impresses one more 
and more as he studies 
its relations. It follows, 
in a general way, a con- 
tour line 200 to 300 
feet above the floor of 
the Valley. 

Although it thus re- 
minds one of the shore 
line of a pond, it is ob- 
viously not quite level, 
like the shore of a body 
of water, but slopes grad- 
ually toward the foot of 
the valley, as though due 
to the movement of a 
heavy liquid like mo- 
lasses, which had suc- 
ceeded only imperfectly 
in finding its level. 

The most conspicuous 
example of this occurs in 
the southwest comer of 
the Valley, under the 
glaciers of Mageik, where 
the ''high water mark" 
is more than a hundred 
feet lower than farther 
east along the foot of 
Mount Cerberus (see page 262). 

All around the margin of the Valley, 
just below the ''high water mark," 
runs the series of gaping marginal fissures 
described in the last chapter, as though 
the surface had been stretched by sub- 
sidence after its formation. 

The situation reminds one of a tem- 
porary puddle which, after having frozen 
over heavily during a rise in a river, is 
drained again so as to let the ice down on 
to the bottom, with consequent stretch- 
ing and cracking all along the shore. 



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THE GREAT HOT SANDFLOW OF THE VALLEY 



255 



The analogy is carried 
further by the criss- 
cross fissures which run 
in all directions across 
the middle, like the 
contraction cracks of a 
frozen pond. Where 
the ridges from the 
shoulders of the moun- 
tains project, the mar- 
ginal fissures coalesce 
and run far out into 
the Valley, in just such 
a Y form as do the ice 
cracks at the point of 
a peninsula in our 
drained pond. 

In another place, 
where apparently a 
considerable detached 
hill stood in the floor 
of the original valley, 
there remains a high 
area whose crest is oc- 
cupied by a notable 
fissure, like that formed 
when the ice is let 
down over a hump in 
the bottom of the pond 
(see page 263). 

About ten miles 
down the Valley there 
is a distinct horizontal 
line of the same red 
tuff plastered high up 
on the slopes of But- 
tress Mountain, a hun- 
dred feet above the 
present "high water 
mark," as though the 
liquid that filled the 
Valley had stood for 
this higher level and 
along the bank before subsiding. 

PROOF THAT THE ACTIVITY OF THE 

VALLEY BEGAN BEFORE THE 

EXPLOSION OF KATMAI 

Detailed examination of the surround- 
ing mountains confirmed the suggestion 
of the ''high water mark," that the tuff 
was confined to the floor of the Valley, 



Photograph by L. G. Folsom 

PROOF THAT THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 
OPENED BEFORE KATMAI BLEW UP 

Beneath the three layers of ash from Katmai is seen the massive sand- 
flow, which must already have run its course before the ash began to faU. 
This picture was taken close to the terminus of the sandflow. The char- 
coal log, a foot in diameter, is striking evidence of the heat still retained 
by the sand 16 miles from the head of the flow at Novarupta. 



a short time at 
''frozen" a little 



for it has absolutely no counterpart on 
the slopes above. Like all the rest of the 
country the slopes are covered only by 
the layers of stratified ash from Katmai. 
More significant yet was the obser- 
vation that these same layers of strati- 
fied ash also extend out over the tuff it- 
self, which they everywhere cover (see 
also page 258) . This is indubitable proof 
that the tuff had reached its present posi- 
tion before the ashfall. Since, as will 



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256 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by P. R. Hagelbarger 



THE EDGE OF THE HOT SANDFLOW 



The lower ground, exposed in the drainage gully, was originally covered with forest like the bank 
on the left. Here and there a burned stump remains to show what happened when it was overflowed 
by the hot sand. The destruction shown in the right half of the picture is complete and total. 



be seen, the tuff is intimately related to 
the fumaroles, this can only mean that 
the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes had 
already come into existence before 
Katmai blew up. 

RELATIONS TO FOREST SHOW THAT THE 
TUFF WAS ONCE FLUID 

When our work carried us down to the 
foot of the Valley, we found clear-cut 
and positive evidence of the manner of 
deposition of the tuff, making it certain 
that the sand of which it was composed 
must once have flowed down the Valley 
like a viscous liquid. 

In the lower Valley, where the remains 
of the former forest still persist to tell the 
tale, the ''high water mark*' becomes 
yet more conspicuous and significant 
than it is in the upper Valley. 

The remains of the forest embedded 
in the tuff show plainly that it flowed 
down the valley as a thick liquid would 
have done. Right down to the edge of 
the flow the trees stand undisturbed, but 
below that level they are overridden, 



twisted, and bent as before a moving 
mass. The remarkable sharpness of 
the line separating the uninjured forest 
from that covered by the tuff is plainly 
shown on the photograph reproduced on 
page 260. 

At the bend in the Valley, where the 
forest begins, the flow encountered a belt 
of morainic hills among which it pursued 
a most irregular course, overtopping 
some, leaving others standing free above 
the surface, slopping over into the ravines, 
and in every way showing that it ran 
rather freely. In this vicinity a creek 
was dammed by the flow, forming a 
fairly large pond. 

Beyond the bend in the Valley it con- 
tinued for more than a mile, gradually 
thinning out until for some distance 
back from the tip it was only ten feet 
thick, in striking contrast to its massive 
character farther up the Valley. Every- 
where it showed a surprising capacity to 
adjust itself to variations in the level of 
the ground over which it flowed. 

At one place, near the middle of the 



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THE GREAT HOT SANDFLOW OF THE VALLEY 



257 



Photograph by P. R. Hagelbarger 
LOOKING ACROSS THE SANDFLOW NEAR ITS TERMINUS 

This illustration is panoramic with the picture on the opposite page. The massive character of the 
flow and its relations to the undisturbed forest covering the hills beyond its reach are evident. The 
fiery torrent consumed everything it touched. 



level flow, I noticed two or three trees 
projecting from it. Investigation showed 
that they had grown on the summit of 
a morainic hill which, after having been 
deeply buried, had been all but laid bare 
again by readjustment of the mass after 
the first wave had passed. 

But there was none of that evidence 
of violent damage which would have 
accompanied the rush of a flood of 
water down the Valley at high speed. 
Although the bushes were bent and 
twisted beneath the weight of the sand, 
they were not broken or uprooted as 
might have been expected. This seems 
to prove that the mass moved rather 
slowly. 

EVERY STICK BURIED BY THE SANDFLOW 
REDUCED TO CHARCOAL 

Near the edge of the flow a few trees 
remained sticking up out of the sand. 
When we took hold of them we found 
to our astonishment that they broke off" 
a foot beneath the surface. The rest of 
the buried portion had turned to char- 
coal. Later, in gullies cut into the flow 
18 



by erosion, we discovered that every 
particle of wood buried by the sand had 
been completely turned to charcoal. 

In some places the mat of old tundra 
vegetation had been transformed into a 
thin sheet of charcoal lying between the 
flow and the old surface of the ground. 
Some of the trees engulfed had been a 
foot in diameter, but they were as com- 
pletely charred as the fine twigs (see 
pages 255 and 260). 

On returning up the Valley we ob- 
served that the degree of destruction 
steadily increases toward the supposed 
source of the sand. Around the foot 
of the Valley the trees had evidently 
charred rather slowly and there was 
no visible eff'ect above the high sand 
mark. A little farther up, evidence of 
occasional grass fires appeared. Half 
way up, on the flank of Buttress Moun- 
tain, the bushes on the mountain side 
had been burned to the ground; but 
the roots remained, though charred at 
the surface. 

Finally, around the head of the Valley, 
where no trace of vegetation remains, 



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258 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
A ** BUTTE*' ERODED OUT OF THE SANDFLOW ON THE MARGIN OF FISSURE LAKE 

The angular blocks that have broken oflF show the irregular cleavage. The horizontal strata at the 
top are the layers of Katmai ash which manifestly must have fallen after the occurrence of the_^hot 
sandflow. 



the heat of the flow must have been so 
intense as to have completely consumed 
all plants, leaving no remains to prove 
their former abundance. 

When proof of the extreme heat of 
the sandflow was added to evidence of 
its remarkable fluidity and tremendous 
proportions, it became apparent that the 
eruption had involved a cataclysm far 
more extensive than at first supposed. 



It was clear that the explosion of Katmai, 
which alone was known to the outside 
world, was only one event in a disturb- 
ance involving much more than a single 
localized crater. 

SEARCH FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE SAND- 
FLOW 

Even before it had become certain 
that the sandflow had been intensely 



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THE GREAT HOT SANDFLOW OF THE VALLEY 



259 



hot, we began search- 
ing the Valley for evi- 
dence as to its origin. 

Katmai Crater was 
naturally the first 
place to be considered. 
But an examination 
made it certain that 
the Valley flow could 
not have come from 
Katmai. The slopes 
of the volcano over 
which the sand must 
have flowed, if it 
reached the Valley 
from that source, are 
covered with great gla- 
ciers, and it is hardly 
to be imagined that a 
, mass of material hot 
enough to consume 
every vestige of vege- 
tation could have 
rolled down over a gla- 
cier without melting 
it. 

The high mark left 
by the sand, moreover, 
sweeps across the foot 
of this glacier in a 
steady grade, which 
shows very plainly that 
the sand flowed past 
the foot of the moun- 
tain, not down from 
it. 



z'liuiuKiapii uy j. tt • ouiyicy 



Similar evidence 
proves that the sand 
did not come from Mageik; the sloping 
" high water mark " separating the rugged 
glacier-covered slopes from the sand-filled 
Valley could not have been sharper (see 
pages 262 and 264). 

THE HOT SAND MUST HAVE BROKEN 

THROUGH THE FLOOR OF 

THE VALLEY ITSELF 

The fact that the high sand mark is 
practically continuous all around the Val- 
ley excludes, in fact, all outside sources. 
If the hot sand had flowed into the 
Valley from any of the surrounding 



A HOODOO IN THE SOLIDIFIED SANDFLOW 

These formations show the irregular fracture and the massive unst rat- 
ified character of the deposit. They were broken out by faulting. 



mountains, the mark would be broken 
at the point of influx. 

The absence of such a break can only 
mean that the material welled up from 
within the Valley itself, just as many a 
lake is fed by submerged springs. The 
sand covers up and conceals the orifices 
from which it came. 

Under the circumstances, we should 
not expect to be able to locate any inlet. 
Yet irregularities in the slopes assumed 
by the sandflow make it certain that 
no one vent could have supplied all the 
material. It flowed both ways from the 



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THE EDGE OF THE CHARCOAL FOREST ABUTTING UNINJURED TREES ABOVE THE 
EDGE OF THE ONCE FIERY TORRENT (SEE PAGE 256) 



Photographs by R. F. Griggs 
STUMPS OF TREES BURNED OFF BY THE HOT SANDFLOW; EXPOSED BY EROSION 

Near the terminus of the flow, where this picture was taken, the sand had so far cooled as not to bum 

the trees clear to the ground. 

260 



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THE GREAT HOT SANDFLOW OF THE VALLEY 



261 



summit of Katmai Pass and from the 
divide back of Novarupta, proving that 
at the very least there must have been 
vents near each of these saddles. 

Novarupta bears every appearance of 
having contributed a large share of the 
materiaL But there is no considerable 
vent in the vicinity of the pass, nor any 
evidence that one existed at the time of 
the eruption. Appearances make it more 
probable that the tuff in the Pass and in 
Mageik Creek came from a number of 
small vents rather than a single large one. 

So through the Valley as a whole. 
The remarkably uniform distribution of 
the tuff; the occurrence of high temper- 
ature vents at very distant points; 
the widely scattered craters, marking 
places that were once seats of such 
mildly explosive activity as we may im- 
agine to be responsible for the outpour 
of sand ; the striking coincidence between 
the boundaries of the active area and 
the edge of the flow — all these suggest 
strongly that the incandescent sand came 
from a large number of scattered vents. 
The most probable hypothesis is, there- 
fore, that it was extruded from vents es- 
sentially*similar to the present f umaroles. 

SANDFLOW AN ERUPTION OF 
A NEW TYPE 

Whether this theory is correct or not, 
it is clear that the present outburst 
differed radically from an eruption from 
a typical volcano of the central type. 

In the past many eruptions are known, 
wherein great floods of magma poured 
out from fissures scattered over wide 
areas; but in all cases previously re- 
corded, the ejecta consisted not of ash and 
pumice but of molten lava, which hard- 
ened into solid rock, basalt in every case. 

The incandescent sandflow of the Val- 
ley of Ten Thousand Smokes is, there- 
fore, an eruption of a type hitherto 
unknown. Its nearest analogue is to be 
found in the incandescent avalanches 
from Mount Pel6e, which overwhelmed 
St. Pierre. But our sandflow differs as 
much from the Pelean eruption as does the 
latter from the ordinary explosive type. 



If a relatively quiet upwelling of 
magma such as filled the Valley had 
followed the explosion of Katmai, it 
would not have been so surprising. But 
for the quiet extrusion of a great quan- 
tity of magma to precede a violent par- 
oxysm reverses the usual order of events 
and runs contrary to the accepted theo- 
ries of volcanism. 

The extrusion of the enormous amount 
of material entering into the sandflow 
would be expected to have relieved the 
pressure of the subterranean magma 
sufficiently to prevent the explosion of 
Katmai. But it did not even delay it. On 
the contrary, it might be argued that the 
Valley flow set off the great explosions. 

On yet a third count, this remarkable 
Valley flow gives a new viewpoint of 
great importance to an understanding 
of volcanism. 

Inasmuch as the sand of the Valley is 
as finely fragmented as the ash of Kat- 
mai, it seems fair to suppose that the 
amount of gas given off must have been 
comparable in the two cases. Yet the 
ash of Katmai was blown so high as to 
spread over the whole earth, while the 
sand of the Valley was never lifted 
beyond the "high water mark." The 
reason for this great difference in be- 
havior of magma closely similar both in 
original composition and in end-products 
is not known. 

The unique character of the incan- 
descent sand thus raises a number of 
speculative questions of the greatest 
fascination to all interested in finding out 
the workings of this old world of ours. 
The aim of this chapter is, however, 
merely to present the facts as observed in 
the field and point out their possible 
significance, not to deduce conclusions of 
general application. 

In Chapter xxii we shall attempt, on 
the basis of the observed evidence, to 
reconstruct the eruption sufficiently to 
give a picture of its events as they might 
have appeared to an eyewitness. Mean- 
while we shall bring together the evi- 
dence of the condition of the Valley and 
of the volcanoes before the eruption. 



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XX 

THE CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE ERUPTION 



In his perusal of the preceding chap- 
ters the reader must have wondered 
many times what sort of country this 
may have been before the eruption. It 
h2is seemed best, however, to defer con- 
sideration of the previous condition of 
the region until the description of the 
devastation was complete. But we, 
like everyone else, had begun to inquire 
concerning the previous history of the 
volcano as soon as we heard of its recent 
eruption. 

Had it ever been active before? What 
warning had been given? What changes 
in the face of the country were wrought 
by the disturbance? 

And when we discovered the Valley 
of Ten Thousand Smokes and realized 
that the explosion of Katmai was only 
one of several manifestations of the dis- 
turbance, our interest in the previous 
condition of the country was redoubled. 

But, unfortunately, knowledge of 
these antecedent conditions is very frag- 
mentary. I have been at some pains 
to search out information concerning the 
former state of the country and espe- 
cially to secure photographs of it, but 
the results are far from satisfactory. 

petrof's description of the 
katmai district 

From time immemorial Katmai Pass 
had been one of the most important 
routes of travel across the Alaska Penin- 
sula. A very good general picture of 
the aboriginal conditions is given by 
Ivan Petrof ^ in his report on Alaska for 
the Tenth Census, page 24, as follows: 

**The country between Bering Sea 
and the Alpine chain of mountains ex- 
tending along the eastern shore is a grad- 
ually ascending plain, dotted with lakes 
fed from the glaciers and eternal snows 
in the east, and having their outlets in 
the west. 



265 



** In the northern portion of the penin- 
sula a belt of timber reaches down in the 
center to the vicinity of Lake Becharof, 
but beyond this the forest disappears, 
and only the deep ravines exhibit a 
stunted growth of creeping willow and 
alder brush. 

*'The reindeer browse in herds all over 
this region, retreating during the sum- 
mer up to their inaccessible retreats 
among the snowy peaks of the mountain 
range, where they are often seen by the 
traveler below as a moving line of black 
dots winding around the summits. Dur- 
ing the autumn and winter they seek the 
vicinity of the lakes and scatter over 
the tundra, where they are hunted with 
comparative ease. 

** Foxes, land otters, martens, and 
minks are plentiful throughout this sec- 
tion, and the gigantic brown bear of con- 
tinental Alaska rivals the native fisher- 
man in the wholesale destruction of the 
finny inhabitants of lake and stream. 

'*The people of Port MoUer and Ooga- 
shik are of the Aleutian tribe, which in 
former years made warlike expeditions 
along this coast, extending as far to the 
northward as the Naknek River and 
Lake Walker [Naknek Lake]. At the 
village situated on one of the feeders of 
the latter lake the present inhabitants 
still tell the story of the night attack 
made by the * blood-thirsty* Aleuts long 
years ago, when every soul in the place 
was dispatched without mercy, with the 
exception of one man, who hid himself 
under a waterfall [Brooks' Falls, close 
by the village] and thus survived to tell 
the tale. 

*'The peculiar formation of this coun- 
try led to the discovery at an early 
date of several portage routes across the 

^ Petrof, Ivan, Report on the Population, In- 
dustries and Resources of Alaska in the Tenth 
Census, Vol. 2, 1884. 



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256 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



A POND IN THE SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE KATMAI NATIONAL MONUMENT 

This valley, adjacent to the devastated country, gives a good idea of the general character of the 
country before the eruption, but in Katmai Valley the trees were much larger, forming a heavy forest. 



peninsula. The Russian promyshleniks 
first made their way to Bristol Bay and 
Nushagak across the peninsula from 
Kodiak, and found abundant evidence 
to show that this route of communication 
had been an inter-tribal highway for 
ages past. 

*' During the early years of the Russian- 
American Company's sway in these re- 
gions, a large proportion of their traffic 
was carried on in this way from Kodiak 
to Bristol Bay, and thence to the Kus- 
kokwim and Yukon Rivers, and Saint 
Michael. This was a tedious and ex- 
pensive mode of transporting merchan- 
dise, but it was long preferred to the risk 
and uncertainty of sending sailing craft 
around to Saint Michael through the 
shallow and stormy waters of Bering Sea. 

"On the eastern side of the peninsula 
the mountains rise abruptly from the 
sea, a short day's climbing transplant- 
ing the traveler from tide- water into 
the midst of glaciers and eternal snows 
and scenes of alpine grandeur and soli- 
tude. ... 

"The settlement of Katmai, in this 



vicinity, was once the central point of 
transit for travel and traffic across the 
peninsula. Three different routes con- 
verged here and made the station a point 
of some importance; now Katmai 's com- 
mercial glory has departed, and its pop- 
ulation, consisting of less than two hun- 
dred Creoles and Innuits, depend upon 
the sea-otter alone for existence. 

"The men could have reindeer in 
plenty by climbing the mountains that 
rear their snow-covered summits im- 
mediately behind them, but they prefer 
to brave the dangers of the deep and to 
put up with all the discomfort and in- 
convenience connected with sea-otter 
hunting, and in case of success purchase 
canned meats and fruit from the trading 
store, leaving the deer on the mountains 
undisturbed. 

"The people of the two villages across 
the divide, in the vicinity of Lake Walker 
[Naknek Lake], come down to Katmai 
to do their shopping and to dispose of 
their furs, undertaking a very fatiguing 
tramp over mountains and glaciers and 
across deep and dangerous streams in 



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THE CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE ERUPTION 



267 



Photograph by P. R. Hagelbarger 
SPRUCE FOREST NEAR THE SMOKES 

Much of the area now covered by the sandflow was occupied by forest like this before the eruption. 
The spruce here occurs at altitudes above 1000 feet. 



preference to the canoe journey to the 
Bristol Bay stations. 

"Only at long intervals a small party 
will proceed to Nushagak to visit the 
Russian •nissionary stationed there, to 
whose spiritual care they have been as- 
signed without regard to locality or con- 
venience.*' 

THE IMPORTANCE OF KATMAI REVIVED BY 
DISCOVERY OF NOME 

The importance of the Katmai route 
across the Peninsula was revived by the 
discovery of gold at Nome in 1898. In 
the eager ** stampede*' to the gold fields, 
many availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity to shorten by several hundred 
miles the distance to the goal afforded 
by the route across Katmai Pass. 

This sudden influx of travel must have 
utterly bewildered the poor natives, who 
were unable to provide accommodation 
for the travelers. As a solution of the 
difficulty, the village trader built a 
'*Bunk House" at a little distance from 
the village, where a large number of tran- 
sients could be accommodated. 



Many of the men who thus crossed the 
Pass must be still living, and some doubt- 
less retain vivid memories of the char- 
acter of the country, but I have not yet 
found any photographs of the country 
covered by the eruption. 

One of these pioneers was ** Charlie" 
Carter, who carried the mail by dog 
sledge from Nome to Katmai one winter. 
He has told me that on the upper part of 
Naknek Lake the ice was very treacherous, 
sometimes thawing out when the air tem- 
perature had not risen above 15° F., which 
clearly indicated to him the presence of 
hot springs somewhere in the vicinity. As 
the country was altogether covered with a 
blanket of snow at the time of his trips, 
he learned little else of its character. 

SPURR 'S ACCOUNT OF KATMAI PASS 

The only scientific man who has left 
an account of the district is J. E. Spurr, 
who finished his expedition by crossing 
the Katmai Trail. His account is, there- 
fore, almost the only published source 
of information concerning its condition 
before the eruption. 



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268 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Before quoting from Spurr's narrative 
it should be recalled that the reason for 
the location of the trail across Katmai 
Pass lay in the extraordinary fashion in 
which great valleys from both sides of 
the Peninsula penetrate the heart of the 
mountains at that point. Katmai Val- 
ley from the Pacific lines up almost pre- 
cisely with the valley now occupied by 
the Ten Thousand Smokes on the Bering 
Sea side (see map). Spurr's account of 
his trip from the head of Naknek Lake 
is, therefore, a description of the former 
condition of the main Valley of Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes. 

He left Savonoski on October 14, 1898, 
and camped that night in the vicinity 
of the present terminus of the sandflow. 
The next night he camped in the middle 
of what is now the main arm of the Val- 
ley of Ten Thousand Smokes. 

**On the 1 2 th of October we started 
paddling across Naknek Lake, which is 
the largest body of fresh water that we 
encountered on our trip. The water 
was very calm and, on account of the 
danger of heavy gales in these mountain 
lakes, the natives were willing to push 
ahead as fast as possible. At dark, after 
havii^ made about 40 miles, a stop was 
made for supper, after which about 20 
miles more was made at night till the 
head of the lake was reached. 

'*The next morning we reached the 
native village of Savonoski. At Savon- 
oski our Nushagak natives went back, 
being in continual fear of being frozen in 
by the increasing cold weather. In 
order to make as quickly as possible the 
60 miles or so of mountains which lay 
between us and the coast, ten natives 
from Savonoski were hired to help us 
carry over, in one trip, our outfit and 
necessary provisions, everything which 
was inessential being left behind. 

''The trip from the lake to the sea- 
coast occupied three and one-half days, 
an average of nearly 20 miles a day, all 
of which we made on foot, largely 
through swamps and deep moss. On the 
1 6th of October we crossed the mountain 
pass and descended to the other side. 



"This pass lies between two extinct 
volcanoes and is high, snowy, and rocky, 
and has no definite trail. The wind 
is often so cold and violent here, even 
in summer, that the natives do not dare 
to cross except in calm weather, for 
the gusts are so powerful that stones 
of considerable size are carried along by 
them. 

"On the sea side of the pass we came 
to a considerable stream of hot water 
which emerged from the side of one of 
the volcanoes and flowed down, steam- 
ing, to reach the cooler water of the 
other mountain drainage. [These hot 
springs still gush forth from the slopes 
of Trident, but now come out as many 
streams of warm, rather than hot, water.] 

"On the 17th of October we arrived 
at the Aleut village of Katmai, where we 
found a Russian trader. Having now 
reached the coast, we were disappointed 
to find that the difficulties in getting 
farther were even greater than they had 
been in coming so far, for there were no 
boats at Katmai except a couple of open 
dories, belonging to the trader, and one 
skin bidarka. 

"We knew that in a few days the last 
steamer would leave St. Paul (Kodiak], 
on Kodiak Island, 120 miles away, for 
Seattle; but the Shelikof Strait which 
lay between was so rough and windy 
that the trader advised us very strongly 
not to attempt the trip in dories. 

"Finally, the sole bidarka in the vil- 
lage was sent across to St. Paul with 
three expert native paddlers, with a 
letter to the Agent of the Alaska Com- 
mercial Company at that place, asking 
that a schooner or some other craft 
should be sent to us in order that we 
might make connection with the steamer. 
For several days the winds were so vio- 
lent that the natives would not cross, and 
after they had crossed no news was heard 
of them for a long time, till considerably 
after we knew that the last steamer must 
have gone. 

"On the 31st of October, however, 
we were awakened in our camp, on the 
beach, by the whistle of a steamer which 



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THE CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE ERUPTION 



269 



we promptly boarded. We found it to 
be the Alaska Commercial Company's 
boat Dora? which had been delayed in 
Cook Inlet considerably past her usual 
time for returning home on her last trip, 
and so had got to St. Paul in time to re- 
ceive our letter and to come to our as- 
sistance, a trip which involved a delay 
of two days for the steamer and its 
passengers. In the Dora we reached 
Seattle on the nth of November.' . . . 

** During the first part of the land jour- 
ney the ascent is comparatively gradual, 
and the traveler passes over extensive 
swampy areas with drier knolls, where 
walking is made difficult by tufts of 
grass, called 'niggerheads' by the pros- 
pector or Utes de femme by the Canadian 
voyageur. 

'*The trail leads along the hillside 
above the bed of the small stream which 
runs into the lake at Savonoski, and fre- 
quently boiling brooks, tributaries to 
this stream , must be forded . The moun- 
tains on both sides of the small valley 
[Le, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes] 
grow higher, and, as one approaches the 
summit of the range, it is seen to be com- 
posed of a continuous chain of volcanoes, 
none of which, however, is at present 
active, although the natives informed 
us that one of them occasionally smokes. 
''From the sides of some of these 
highest volcanoes splendid glaciers wind 
down into the valley, and in other places 
great walls of moraine, damming moun- 
tain gorges, mark the former positions 
of glaciers which have now somewhat 
retreated. So far as observed, these 
glaciers seem to be more extensive on 
the northwestern than on the south- 
eastern side of the range. 

**The Katmai Pass, which leads down 
to the village of that name, lies between 
two volcanoes and is extremely wild and 
rugged, being the most difficult moun- 
tain pass we crossed during the journey. 

' It will be recalled that it was this same old 
Dora which was in Shelikof Strait at the time of 
the eruption and brought the first news to the 
outside world (see pages 10 and 15). 

*J. E. Spurr. A Reconnaissance in South- 



For several miles on both sides of the 
summit there is no trace of vegetation, 
the surface being composed of huge an- 
gular fragments of rock, piled together 
without even a covering of moss. 

"Through this debris and the under- 
lying lava the mountain streams have 
cut deep gorges. On all the upper part of 
the pass the snow lay thick at the time 
of our crossing, in the middle of October. 
Many natives have perished here by be- 
ing caught in gales, for during storms, 
even in summer, the wind blows with in- 
tensity and piercing coldness. At such 
times stones of considerable size are 
picked up by the wind and carried 
through the narrow defiles where the 
traveler must walk, and we found many 
of these stones lying upon the snow. Ow- 
ing to this danger the natives cannot be 
induced to cross except in perfectly calm 
and clear weather. 

''Extensive hot springs emerge from 
the Katmai side of the mountains below 
the pass, and there are very frequent 
earthquakes and other evidences of vol- 
canic activity. Our party itself experi- 
enced a slight earthquake just after 
crossing. 

**The descent from the summit in the 
direction of Katmai is much more abrupt 
than on the northwestern side, and in 
about 10 miles one passes from an alti- 
tude of nearly 3,000 feet to a broad, 
level flat which is at about the level of 
the sea. 

"In this gravel flat, several miles 
wide, the Katmai River flows and on 
both sides of it are high and rugged moun- 
tains which run quite down to the coast, 
and, indeed, extend below the sea, as is 
shown by the fact that the water close to 
the shore is very deep, as it is nearly 
everywhere from here southward and 
eastward along the Alaskan coast. The 

western Alaska in 1898. U. S. Geological Survey 
Annual Report 20, pt. 7, page 59. 

Owing to the style of the Geological Survey 
Reports, Spurr's narrative is repeated three 
times with increasing amplification; hence the 
apparent repetition in the triplicate quotation 
here given. 



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THE CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE ERUPTION 



271 



gravel flat of Katmai Valley forms on 
the seacoast a sand beach several miles 
long, which is effectually shut in on both 
sides by high mountainous promon- 
tories.* 

**The first 15 miles of the trail from 
Savonoski to Katmai lies through 
swampy flats in the broad valley which 
forms a continuation of the lake. After- 
wards a series of rises over slight benches 
brings' one to a larger plateau valley 
[Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes], 
which, however, is level and generally 
swampy. 

"The trail lies along this until near 
the pass, where the plateau valley and 
the deeper valley of the stream come to- 
gether. The mountains on both sides 
have well marked horizontal benches, 
up to 1,000 feet at least. 

''At the first rock bluff above Savono- 
ski, where the trail leaves the flats, is an 
outcrop of dark green granitic arkose, 
with nearly horizontal stratification. The 
rock of the sharply eroded mountains on 
both sides, nearly as far as the pass, is 
of the same horizontal bare green strata, 
which, by fragments included in the 
drift of the valley, are shown to be green 
arkoses and limestones. Jurassic fos- 
sils are found abundantly in these. 

"Near the summit of the range is a 
continuous chain of volcanic peaks, 
some with the sides more or less furrowed 
by drainage, others smooth and perfect. 
Against one of these volcanoes the hori- 
zontal rocks are turned up, this being 
the only folding observed anywhere. 

"Along the axis of the mountains are 
large and well-developed glaciers, espe- 
cially on the sides of a tall volcano which 
stands directly at the head of the valley 
up which the trail runs [Mageik]. Here 
the glaciers are many and distinct, and 
have splendid moraines. 

"The main valley is filled with hori- 
zontally stratified sand, in which are 
great angular bowlders, which are also 
beautifully arranged in layers. This 
deposit has a generally level top, but 
there are many sharp hillocks formed of 



bunches of huge bowlders. The streams 
have cut deep channels through this. 

"On each side of the chain of volca- 
noes which form the axis of the range, 
the stratified rocks dip away very gently 
and are slightly undulating. On the 
Katmai side of the divide the green fos- 
siliferous rock has perfect crystals of 
mica in it, giving it an igneous appear- 
ance. These have probably developed 
as a consequence of metamorphism. 

"The pass lies between two volcanoes, 
the one on the right [Mageik] having a 
cone scarcely modified by erosion, while 
that on the left is somewhat furrowed, 
but carries no glaciers [Trident]. Below 
the pass, on the Katmai side, streams 
of very hot water burst out of the ground 
in many places and, joining together, 
form a considerable rapid stream. This 
water contains much sulphurated hydro- 
gen and makes copious precipitates of 
iron and sulphur, so that the earth 
through which it oozes is colored a bril- 
liant yellowish red [just as it is today]. 

"The valleys of the streams which 
drain both sides of the pass are deeply 
excavated, especially that on the north- 
western side, which has cut down at 
least 100 feet through lava bowlders. 
Owing to the excessive frost action the 
whole surface of the volcanoes is covered 
thickly with these large bowlders. On 
the northwestern side, near the summit, 
a lake half a mile long is dammed in by 
the d6bris from three volcanoes which 
rise above it. [Remains of lake still 
present.] 

"On the sea side of the pass no gla- 
ciers or glacial phenomena on a large 
scale were observed. On this side are 
broad benches of great height, the mate- 
rial of which is rolled bowlders from the 
mountains above; on the surface the 
frost has cleaved these bowlders into 
jagged fragments. 

"From the mountain sides below the 
pass one looks down upon a broad valley, 
a flat several miles wide, mostly covered 
with bare gravel, giving the appearance 
from a distance of an arm of the sea and 
page 91. 



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THE CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE ERUPTION 



273 



through this flat the Katmai River runs 
in many channels."* 

KATMAI PASS PROBABLY IN UNSTABLE 
CONDITION BEFORE THE ERUPTION 

When I first informed the members 
of the National Geographic Expedition 
of 191 7 that the wind in Katmai Pass 
was reported strong enough to pick up 
stones and throw them agaijist travelers 
to their destruction, the boys very natu- 
rally hooted at the idea. But I reminded 
them that such a statement was written 
into an official publication of the United 
States Geological Survey, which is not 
given to wild exaggeration. 

The heavy deposit of ejecta from the 
eruption has filled up the defiles men- 
tioned by Spurr, and reduced the danger 
from rolling rocks. During 191 7 we had 
little difficulty from this source, but the 
wind around the Pass is so fierce that 
before they had finished with their al- 
most daily trips through it, all hands 
were quite ready to subscribe to any 
statement that might be made concern- 
ing Katmai Pciss. 

The assertion that the wind used to 
start rocks rolling down on travelers 
should not be dismissed as a fantastic 
invention of the natives. It may be 
recalled in this connection that I myself 
came near being killed in exactly that 
fashion in Katmai Canyon, where many 
tons of rocks were started down the 
banks by no more than a good breeze. 

The importance of the statement lies 
in the fact that the wind could only 
start such stones as were already in an 
unstable condition, ready to topple down 
at the least impulse. These stories 
should be considered in connection with 
the frequent earthquake shocks of which 
Spurr makes mention. 

It will be recalled also that the incan- 
descent sand described in the last chap- 
ter was poured out in the Pass and in 
both approaches. This feature and the 
presence of extinct fumaroles on the 
Pacific slope as well as on the Valley 
side is clear evidence that Katmai Pass 

X9 



is traversed by a fissure such as opened 
in the Valley. 

Slow movement along a fault line may 
have caused a continual unsettlement, 
keeping a considerable number of bowl- 
ders always in the unstable equilibrium 
indicated by the frequent rock falls. 

To Spurr *s account should be added 
the narrative given by Rex Beach in his 
"Silver Horde," pages 75-83. In a work 
of fiction of this sort the writer was of 
course at liberty to draw freely on his 
imagination for his descriptions. Nev- 
ertheless, his story of the crossing of 
Katmai Pass, drawn partly from Spurr *s 
account and partly from his own ex- 
perience in making the trip, is a very 
good description of conditions. 

In crossing the Pass repeatedly I be- 
came well acquainted with its evil char- 
acter and found Beach's account cor- 
rect even in numerous minor details 
which no one would have expected him 
to grasp in a single trip. Our expe- 
rience being confined to the summer 
season had, of course, no danger of the 
tragic ending that befell the party of the 
novel, but it required no effort of the 
imagination to believe that in winter 
temperatures the trip would be fully 
as dangerous as Beach pictures it. 

DIFFICULT TO JUDGE THE WEATHER 
ACROSS THE PASS 

It is very difficult from either side to 
judge the weather on the other side of 
the range. The experience of Beach's 
hero, who, after waiting for four days, 
started out in calm weather only to find 
a raging gale on the opposite side was 
duplicated by our parties several times. 
The curious thing is that the Pass itself 
is often quiet when the tumultuous 
blasts over the shoulder of Observation 
Mountain prohibit travel. 

While we were camped in the Valley 
of Ten Thousand Smokes, we depended 
for our subsistence on supplies which 
had to be brought up almost daily from 
the sub-base camp in Katmai Valley. 
Several times the pack-train encoun- 
page 146. 



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274 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by J. W. Shipley 
THE TRAIL THROUGH THE TALL GRASS ALONG THE WEST BANK OF KATMAI RIVER 

Representative of conditions in the zone where the trees were killed but the ashfall was so light that the 

grass quickly recovered. 



tered storms that would have turned 
back any but the hardiest of men. One 
day it was impossible to face the flying 
pumice. That day the wind gauge, at 
the sheltered camp, registered 60 miles 
p)er hour steadily, and much higher in 
the gusts. 

The next day they came up prepared 
"to gather up the remains" of our camp 
among the Smokes, for they knew we 
could not weather such a gale as they 
had experienced, and reasoned that it 
must have been even worse with us at 
our higher altitude. But among the 
Smokes the weather had remained fine 
throughout and we had been quite un- 
able to explain their non-appearance 
the day before. 

The only other published account of 
crossing Katmai Pass which I have found 
is that given by the members of Frank 
Leslie's Expeditions,^ who also crossed 

• Their accounts are scattered through the 
numbers of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 
volumes 70-73, 1 890-1 891. The material per- 
taining to Katmai Pass consists of an article by 



in the winter, when many of the features 
of the country were concealed by snow. 
They speak of a magnificent toboggan 
slide down the slopes of Observation 
Mountain, but give little geographic in- 
formation. They state that the Pass is 
beside an active volcano whose summit 
was covered with cloud, '*but from whose 
sides bubbled steaming sulphurous mal- 
odorous streams.** 

The most important item from our 
point of view is that, before going over, 
they camped ** 3,000 feet high in the 
last thin little group of trees,** which was 
probably located in the middle of the 
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes under 
the protection of Mount Cerberus. 

OUR ONLY INFORMATION CONCERNING 

MOUNT KATMAI DERIVED FROM 

COAST SURVEY CHART 

Of the condition of Mount Katmai, 
the accounts of these travelers afford no 

E. H. Wells, published Sept. 19, 1891 (p. 106), 
and one by A. B. Shantz, published Nov. 28, 189 1 

(p. 268). 



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THE CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE ERUPTION 



275 



information. Spurr gives no clue as to 
which one of the volcanoes was re- 
ported by the natives to smoke occasion- 
ally. 

From the trail Mageik is much more 
conspicuous than Katmai, which is too 
far east to be seen to advantage from 
any point except the slopes of Obser- 
vation Mountain. At that point, how- 
ever, the anxious eyes of the pilgrims 
would naturally turn in the opposite di- 
rection toward their goal, the sea, which 
spread out in magnificent panorama be- 
fore them. 

Post's sketch map, which accompanies 
Spurr *s report, although giving Mageik 
and Katmai Valley accurately and in 
some detail, is blank in the direction of 
Katmai. But on Coast Survey Chart 
Number 8555, a section of which is re- 
produced on page 270, Mount Katmai is 
shown as having three peaks, each higher 
than Mageik, i. e., 7,500, 7,360 and 7,260 
feet. Around these peaks, whose posi- 
tion and altitude were determined by 
precise triangulation, are drawn dotted 
contours indicating the configuration 
of the mountain as it could have been 
seen from the triangulation station at 
Cape Kubugakli. 

This chart -supplies absolutely all the 
information we have concerning Mount 
Katmai before the eruption. But, curi- 
ously enough, search of the archives of 
the Coast Survey has failed to reveal the 
source of the information from which the 
contours of the chart were drawn. 

There are no sketches in the field 
books of the Kubugakli party by whom 
the contours appear to have been drawn. 



and the head of the party does not re- 
member that any observations of Mount 
Katmai were made. But whoever drew 
them, they correspond well enough with 
the portions of the stub that remain to 
inspire some confidence in their accuracy. 

RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL 
KATMAI 

By combining the outline suggested by 
the old chart with our more precise sur- 
vey of the present volcano, it has been 
possible to reconstruct the original 
mountain with some degree of satis- 
faction.^ 

The hollows in the flanks of the vol- 
cano are occupied by the remains of gla- 
ciers which were beheaded when the top 
blew oflF. The original peak was cer- 
tainly a majestic snow cap. In a gen- 
eral way, it must have resembled Mageik 
(see page 78), but it was higher and the 
summit was at the near end of the ridge, 
rather than in the middle. 

We may be fairly sure that Katmai 
was the dominant peak of the district 
since it was customary to apply the 
name of any village to each of the most 
important geographic features of its 
vicinity. 

That this peak, rather than Mageik, 
was honored with the name of the vil- 
lage is especially indicative of its former 
grandeur, because it was unfavorably 
located to receive such a distinction. 
Mageik is in full view from the village, 
making a wonderfully impressive spec- 
tacle. But Katmai lay behind the Bar- 
rier Range, which concealed all except 
perhaps- the very summit. 



^ The estimate of the amount of material blown 
off the mountain in the eruption which was given 
in Chapter XIV was arrived at by comparing the 
reconstruction of Katmai with the stub that re- 
mains. The contours are 200 feet apart. By 
obtaining the areas enclosed by the different con- 



tours around the old summit and within the 
crater, we can calculate the volume of the mate- 
rial that has disappeared. The average of four 
independent computations of this volume is 
1 1 ,000 millions of cubic yards. 



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XXI 



A HYPOTHETICAL CHRONICLE OF THE ERUPTION 



The preceding chapters have given 
some description of the effects of the 
Katmai cataclysm and of the volcanoes 
it opened up, but little attempt has 
been made to relate the various phenom- 
ena in the order of their genesis or to 
discuss the actual events of the eruption. 
It will be desirable now to attempt a 
description of the eruption as it would 
have appeared to an observer on the 
scene. 

Since there were no witnesses com- 
petent to testify to the facts, we are 
limited to deductions from the study of 
effects on the surrounding country. *It 
should be understood that our account 
must be made up of reasonable infer- 
ences and conclusions that follow from 
the evidence left behind. It must, there- 
fore, be read as a mental reconstruction 
rather than as a chronicle of a series of 
observed events. 

IN THE BEGINNING A BEAUTIFUL 
GREEN VALLEY 

At the beginning, a beautiful broad 
valley, just turning green after the long 
winter, stretched down from Katmai 
Pass. Up to nearly 1,500 feet it was 
covered with a dense forest of balsam 
poplar and paper birch, with occasional 
clumps of spruce, which became abun- 
dant at lower levels. There were numer- 
ous undrained hollows occupied by ponds 
or tundras, while the steeper slopes were 
covered with dense stands of tall grass. 

Along the edge of the forest a herd of 
caribou may have been following up the 
melting snows toward their summer 
pastures among the alpine meadows; 
lower down in the woods occasional 
moose, stragglers here at the extreme 
edge of their range, might have been ob- 
served. 

Within a few miles were undoubtedly 
several of the great brown bears of the 



region, busily engaged in digging out 
the roots of the spring plants to fill their 
empty maws after the long winter fast. 
A pack of hungry wolves, followed per- 
haps by a skulking wolverine, may have 
hunted a herd of caribou, or, failing such 
large game, contented themselves with 
snowshoe rabbits and ground squirrels. 

A GREAT LANDSLIDE FROM FALLING 
MOUNTAIN BEGINS THE CATACLYSM 

The first sign^ that anything unusual 
was in prospect were probably occasional 
earthquakes, which later must have in- 
creased ominously in frequency and vio- 
lence, for, while details are lacking, it 
appears that earthquakes were the main 
cause of the alarm of the natives at 
Katmai Village and Savonoski. Pre- 
sumably, also, the old volcanoes, one or 
more of them, soon began to manifest 
unusual signs of activity by way of in- 
creased smoking, accompanied perhaps 
by small explosions. 

Although premonitory symptoms of 
this sort would have made themselves 
felt over a wide stretch of country, the 
opening scene in the catastrophe, so far 
as we know it, was more local in char- 
acter. With a thunderous roar, the face 
of Falling Mountain let go, precipitat- 
ing several million cubic yards of rock 
into the lowland in a terrific rock streami 
that must run for several miles down the 
Valley. 

A wind started by the rush of falling 
debris roared down the Valley like a hur- 
ricane. Meanwhile, the sky was dark- 
ened by the great cloud of dust set up by 
the falling rocks, imparting a gloomy and 
portentous aspect to the scene and help- 
ing to make it an altogether appropriate 
prelude to the great tragedy. 

Similar rock falls of almost equal 
magnitude may have occurred several 
times during the eruption, but the later 



277 



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278 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



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ones would have attracted 
little or no attention amidst 

S the general cataclysm which 
by that time had broken 
loose. For it would have be- 
come evident that the whole 
region was rocking in the 
throes of tremendous subter- 

o ranean forces which threat- 



u 



>, ened every moment to rend 



c 



^ the mountains asunder. 



w» ;;■ VALLEY FLOOR CRACKS OPEN 
^ gj AND SEETHING MAGMA 

S S. RUSHES OUT 

c . 

Is 



Probably before the dust 
•g o had settled, during an earth- 
ly quake of more than usual 
< .^S violence, the Valley floor 
Ok "SJ broke open. Immediately 
06 o c the seething white-hot 
> ^>. magma appeared in the 
§ *2 Sf cracks, struggling for release 
5 -5 i from its prison in the rocks. 
w .S'g At first it probably ap- 

^ %% peared like a fire among the 
g ^ ^ bushes. But it spread rapidly 
S £ ^ and soon its real nature be- 
came apparent. Floods of 
fire burst out now here, now 



C/3 H -M 

7) rt 



W " 



O 



2 =3 3 there, until the whole Valley 
^ oj-ix: opened up and the molten 



S c ^ viscera of the earth came 

2*5 pouring from every fissure. 

-J5 2 Tremendous columns of liq- 

S-u uid fire shot out, driven sky- 

% J ward a hundred feet or more, 

3 Xc gilding the mountains round 

^ J about with their radiance. 
I S The Ten Thousand 

^^ Smokes, wonderful as they 

•^ are at their best, can give 

3 no idea of what the Valley 

u must have looked like at this 

2 initial stage. In addition to 

I myriads of smokes, doubt- 

vc less greater than any that 

^ now remain, other scores or 

> hundreds of volcanoes must 

I have been belching forth in- 

^ candescent lava in veritable 

£ fountains of fire. 



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A HYPOTHETICAL CHRONICLE OF THE ERUPTION 



279 



A reconstruction of this scene is 
quite beyond the power of human imagi- 
nation. The closest picture that we 
may venture to present is the description 
of analogous white-hot fountains which 
shot up during an eruption of Mauna 
Loa, as they appeared to an eye wit- 
ness: ' 

** Each one shows a multiplied facade of 
spires composed of thousands of bunched 
jets of orange color, the spire to the ex- 
treme left the tallest and the others — 
perhaps eight or ten — diminishing to 
the right. The component jets fall in- 
ward, when their upward impetus is lost, 
in graceful parabolas, excepting when, 
at every major ejection, there is a fierce 
explosive-like projection outwardly from 
the main spire. 

**The whole effect is that of an illumi- 
nated Gothic cathedral's front. In as- 
cent the velocity of the ejection is that 
of a rocket multiplied. Stupendous 
projective force is what impresses one, 
together with the extraordinary pyro- 
technical beauty of the display. 

**At the bases of the fountain there is 
an intermittent boiling and surging, and 
a sullen roar of awful majesty rises and 
falls. . . . The jets are intermingled 
with a profusion of dark angular projec- 
tiles . . . which I am informed is 
pumice stone." 

IMPENETRABLE BLACK CLOUDS 
MUST HAVE VEILED THE SCENE 

In the b^inning, the many vents in 
different parts of the Valley probably re- 
mained distinct, each pouring forth its 
own contribution to the general chaos; 
but soon the outpoured lava must have 
begun to coalesce in a fiery flood. 

It may have remained in pools of 
molten liquid for a little, but before long 
gases began to be evolved in enormous 
quantities, forming impenetrable clouds 



somewhat like the horrible burning 
clouds from Mount Pel6e, that brought 
destruction to St. Pierre. 

Blending together, the clouds from 
the separate vents made a lurid canopy 
over all. Under different conditions 
they assumed various aspects: murky 
black, when overladen with included 
solid particles; blue, where clear steam 
was intensely hot ; white where their high 
rollmg peaks caught the sun, and purple 
or scarlet where illumined by the fiery ' 
abyss below. Clouds of smoke must have 
rolled over the whole country round 
about, carrying with them ashes, cinders, 
and charred leaves and twigs. 

How all the manifestations of this sort 
which must have occurred could have 
passed unnoticed even in that remote 
country is a mystery. But there is no 
record of their having been seen, except 
perhaps from Cold Bay where the night 
before the great explosions observers 
noted a black and stormy sky in the 
direction of the Valley (see page 19). 

LAVA FROTHS UP INTO A FIERY FOAM 

Other aspects of the eruption would 
have been more interesting to us, how- 
ever, than these passing aerial disturb- 
ances, which left no trace behind. The 
lava gave off such great quantities of gas 
that it promptly lost its character of a 
molten liquid and frothed up into a fiery 
foam. Cooled by the expanding gases 
the non- volatile constituents quickly con- 
gealed into ash and pumice, the whole 
becoming a suspension of solids in the 
gases they themselves were evolving.^ 

The lower portions of the glaciers and 
the heavy snowdrifts that still lay deep 
in the Valley rapidly melted away before 
the incandescent lava. In the face of 
the great heat, the ice must have been 
converted into steam with almost explo- 
sive suddenness, adding great columns 



^ By Daniel Logan, as quoted from C. H. 
Hitchcock, "Hawaii and its Volcanoes," p. 129. 
The original speaks of the "fagade of spines." 
This I take to be a misprint for spires and have 
so changed it. 

* Dr. Zies has suggested that the properties be- 



lieved to have been exhibited by the ejecta at 
this stage may be imitated by igniting the pow- 
der of basic magnesium carbonate. The gas 
given oflF buoys up the solid particles so that it 
seethes and boils, flowing about in a manner 
extraordinarily like a liquid. 



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A HYPOTHETICAL CHRONICLE OF THE ERUPTION 



281 



of its own to the clouds rising directly 
from the lava. 

ROARING FIRES SWEEP UP THE 
MOUNTAIN SIDE 

Almost before the snows had been dried 
up, the bushes began to crackle and soon 
roaring fires were sweeping up the moun- 
tain sides, consuming every living thing 
far beyond the reach of the incandescent 
flood. 

With the smoke of the burning forest, 
the steam from the melting ice, and the 
clouds from the magma, the whole Val- 
ley must have been effectually masked. 
Yet the strong northwest wind which 
may have started even at that early stage 
perhaps carried off the smoke enough to 
reveal something of what was going on at 
the windward side of the burning pyre. 

The misery of the wretched animals 
trapped in the Valley could not have 
lasted long. All were roasted alive, in 
short order. Soon their carcasses must 
have been cremated in the general con- 
flagration. Under ordinary circumstan- 
ces, the stench of this holocaust would 
have added another horror, but here it 
was lost in the fumes. 

The odors of the fumaroles in the 
Valley as we found it five years later were 
repulsive enough. During the eruption 
the fumes were intolerable a hundred 
miles away. We may not attempt to 
suggest the sensations that would have 
smitten the olfactory nerves during the 
height of the cataclysm. 

THE VALLEY BECOMES A SEETHING FIERY 
TORRENT 

Long before the fires that consumed 
the surrounding vegetation had run their 
course, the masses of incandescent frag- 
ments accumulating around the separate 
vents had probably run together until 
they covered the whole floor of the Valley, 
converting it into a single fiery torrent 
of seething, swirling, red-hot sand and 
rock, kept in continual turmoil by the 
constant escape of gas. 

The gas presumably came off mostly 
in quiet ebullition, but at times it let go 



with violent explosions which tore wide 
holes in the mass of glowing fragments. 
These explosions must have been accom- 
panied by the most spectacular up- 
heavals of red-hot rocks hurled high 
aloft. 

The fiery Valley at this stage doubt- 
less presented a spectacle, if it could 
have been seen through the impenetrable 
black cloud, far surpassing the weird- 
est image of the place of everlasting tor- 
ment ever conjured up by poet or 
preacher. Again, in default of language 
of my own, I resort to the description of 
an Hawaiian eruption : ' 

''At half-past three p.m. I reached 
the awful crater and stood alone in the 
light of its fires. It was a moment 
of unutterable interest. ... I was 
10,000 feet above the sea, in a vast soli- 
tude untrodden by the foot of man or 
beast; amidst a silence unbroken by any 
living voice, and surrounded by scenes of 
terrific desolation. 

"Here I stood almost blinded by the 
insufferable brightness; almost deafened 
with the startling clangor; almost petri- 
fied with the awful scene. The heat was 
so intense that the crater could not be 
approached within forty or fifty yards on 
the windward side, and probably not with- 
in two miles on the leeward. . . . 

"The mountain seemed to be siphun- 
culated; the fountain of fusion being 
elevated some two or three thousand 
feet above the lateral crater, and being 
pressed down an inclined subterranean 
tube, escaped through this valve with 
a force which threw its burning masses 
to the height of four or five hundred feet. 

"The eruption first issued from a de- 
pression in the mountain, but a rim of 
scoriae two hundred feet in elevation had 
already been formed around the orifice 
in the form of a hollow truncated cone. 
This cone was about half a mile in cir- 
cumference at its base, and the orifice at 
the top may be three hundred feet in 
diameter. 

• From description by Titus Coan, quoted from 
C. H. Hitchcock, "Hawaii and its Volcanoes," 
pp. 87-89. 



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Photograph by E. C. Kolb 
FRYING BACON OVER A FUMAROLE 

It is hard to appreciate the situation from a still picture. The steam is so hot and dry as it rushes 
forth that it is perfectly clear. The pressure lifted the frying pan high in the air. It had to be held 
down against the outrushing steam (see page 225). 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
A BONFIRE KINDLED BY WATER (SEE PAGE 22 1 ) 

One of the fumaroles was so hot and dry that shavings burst into flame after being plunged for a 
moment into its hot vapor. Since this consisted of almost pure steam — that is to say, water — what we 
really did was to kindle a fire by poking a stick into water. Temperature measurements by the 
geophysicists showed that it was 645** C. (nearly 1200** P.). 

282 



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A HYPOTHETICAL CHRONICLE OF THE ERUPTION 



283 



"I approached as near as I could bear 
the heat, and stood amidst the ashes, 
cinders, scoriae, slag and pumice, which 
were scattered wide and wildly around. 
From the horrid throat of this cone vast 
and continuous jets of red-hot and some- 
times white-hot lava were being ejected 
with a noise that was almost deafening, 
and a force which threatened to rend 
the rocky ribs of the mountain and to 
shiver its adamantine pillars. 

*'At times the sound seemed subter- 
ranean, jdeep and infernal. First, a 
rumbling, a muttering, a hissing or deep 
premonitory surging; then followed an 
awful explosion, like the roar of broad- 
sides in a naval battle, or the quick dis- 
charge of pack after pack of artillery on 
the field of carnage. 

'* Sometimes the sound resembled that 
of 10,000 furnaces in full blast. Again 
it was like the rattling of a regiment of 
musketry; sometimes it was like the 
roar of the ocean along a rock-bound 
shore; and sometimes like the booming 
of distant thunder. . . . 

**The eruptions were not intermittent, 
but continuous. Volumes of the fusion 
were constantly ascending and descend- 
ing like a jet d'eau. The force which 
expelled these igneous columns from the 
orifice shivered them into millions of frag- 
ments of unequal size, some of which 
would be rising, some falling, some shoot- 
ing off laterally, others describing grace- 
ful curves; some moving in tangents, and 
some falling back in vertical lines into 
the mouth of the crater. 

** Every particle shone with the bril- 
liancy of Sirius, and all kinds of geomet- 
rical figures were being formed and 
broken up. No tongue, no pen, no pen- 
cil can portray the beauty, the grandeur, 
the terrible sublimity of the scene. To 
be appreciated it must be felt. . . . 

'* During the night the scene surpassed 
all power of description. Vast columns 

* It should be recognized that little, if any, of 
the material was transported the whole 15 miles. 
At frequent intervals along the way there were 
new vents which added their quota to the fiery 
flood. One of the most striking features of the 



of lava at a white heat shot up contin- 
uously in the ever varying forms of pil- 
lars, pyramids, cones, towers, turrets, 
spires, minarets, etc., while the descend- 
ing showers poured in one incessant cat- 
aract of fire upon the rim of the crater 
down its burning throat and over the 
surrounding area.*' 

Had the quantity of gas evolved been 
less, the material might have remained 
liquid lava, as in the Hawaiian flows, and 
hardened into solid rock on cooling; but 
as it was, the rock-forming constituents 
of the magma were completely disrupted 
by the bubbles of escaping gas and 
blown into fine fragments which, on cool- 
ing, became ash and pumice similar to 
that of the typical explosive eruption. 

RED-HOT ASH ROLLS DOWN THE VALLEY 
LIKE A LIQUID 

Soon after reaching the surface, the 
tumbling rolling mass of glowing frag- 
ments must have begun to move down- 
grade toward the foot of the Valley. 
Aided by the quantity of gas that was 
still escaping from its substance, the 
fiery sand behaved like a liquid, adjust- 
ing itself closely to the gradient of 
its bed. 

A dozen miles down the Valley the red- 
hot flood encountered a belt of morainic 
hills that to a certain extent dammed its 
advance. But it quickly found a way 
around among these, seeking everywhere 
the lowest notch and flowing through it 
in response to gravity, almost as readily 
as a flood of water would have done. 

In this way it continued down the 
Valley for 15 miles (counting its starting 
place as Novarupta and the Pass) before 
it finally came to a stop.* After its for- 
ward motion had ceased, it continued to 
be agitated for a time by internal ex- 
plosions, as evidenced by the craters 
which in places honeycomb its surface. 

Valley is the close coincidence between the area 
of activity and the boundaries of the sandflow. 
It is not unlikely that the contribution of fresh 
magma from the lower vents supplied an impor- 
tant part of the material in the lower portion of 
the Valley. 



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284 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by J. D. Sayre 



A LITTLE SPUTTERING MUD POT 



Such phenomena are common in the Yellowstone Park, but by reason of the high temperatures in the 
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, they occur only where rain water that has run into small fumaroles 
is churned into mud. After a few days they become fumaroles again (see text, page 239). 



THE EXPLOSION OF NOVARUPTA 

The largest of the vents contributing 
to the Valley flood was probably Nova- 
rupta. Its action may perhaps have 
been more violently explosive than the 
others; at any rate, before the hot sand 
flow had fully settled down, Novarupta 
passed over into the paroxysmal activity 
of the typical explosive volcano. 

Great blocks of red-hot lava ten feet 
long were hurled high in air, while glow- 
ing bombs nearly a yard in diameter were 
fired thousands of feet aloft clear over 
Falling Mountain to the far slopes of 
Mageik. Whether these large bombs 
could have been seen through the black 
cloud of vapor and fine ash given off with 
them is uncertain, but if they were vis- 
ible their sky-rocket courses must have 
formed one of the most spectacular fea- 
tures of the whole eruption. 



OPENING OF KATMAI AND THE OTHER 
VOLCANOES 

What was going on at Katmai and at 
the other old volcanoes during this early 
part of the eruption, we have no means of 
knowing. It is not likely that they could 
have been altogether quiet, but they were 
not active enough to leave behind dis- 
cernible evidence of the fact among the 
mass of ejecta from Novarupta and the 
other Valley vents. 

It is not improbable that the craters of 
Mageik and Martin had already opened, 
presumably with some explosive accom- 
paniments which would have been re- 
corded as considerable eruptions if not 
overshadowed by other activities of 
greater magnitude. 

At all events Katmai must certainly 
have been preparing for its great explo- 
sions. Of the nature of these prepara- 



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A HYPOTHETICAL CHRONICLE OF THE ERUPTION 



285 



tions, we have some inkling from the 
character of the material thrown out, but 
many of the questions we most wish to 
answer are beyond our reach. 

Among the most interesting and signif- 
icant of these questions are the reasons, 
first, for the delay of the great explosions 
until after the Valley eruptions, and, 
second, for their beginning promptly 
after the extrusion of the incandescent 
sand. 

We should have expected that Katmai 
would either have been set off by the 
shock of the bursting of the Valley or, 
having survived that cataclysm, would 
have waited until some new cause pulled 
the trigger to set off its magazine of 
accumulated destructiveness. But the 
mixture of the ejecta shows that before 
Novarupta closed its period of explosions, 
Katmai began its paroxysm with a vio- 
lence that far eclipsed anything that had 
preceded. 

SUMMARY OF THE EVENTS OF THE 
ERUPTION 

We do not understand the mechanism 
of such explosions well enough to add 
much to the account given in the early 
chapters. In'closing, therefore, we shall 
merely summarize the events of the erup- 
tion in the order of their occurrence, for 
convenience of reference: 

(i) A peaceful valley, covered with 
trees and grass, lying among dormant 
volcanoes. 

(2) Premonitory symptoms, especially 
earthquakes, sufficient to warn the 
natives. 

U, (3) Rock fall from Falling Mountain, 
early June, 1912. 



(4) Pouring out of the great hot sand- 
flow from fissures in the Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes and its branches, cov- 
ering 53 square miles to an estimated 
average depth of 100 feet. 

(5) The Smokes of the Valley begin 
their operation, perhaps coincident with 
the sandflow. 

(6) Explosive activity begins at Nova- 
rupta; about one-half of a cubic mile of 
coarse pumice thrown out over an area 
10 to 15 miles in diameter, overlapping 
with the explosion of Katmai. 

(7) Opening of craters of Martin and 
Mageik. (Sequence doubtful.) 

(8) The Mageik and other landslides. 
(Sequence doubtful.) 

(9) June 6th, i p.m. The first of the 
major explosions of Mount Katmai; re- 
sponsible for first layer of gray ash. 

(10) June 6th, 11 p.m. Second major 
explosion; ^cond layer of ash (terra- 
cotta). 

(11) June 7th, 10.40 p.m. Third ma- 
jor explosion; third layer of ash (gray). 

(12) Fourth major explosion. Fourth 
layer of ash (yellow). 

(13) Cap layers of fine red mud thrown 
out by Katmai. 

(14) Katmai Mud Flow. (Sequence 
doubtful.) 

(15) A condition of great but gradu- 
ally subsiding activity, the interior of the 
crater retaining an incandescent heat, 
manifested by red reflections on the 
clouds as late as July 21st. 

(16) The end of the explosive stage, 
followed by a quiet evolution of vapor in 
great quantity from Katmai, Martin, 
Mageik, Trident, and the Valley until 
the present time. 



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XXII 



WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



Beyond a reconstruction of the events 
of the eruption lies the problem of inter- 
preting the subterranean disturbance re- 
sponsible for the outbreaks observed at 
the surface. This is the real task of the 
volcanologist. 

Until he has a clear idea of what goes 
on in the depths, it is impossible for him 
to understand, much less to predict, the 
outbursts at the surface. It is not the 
province of this book to develop an ex- 
tensive theoretical discussion. Yet there 
are certain very significant facts that are 
apt to be overlooked unless they are con- 
sidered in the light of the deductions to 
which they give rise. 

Along with the impression of tremen- 
dous size which dominates everyone who 
looks into Katmai Crater, there comes to 
any thoughtful observer a question as to 
the fate of the enormous quantity of ma- 
terial that once occupied the stupendous 
hole in the top of the volcano. This 
may strike the reader as a sup)erfluous 
query. Were not the great explosions 
powerful enough to blow the old moun- 
tain to atoms? Probably they were, but 
even a cursory examination shows that 
what happened was far more complex 
than the mere blasting away of the old 
rock. 

ROCK OF THE ORIGINAL MOUNTAIN TOP 
DISAPPEARED UTTERLY 

If the old mountain top had simply 
been blown off by explosions beneath, 
the slopes would be littered with the de- 
bris and one would find great chunks of 
it scattered about the crater. The two 
cubic miles of rock missing from the 
mountain, if spread evenly around the 
vent for lo miles in every direction, 
would make a layer i6 feet deep. 

No such quantity of material could be 
concealed among the ash layers. As a 
matter of fact, the total thickness of the 



entire deposit of ejecta of all sorts at the 
base of the mountain is less than that 
amount. 

We had expected, as a matter of course, 
that when we reached the volcano we 
should find great rocks, which had been 
heaved out by the explosions, and per- 
haps the most surprising thing observed 
on our first visit was the fine grain of 
the deposits, right up to the volcano. 
Everything was '* blown to smithereens.*' 
In the ash and pumice, which compose 
the bulk of the deposit, the fragments 
seldom exceed six inches in diameter, 
the largest observed hardly reaching a 
foot in length. 

Of the old mountain top no large 
pieces remain. Fragments of any size 
are comparatively scarce and seldom 
exceed a hen*s egg in dimensions. All 
told, they would make only an insignif- 
icant fraction of the former summit. 

ROCK OF OLD MOUNTAIN VERY DIFFERENT 
FROM NEW LAVA 

It happens that the rock of the old 
mountain can be distinguished from the 
new lava at a glance. The mountain 
was built up entirely of flows of dark 
colored basic andesite, containing 60 
per cent of silica. But the lava of this 
eruption was a white, acid rhyolite 
with 75 per cent silica (see page 290). 
This conspicuous difference makes it 
easy to follow in detail the action of the 
new magma on the old mountain. 

There can be little doubt that the 
present hollow crater was originally oc- 
cupied entirely by dark colored rock 
relatively poor in silica. The whole stub 
of the mountain as it stands to-day 
consists exclusively of the ends of an- 
cient lava flows radiating from the 
former summit. 

As the lava at the head of a flow must, 
almost necessarily, be the same as at 



287 



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288 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



its tip, the stub furnishes certain evi- 
dence of the character of the original 
summit. All the old lava is the same 
dark colored rock and there is no trace 
of the new white lava in the crater wall. 
The whole of the two cubic miles must, 
therefore, once have been filled by old 
dark lava. 

This conclusion brings out the diffi- 
culty of the situation. If there were two 
cubic miles of dark rock in the beginning, 
and if only a fraction of it is to be found 
in the deposits, the rock of the old moun- 
tain was not merely removed, it has to 
a large extent utterly disappeared. It 
could not have vanished into thin air. 

Only two other methods of displace- 
ment seem possible: the whole summit 
may have caved in, slumping down into 
the void left by the extrusion of new 
magma; or, the new magma rising in 
the throat may have melted up the old 
rock. 

COULD THE OLD MOUNTAIN TOP HAVE 

BEEN SWALLOWED UP IN THE 

BOWELS OF THE EARTH? 

For a whole mountain to slump away 
and be swallowed up into the bowels 
of the earth seems a catastrophe of 
incredible magnitude. Such an event 
would undermine our instinctive con- 
fidence in the solidity of the earth's 
crust on which we live. Yet just that 
process has been evoked in explanation 
of the famous Crater Lake of Oregon. 
And certainly it is quite conceivable that 
the emission of a vast quantity of ash 
might leave a cavity below big enough to 
receive the superincumbent mountain. 

Subsidence of exactly this character 
occurred on a small scale in the case 
of Novarupta, after its paroxysm. As 
described in Chapter xix, the rock for 
half a mile round about is all broken to 
pieces by faults traversing it in many 
directions. In every one of these, the 
ground sankon the side toward the crater. 

This means that Novarupta has settled 
below its former level, perhaps more than 
loo feet. Subsidence in this case was 
delayed, as would be expected, till 



after the close of the eruption. This is 
proved by the fact that all the ash layers, 
as well as the rock, are cut by the faults. 

NO EVIDENCE OF SUBSIDENCE 

But, according to eye witnesses, the 
top of Katmai had already disappeared 
in the early stages of its explosion. Of 
this we have independent testimony from 
two sources, in the stories of the natives 
of Katmai Village and of Savonoski, 
as detailed on page 17. 

The faults around Novarupta are 
straight lines, which crisscross over a 
considerable area. If subsidence of this 
type had occurred in Katmai, the result 
would have been a ragged irregular hole, 
not a clean-cut circular crater. Quite 
apart from subsidence, it would be ex- 
pected that the terrific impact of the 
explosion would have cracked open the 
old mountain, opening fissures that 
would be seen radiating in every direc- 
tion. 

But not a break occurs in the crater 
walls and there is no sign of any fracture 
of the original contours of the mountain 
slopes. It seems improbable that sub- 
sidence of the proportions necessary to 
form an abyss like Katmai could have 
taken place without the formation of 
some faults that would radiate beyond 
the crater walls. 

Another difficulty with the hypoth- 
esis of crater subsidence in the case of 
Katmai is that it involves definite and 
rather improbable assumptions regard- 
ing the shape of the magma chamber 
beneath the volcano. It would mean 
that the shape as well as the size of the 
cavity created by the eruption corre- 
sponded with the present crater; also 
that the reservoir lay close to the surface. 
Otherwise subsidence could not have pro- 
duced a sharp, clean-cut hole like the 
present crater. 

If the cavity lay deep down below the 
mountain, the strong roof would sag 
gently rather than break sharply as a 
thin roof might. A magma chamber of 
the proportions necessary does not 
accord with the type generally supposed 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
HARD BAKED CRUST AROUND A SMALL FUMAROLE 
The issuing steam, being perfectly clear, is invisible in the picture. 



XIII 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
THE INTERIOR OF A FUMAROLE LAID BARE 
A vent like that on the preceding page dissected by a stream. The darkening colors measure the increasing 

heat toward the throat. 

XIV 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



289 



to underlie volcanoes. The reservoir 
commonly assumed is rather of the kind 
indicated by the subsidence around 
Novarupta. 

We must, therefore, dismiss the theory 
of crater subsidence as highly improb- 
able, for it seems hardly possible that 
such a process could have occurred with- 
out leaving more tangible evidence of 
the fact.^ 

MUCH OF OLD MOUNTAIN EATEN 
AWAY BY NEW MAGMA 

The third possible explanation may 
likewise appear improbable, yet it has 
the merit of being supported by a great 
deal of evidence of the most unequivocal 
sort. This is, that the old mountain was 
corrosively attacked from beneath by the 
new magma and in a large measure melt- 
ed away or, better, dissolved by it. 

All stages in the process of digestion are 
abundantly represented in the fragments 
blown out by the explosions. Almost 
every piece of pumice one picks up shows 
evidence of a remarkable, composite 
character. Everywhere, black fragments 
of the old mountain top are embedded 
in a matrix of the new white lava. 
Most commonly these remnants of the 
original rock appear as conspicuous 
black bands alternating with the light- 
covered matrix (see page 291). 

The condition of these fragments 
shows that digestion of the old mountain 
was surprisingly thorough. Large pieces 
of unaltered rock are nowhere to be found ; 
seldom do they exceed an inch in diam- 
eter, commonly they are much smaller. 

ALL STAGES IN THE SOLUTION OF 

OLD ROCK SHOWN IN THE 

FRAGMENTS EJECTED 

When examined carefully either with 
the naked eye or, after sectioning, under 

^ Slumping away of the unstable walls left by 
the explosion has undoubtedly played a large 
part in determining the present shape of the pit, 
and it is still occurring at frequent intervals. 
But this process is of insignificant proportions as 
compared with the disappearance of the whole 
mountain top in the depths of the earth, as con- 
templated by the hypothesis. 



the microscope, the included fragments 
show all possible stages in the: penetra- 
tion of the old rock by the new magma. 
In some blocks only the corners are 
rounded off where dissolved. Others 
are penetrated by narrow tongues of 
white magma. In still others the new 
magma and old rock are mixed together 
in the most intimate fashion, until the 
whole consists of the old minerals lying 
in a ground-mass which, while retaining 
the dark color of the original rock, 
nevertheless has an index of refraction 
characteristic of the new magma. 

In other cases, all that remains are 
some of the old crystals. The faces of 
these are corroded in such a way as to 
show plainly that they were in process 
of solution when thrown out and cooled 
down.^ 

ASH AT KODIAK CARRIES MANY CRYSTALS 
FROM OLD MOUNTAIN 

The same duplex character is main- 
tained with astonishing consistency 
throughout the ejecta wherever found. 
This remarkable feature was first rec- 
ognized by Dr. W. J. McCaughey, a 
petrologist particularly expert in the 
identification of dust particles, to whom 
I submitted samples of the various types 
of ejecta. 

It developed that McCaughey was 
suspicious for a time that the samples of 
ash I had given him were ** fixed.*' He 
found that the most abundant compo- 
nents were fragments of rhyolitic glass 
(from the new white lava) and crystals 
of labradorite. As these do not belong 
together, McCaughey felt very much 
as a naturalist would, if told that some 
newly discovered island was inhabited 
by giraffes and polar bears. 

Except that all the samples from what- 

* Even where none of the matrix of the rock 
remains with these crystals, there can be no ques- 
tion of their derivation from the old wall rock. 
They are for the most part plagioclase feldspar 
of the variety known as labradorite, exactly like 
those found in the andesite of the old mountain. 
The feldspar of the new magma, on the other 
hand, is of very different character, not to be con- 
fused with the labradorite of the old mountain. 



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290 

r 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by £. L. Wishard 



NEW AND OLD LAVAS FROM KATMAI 



Left: A very large piece of white pumice composed of new rhyolitic magma, silica content 75 per 
cent. Right : Two views of a column of old black andesitic lava from a flow near the base of the vol- 
cano, silica content 60 per cent. One-half natural size. 



ever source, whether Kodiak, Katmai 
Village, or the foot of the volcano, showed 
the sane mixture, he would probably 
have rejected them unceremoniously as 
frauds. My reputation was not cleared 
until thin sections of the larger pUmice 
stones, which n eanwhile had been pre- 
pared, were examinini with the micro- 
scope. Ihen the whole story of the 



dissolution of the old mountain top in 
the new magma was laid bare. 

MUCH OF THE OLD ROCK PERMEATED WITH 
GASES FROM THE NEW MAGMA 

In the larger pieces of pumice there is 
a marked difference in the density of the 
white ground mass and of the inter- 
vening black bands. The new lava is 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



291 



Photograph by E. L. Wishard 



MIXED PUMICE FROM KATMAI 



The white material is new lava, the black, old. Portions of the old lava in process of solution when 
solidification occurred are strewn through the white mass. Natural size. 



generally much more porous, indicating 
that it had a much greater content of 
expansible gases. There is evidence also 
that the new component was more fluid. 
This is as would be expected. Compare 
the fluted cornice structure of lava in 
Novarupta (see page 296). 

Yet even the black bands are very 
much more vesicular than the old lava 
from which they were derived. These 
dark masses as well as the light material 
often frothed up into a pumice. When 
this happened they also must have been 
heavily charged with gases that had 
diffused into them from the new magma. 

The thoroughness with which the 
fragments are torn apart points in the 
same direction. If the mass had been 
less completely permeated, the heavier, 
inert, unaffected portions would have 
been thrown out in large unaltered 
blocks, such as we had expected to find 
j)n the mountain sides. . ' 

The fact that unaltered pieces of the 



old mountain are so small and so scarce 
is eloquent testimony of the complete- 
ness with which the exploding mass was 
penetrated by the gas from the new 
magma. 

In the thoroughness with which its 
products were disrupted, Katmai stands 
at the very extreme of explosive volca- 
noes. Very rarely do all the products 
of an eruption show anything like such 
a fine degree of subdivision as the ash 
of Katmai. 

TEMPERATURE OF THE NEW MAGMA 
LOW — LESS THAN I,000°C. 

The thoroughness of permeation by 
the new magma raises the question of 
the means by which that penetration was 
accomplished. As will be seen, part of 
the old rock was dissolved in the pool of 
lava that occupied the top of the moun- 
tain during the eruption. This will be 
discussed in its turn. But before the 
magma reached the crater it had to eat 



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292 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



I'botograph by Jasper U. bay re 
THE INTERIOR OF ONE OF THE CRATERS 

The distorted perspective makes it impossible to get a satisfactory photograph of the interior of 

these yawning pits. 



A LINE OF SMALL CRATERS ALONG A FISSURE 

These miniature craters show the relations of the chains of volcanoes along great world fissures. 
The presence of numerous lines of craters strung along fissure lines strongly suggests that the fractures 
are fundamental, reaching down to the magma chamber below. 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



293 



its way through an unknown but cer- 
tainly considerable thickness of old rock, 
forming the solid summit of the moun- 
tain. 

Was the rising magma so hot that it 
could melt away the old rock without 
being chilled to the point of solidification? 
Assuredly not. There is good evidence 
that its temperature was low, probably 
lower than the melting point of the old 
rock. 

It so happens that the new lava con- 
tains crystals of quartz, which is a first- 
class ** geological thermometer.*' In con- 
sequence of the properties of quartz, '* we 
can be fairly sure that a temperature of 
less then 1 ,000° prevailed " ^ in the magma. 

As the melting point of the old rock can 
hardly have been much below i,ooo°c., 
and may have been considerably higher, 
it is clear that melting (in the strict 
sense) can not have occurred to any 
great extent. What happened was, 
rather, a process of solution. It was the 
enormous surcharge of gas carried by the 
magma that permitted it to attack the 
old rock, dissolving it somewhat as a 
lump of sugar dissolves in water or in an 
unsaturated sirup.* 

ALL THE ASH COULD BE PACKED INTO 
THE CRATER 

A comparison of the material thrown 
out from Katmai with the size of the hole 
in the mountain gives further significant 
information concerning the nature of the 
eruption. 

The volume of all the material ejected, 
as it lies on the ground, is estimated as 
4.75 cubic miles (see page 29). Deter- 
minations of the specific gravity of a 

' Fenner, Jour. Geology, vol. 28, p. 602, 1920. 
Under atmospheric conditions quartz cannot ex- 
ist above 870** C. At that temp>erature it changes 
to tridymite. The inversion point would proba- 
bly be raised by the great pressure to which the 
magma was presumably subjected. "A thick- 
ness of 20,000 feet of rock strata might possibly 
raise it 100**, but we can be fairly sure that a 
temp>erature of less tharf 1,000** prevailed." 

* Chemists draw a sharp distinction between 
melting and solution. A mineral melts over a 
fire only at a definite and constant temp>erature, 
but it may be dissolved in greater or less degree 



Photograph by E. L. VV'ishard 

FROTH FROM THE LAVA LAKE AND AN 
EQUAL WEIGHT OF GRANITE 

The two have the same chemical composition 
and were derived from similar magmas. If the 
pumice had solidified in the depths of the earth it 
would have become granite. Comparison of the 
densities of the two show that the pumice liber- 
ated twelve times its own volume of gas. 

number of representative samples of dif- 
ferent degrees of fineness average 1.03. 
That is to say, the ash is slightly heavier 
than water. Samples of the rock of the 
old mountain uniformly have a spe- 
cific gravity of about 2.5. If we may 
assume that this represents the original 
density of the mountain top, we can 
compute the volume the ash would 

at any temperature, depending on the composi- 
tion of the solvent. The new magma was in 
reality a mutual solution of many rock-forming 
constituents, together with quantities of volatile 
components, steam, acid gases, and other sub- 
stances. Such a complex solution remains liquid 
at a temperature far below the melting point of 
the solid lava formed after it has been extruded 
and its vapors have been jjermitted to escape. 
Similarly, an excess of gases in a magma would 
give it a power of dissolving old rock far beyond 
what would be expected if its temperature alone 
were taken into account. 



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294 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



pnotograph Dy k. r. urtggt 



FUMAROLES AT THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF BAKED MOUNTAIN 

One of the most active areas in the Valley. The temperature as measured was not especially high, 
but the quantity of heat delivered was enormous. The smoke of one of these f umaroles had a curious 
pink tinge, visible in every light. 



A GROUP OF THE SMALL FUMAROLES KNOWN TO THE BOYS AS PIMPLES 

The moisture of the emanations cSatches blowing sand and builds up the pile. The forested slopes 
beyond the limits of the sandflow are the base of Katolinat. 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



295 



occupy if compressed to the density of 
the old rock, and compare directly the 
ash with the amount of rock missing 
from the mountain. The difference will 
thus give us a rough estimate of the 
quantity of new magma that rose from 
the depths during the eruption. 

A simple multiplication brings out the 
astonishing information that the mass of 
the material thrown out was substan- 
tially equivalent to that of the old rock 
missing from the mountain.* In other 
words, the whole of the ash could be 
packed into the crater, if it were com- 
pressed to the density it occupied before 
exploding! 

If this comparison is valid, it must 
mean that little additional magma came 
up from the depths during the explosion. 
The greater part of the huge amount of 
new material in the ejecta must already 
have been present in the mountain before 
the explosion began. 

A PORTION OF THE OLD MOUNTAIN SEEMS 
TO HAVE SUNK INTO THE DEPTHS 

If the ash deposits as they stand are 
the substantial equivalent of the material 
that formed the old mountain top just 
before the explosion, the problem of the 
disappearance of the old mountain top 
takes on a new aspect. 

It is clear that the greater part of the 

» The computation is as follows: Cubage, ash, 
4.75 cubic miles— 25,800,000,000 cubic yards of 
density 1.03. Rock blown off the old mountain: 
11,000,000,000 cubic yards of density 2.5. 

II .O X 2.5 27.5 
25.8Xi.03"56:6"'^3 per cent. 

That is to say, the hole actually appears 3 per 
cent bigger than the ash that came from it. 

The fact that these figures so nearly correspond 
is, however, of no particular significance, because 
each term of the proportion is subject to large 
and uncontrollable errors. Nevertheless, the 
estimates are unbiased. They were made inde- 
pendently by different persons, with no thought 
of their ever being compared in this fashion. 
Each was, moreover, checked in every way 
possible. 

The estimate of ashfall was made by summing 
the contours of ash of different depths. The data 
were not sufficient to permit more than a very 
rough estimate. 



ash is derived from new magma, decided- 
ly less than half being directly traceable 
to the old dark rock. That is to say, a 
considerable portion of the old rock 
must have been replaced before the ex- 
plosion. What became of it? 

How did the new magma squeeze into 
a solid mountain? Dissolving up the old 
rock does not eliminate its materials. 
After solution was complete the complex 
must have occupied nearly as much space 
as the two components had before inter- 
mingling. 

Even a half-and-half mixture would 
have required the addition of two cubic 
miles of new magma, enough to double 
the height of the mountain. That the 
outer configuration of the mountain was 
not materially altered before the begin- 
ning of the explosions, we may be sure. 

There seems only one possibility: old 
rock to an amount equivalent to the rising 
magma must have been displaced down- 
ward. The new gas-charged liquid mag- 
ma was undoubtedly less dense than 
the old solid rock. Consequently, any 
blocks of the latter which might become 
detached from the roof or wall of a 
chamber filled with the new liquid mag- 
ma would certainly sink, if given time 
enough. 

A mass of magma pressed upward with 
great force, and penetrating the joint 
planes of the adjacent rock, would almost 

The cubage of the rock carried off the moun- 
tain top originally estimated by Maynard has 
been independently computed by Sayre, Hagel- 
barger, and myself from the reconstruction of the 
mountain. Maynard's figure was found to be 
close to the mean of the other estimates. 

The specific gravity assumed for the old moun- 
tain top would probably hold, if the mountain at 
the time of the eruption had been composed en- 
tirely of old rock. Since, as will appear, it must 
have been to a large extent filled with new 
magma, the figure given is undoubtedly too 
high. Allowance for this error would make the 
quantity of ash somewhat larger than the hole — 
perhaps as much as 10 per cent. But it would 
not vitiate the general conclusion. 

It cannot be held, therefore, that nothing at all 
was thrown out except the disrupted fragments of 
the mountain, yet it is safe to conclude that 
extrusion of Additional matter played at most 
only a small part in the eruption. 



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296 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



PhotORraph by R. F. Griggs 
CORNICE STRUCTURE IN A BLOCK OF LAVA ON THE PLUG OF NOVARUPTA 

It is evident that flowage took place after the block was broken loose. It is noticeable that the 
darker bands of old lava were less fluid than the alternating light bands of new lava, for they alone 
oozed out. 



MOUNT CERBERUS LYING ACROSS THE HEAD OF THE VALLEY LIKE A CROUCHING 

ANIMAL GUARDING THE ENTRANCE TO HADES 

In the foreground a closer view of one of the lines of fumaroles shown on page 234. 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAl? 



297 



inevitably break off loose blocks. In 
this way, the whole interior of the moun- 
tain could have been gradually replaced 
without any external disturbance.* 

There is no means of estimating how 
large a part such "overhead stoping*' 
may have taken in the removal of the 
old mountain. But it can hardly be 
doubted that a significant fraction of the 
missing dark rock is to be thus accounted 
for. Perhaps it was the major factor in 
its disappearance. 

It is interesting to recall in this con- 
nection that the banded lava in the 
plug of Novarupta (see page 240) and 
the sand of the Valley show the same 
dual character as the ash from Katmai. 

Novarupta and the other Valley vents 
were undoubtedly fed from the same 
magma chamber as Katmai. The syn- 
chrony of the eruptions leaves no doubt 
of that. What would be more probable 
than that the andesitic components in 
their lava were due to contamination by 
fragments of old rock from Katmai in 
process of sinking into the depths ? ^ 

EXPLOSIONS APPEAR TO HAVE STARTED AT 

THE SUMMIT OF THE MOUNTAIN — NOT 

IN THE DEPTHS 

The remarkably fine fragmentation of 
the ash from Katmai leads to another 
deduction of much importance to an 

•This theory of "overhead sloping" has been 
elaborately worked out by R. A. Daly (see his 
"Igneous Rocks and their Origin"). As this is 
still a matter of controversy in some quarters, I 
have hesitated to follow it in a book of this sort, 
whose aim is to avoid taking sides on disputed 
questions. But the facts observed in the field 
almost compel a statement in terms of the theory 
of overhead stoping. 

^ Fenner thinks that the admixture of basic 
materials in the deposits of the Valley was prob- 
ably due to the digestion of glacial bowlders which 
covered the Valley floor. But this explanation 
cannot be applied to the banded lava in the 
throat of Novarupta which, though never sub- 
jected to contamination from outside sources, 
shows fully as much admixture of andesitic com- 
ponents from old lava as any other. 

Fenner's reason for supposing that the basic 
components were derived from glacial bowlders 
is that, "The limited degree of mixing of solutions 
shown by these specimens hardly permits us to 



understanding of the volcanic mecha- 
nism. My preconception of a volcanic 
explosion was that the magma, heavily 
charged with gases, bored its way up- 
ward until it reached a place where the 
weight of rock above was less than the 
expansive force of the gases confined 
below, when the lid was blown off and 
all the magma accessible to the newly 
opened orifice frothed up explosively. 

The series of explosions which make 
up an eruption was supposed to be due 
to the rise of successive portions of the 
magma body through the conduit. This 
is the view generally held. 

It is plain that no such theory fits the 
facts here. If the magma rising in the 
throat of the volcano had possessed any- 
thing like the explosive energy it later 
manifested, the inert crust over the top 
of the mountain would have been thrown 
off in short order. If this had occurred, 
remnants of the shell would certainly be 
found beneath the ash layers. But as a 
matter of fact, *'the bottom of the deposit 
seems actually to contain less of the old 
rock than any succeeding stratum.'** 

A MOLTEN LAKE IN THE CRATER 
AT ONE STAGE 

Not only were the explosions delayed 
until after the crater was unroofed, but 

suppose that the solvent action was long con- 
tinued." (Op. cit. p. 583.) 

As a matter of fact, however, we have no real 
knowledge of the time element in the case. We 
only know that digestion was incomplete. Many 
able authorities deny that assimilation can occur 
at all, except perhaps on a very small scale. 

It is only the absolutely inescapable character 
of the evidence that has induced both Fenner 
and myself to assign so much importance to it 
here. If, then, a magma is but rarely sufficiently 
charged with surplus energy to attack foreign 
rocks on a large scale, it might be argued a 
fortiori that when assimilation does occur it pro- 
ceeds slowly. Yet it is clear that if all the as- 
similation observed occurred during the brief 
period of the eruption, it must have been a rapid 
process. 

But, below ground, no time limits are assign- 
able, for no one can guess how long the present 
outbreak may have been brewing. The digestion 
of the old rock may have been going on below 
the region for centuries, for aught we know. 

" Fenner, op. cit. p. 603. 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



299 



there is evidence that even then the 
magma lay for a time as a comparatively 
quiet pool in the hollowed-out summit. 
This is shown by the condition of some of 
the fragments in the ash deposits, in 
which the bubbles are spherical and very 
large in comparison with the solid matter. 
Such pieces of pumice, though of course 
composed of the same constituents as 
the dense lava, are extremely light (see 
page 293). 

Their spherical bubbles show that 
the escaping gases were free to expand 
equally in every direction. They must 
have formed on the surface of the molten 
magma, representing, in fact, frozen foam 
from the lava lake. Their extreme in- 
flation makes them exceedingly brittle — 
so brittle that they are difficult to pre- 
serve. These pieces are rather hard to 
find, but their scarcity is perhaps due 
merely to the ease with which they were 
destroyed in the hurtling hail of falling 
pumice.* 

Besides froth, there are materials of a 
denser character, representing scum and 
chilled crusts on the surface of the lava 
lake. In these are frozen many inclu- 
sions — pumice, separate crystals, old 
rock, other pieces of volcanic glass, and 
even fragments of sandstone that must 
have come up from the depths. The 
xondition of these materials shows that 
the lava was still actively assimilating 
foreign bodies at the time it was thrown 
out and chilled. 

This permits another step in the in- 
terpretation of the eruption. The crater 
walls shaken by the initial explosions 
seem to have collapsed and tumbled into 
the lava lake, there to be broken to bits 

• Highly inflated pumice of this sort furnishes 
an illuminating index to the quantity of gas that 
may be liberated from a surcharged magma. It 
will be remembered that this magma has the 
same composition as granite; if it had solidified 
deep down in the earth it would have become 
granite. A comparison of the volume of the 
piece pictured with that of the equal weight of 
granite shows that the magma liberated about a 
dozen times its own volume of gases! No wonder 
a violent explosion ensued when the gas let go. 

" Fenner supposes that most of the assimila- 
tion of the old rock occurred in the open lake, 



and stirred through the mass by the 
turbulence of the swirling lava.^® 

MAGMA DID NOT EXPLODE IMMEDIATELY 
ON REACHING THE SURFACE 

The even stratification of the ash lay- 
ers shows that activity was intermittent, 
waxing and waning many times. This 
fact is likewise established by the testi- 
mony of those who heard the explosions, 
which kept up for about 60 hours. What 
now is the explanation of this succession 
of explosions? Why did not the whole 
lava lake go off at once in a single gigan- 
tic blast? 

Evidently the magma did not froth 
up immediately with explosive violence, 
on its emergence from the depths. It 
paused long enough (before and after 
reaching the open air) to take up the 
great quantity of foreign rock which we 
find in the ash layers. Clearly the 
enormous pressure of the included gases 
developed at the time of the explosions 
was not present at first.^* 

This again runs contrary to our pre- 
conceptions of a volcano — at least to 
my own. I had supposed that explo- 
sions were largely a simple physical proc- 
ess: that the magma, heavily charged 
with gases under enormous pressure, 
rising from the depths to a region of less 
pressure, suddenly released the gases 
with a violent explosion — exactly as a 
bottle of Vichy pops when the cork is 
pulled. 

Now evidence is supplied showing that 
this analogy breaks down. Instead of 
exploding immediately upon rising from 
the depths, the magma paused long 
enough to complete the process of assimi- 

i,e. during the period of eruption. It seems to 
me, however, that the slow stoping away of the 
old rock before the crater was unroofed must 
have been at least as important an agency. 

It is difficult to see how a very great quantity 
of foreign matter could be taken into the molten 
lake in the few hours of visible activity without 
chilling it to the point of solidification. The 
question, however, turns largely on the supply of 
energy necessary and this is a matter that is as 
yet obscure. 

" This idea was developed by Fenner, op. cit. 
pp. 602-604. 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



301 



lation, before the gases began to come 
off explosively. The bottle did not pop 
until some time after the cork was pulled, 
proving that the liberation of gases must 
be due to factors other than those sup- 
posed. 

Here we must stop. The discovery 
of the mechanism of gas liberation in 
the exploding magma is the next great 
problem awaiting solution by the vol- 
canologist. At present, we can not 
discuss it intelligently. Nevertheless, 
recognition of the occurrence of a delay 
in reaching the explosive condition gives 
a new point of attack on the problem of 
the volcano.^ 

WHAT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE MAGMA 
CHAMBER BENEATH THE REGION? 

One other question remains to be con- 
sidered, and to the geologist this is the 
most important of all. What were the 
movements of the magma in the depths, 
that resulted in the observed eruptions 
at the surface? What is the nature 
of the magma chamber below the region? 
Our knowledge upon these points is so 
limited that we can do little more than 
state the problem. 

Outbreaks so extensive imply that 
the magma approached the surface 
closely over a large area. The activity 
from Katmai to Martin, from the axis of 
the range to the foot of the Valley, covers 
a territory about 15 miles square. The 
magma itself certainly came within range 
of the surface over most of this area. 
What was the character of the intrusion? 

SILL OR BATHOLITH? 

So far as the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes is concerned, there are two 
sharply contrasted possibilities: (i) The 
magma body may be a relatively thin 
sheet, an offshoot from the main body 
beneath the range of volcanoes, squeezed 
in between the sedimentary rocks under- 
lying the region — an intrusion of the 
sort known among geologists as a sill; 

"•Sec a suggestive paper entitled "The Devel- 
opment of Pressure in Magmas as a Result of 
Crystallization," by George W. Morey, Journal 



(2) it may be a very large body eating 
its way up directly from the depths — 
a batholith. 

Both these types of intrusion are 
common and important the world over. 
Molten magma is often pushed in be- 
tween strata of sedimentary rocks for 
long distances. The sills thus formed 
are sometimes of huge proportions, 
vertically as well as horizontally. Some 
are known which reach 1,000 feet in 
thickness and extend many miles. 

Solidified batholiths likewise play a 
very large part in the structure of the 
earth's crust. Most of the extensive 
granite regions of the world are batho- 
liths pushed up from profound depths. 
Familiar instances are the great moun- 
tain mass of Southeastern Alaska and 
British Columbia, which is a single bath- 
olith, and the Sierra Nevada in Califor- 
nia, which is another. 

The country directly adjacent to the 
present region contains a smaller ex- 
ample of just such a batholith in a gra- 
nitic area that extends northeastward for 
a number of miles from Iliuk Arm of 
Naknek Lake. 

In favor of the sill hypothesis, which 
has been suggested by Fenner, it may be 
said that this minimizes the subter- 
ranean disturbance which must be 
assumed. 

Most sills, to be sure, are different in 
composition from the lava here out- 
poured, being far less silicious — basalt- 
ic rather than granitic — but granite 
sills are not unknown. 

It is manifest that only a sill of un- 
usual thickness could have furnished 
the energy and materials for the erup- 
tion that occurred in the Valley. Not 
only was the magma that gave rise to the 
great sand flow poured out — of the 
order of a cubic mile, after inflation — 
but enough remained to keep all the 
fumaroles of the Valley going ever since. 
Sills big enough to sustain such tremen- 
dous drains with scant diminution are 
rarely met with. 

of the Washington Academy of Sciences. Vol. 
12, No. Q. IQ22. pp. 219-2.^0. 



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WHAT BECAME OF THE TOP OF KATMAI? 



303 



How a sill of sufficient thickness could 
make room for itself in the old rocks 
constitutes a puzzling problem. Such an 
intruded body must, of course, displace 
older rocks by an amount equal to its 
own volume. When the sill is close to 
the surface, as this body certainly is, it 
would be expected that the surface 
would be upheaved, and probably much 
broken, when the sill was squeezed in. 

But there is not the slightest indica- 
tion of surface disturbance around the 
Valley. The only faults certainly de- 
monstrable in the old rocks are those 
surrounding Novarupta, which occurred 
after the eruption, i.e., after the intru- 
sion was complete. As has been seen, 
they are connected with subsidence, not 
with upheaval. 

No appreciable changes of altitude oc- 
curred at the time of the eruption. The 
precise triangulation of the Coast and 
Geodetic Survey gives us information as 
to the elevation of the high peaks in 
1 908. These altitudes have been checked 
against many observations by our sur- 
veyors and found to be unchanged with- 
in the limits of a few feet. 

A further question arises as to the 
nature of the parent body from which 
the supposed sill originated. The mag- 
ma chamber giving rise to a sill must be 
of vastly greater proportions than its off- 
shoot. Otherwise sufficient propulsive 
force to crowd the intrusion into the old 
solid crust could not be developed. 

Finally, the most natural supposition 
concerning the dynamics of intrusion 
would be that the magma, rising in the 
fundamental fissure underlying the vol- 
canic axis, came to a place where resist- 
ance to lateral intrusion was less than 
to further vertical rise, and that a part of 
its mass was accordingly pushed out to 
form the sill imagined. Such action 
might be aided by the weight of the mag- 
ma column in the core of the volcano. 

The difficulty here is, that if we liken 
the interior of Katmai to a standpipe 
wherein a liquid magma was held at a 
level higher than the surrounding valleys, 
a break at the base would inevitably 



draw off the liquid and lower the level 
in the standpipe. The outflows in the 
Valley comprise about one quarter of the 
whole quantity of material thrown out. 

It would seem that the withdrawal of 
so large a fraction would almost nec- 
essarily relieve the pressure and drain the 
higher levels in the reservoir if it were 
small, thereby forestalling an outbreak 
from the summit. The fact that the ex- 
plosions were practically simultaneous 
would seem to forbid such an explana- 
tion of this case. 

But if we hypothecate a batholith 
rather than a sill, all these difficulties 
vanish. If an extremely large body of 
magma, tens of thousands of feet deep 
and covering many square miles, were 
eating its way toward the surface, out- 
breaks even of the magnitude of the 
Valley eruptions would not consume an 
appreciable fraction of the total energy 
and might not draw off the magma 
accumulated under Katmai. 

It would be much easier to think of the 
enormous amount of energy necessary 
for the observed assimilation of the old 
rock and for the explosions as concen- 
trated from a large, rather than a small, 
magma body. 

In the top of a batholithic mass of 
magma extending downward to immense 
depths, there would gradually accumu- 
late a heavy charge of gas due to rising 
bubbles. An eruption in such a sys- 
tem, once begun, would continue until 
the whole of the accumulated g£is had 
blown off. 

If it be granted that a batholith could 
gradually work its way upward by over- 
head stoping, it would approach close to 
the surface before giving any indication 
of its presence and then it would break 
through in depressions without disturb- 
ing the mountains round about, exactly 
as hiippened in the formation of the 
Valley. 

DECISION ON THEORETICAL QUESTIONS 
BEST DEFERRED 

It is unnecessary, however, for us to 
decide between these two hypotheses. 



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304 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Any opinion given now might look ri- 
diculous in the light of subsequent de- 
velopments. For the decision as to 
what may underlie the Katmai region 
will in reality be given by its behavior in 
the future. 

If the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes 
was produced merely by the injection of 
a sill, even of a very thick one, its fu- 
maroles will be short-lived. If, on the 
other hand, a batholith is really rising 
beneath the region, the activity will con- 
tinue indefinitely. We must, therefore, 
rest our case and leave the verdict to the 
future. 

With respect to the explosion of 
Katmai we are not so fortunate. That 
is a closed chapter; we cannot expect 
future developments in this crater to 
throw light on the many important 
problems whose solution is necessary to 



an understanding of the mechanism of a 
volcanic explosion. Yet a more in- 
tensive study of the data available would 
certainly give us a much clearer picture 
of the inner workings even of Katmai 
than we now possess. 

The prime purpose of the deductions 
suggested in the preceding paragraphs 
is not to set forth final conclusions con- 
cerning the points brought up, but rather 
to indicate the possible bearing of cir- 
cumstances which might otherwise pass 
unnoticed. 

The thesis of the chapter is, therefore, 
not to support any theory of the erup- 
tion, but to bring together a number of 
facts which must be taken intoaccount by 
any theory which is adopted, and to point 
out the unique opportunity presented by 
this eruption for gaining an understand- 
ing of the volcanic process in general. 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 

TAKING THE TEMPERATURE OF MOTHER EARTH 
The geophysicists with their thermo-couple working along a fissure. 



XV 



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Natural Color Photograph by Frank I. Jones 
PEACEFUL FOREST AND PELLUCID LAKE WITHIN A DOZEN MILES OF THE SMOKES 
The head of Naknek Lake from the shoulder of Katolinat. 

XVI 



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XXIII 

GEOGRAPHICAL AND BIOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS 
IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



While the principal object of the ex- 
peditions was, of course, the study of 
the volcanic phenomena discussed in 
previous chapters, as time permitted 
exploration was extended in to the sur- 
rounding country. These side trips were 
very profitable, for the region is alto- 
gether unknown — a blank on the map — 
and we were enabled to discover a num- 
ber of important geographic features, as 
well as to make observations on the bi- 
ology and geology of the country. 

It will be a matter of surprise to many 
readers to learn that there are fine forests 
within a few miles of the Ten Thousand 
Smokes. These escaped with little in- 
jury in the eruption, because the strong 
northwest wind which prevailed during 
the explosions carried the ash cloud off 
in the opposite direction toward Kodiak. 
Beyond the terminus of the sand flow the 
devastation rapidly decreases, and within 
five miles one enters a fine forest which is 
rapidly returning to normal conditions. 

THE CONIFEROUS FOREST-BORDER 
MIGRATING WESTWARD 

The Katmai district lies at the extreme 
western limit of the great Hudsonian 
coniferous forest, which stretches un- 
broken clear across the continent from 
Nova Scotia and Quebec. 

The dominant and most characteristic 
tree is the white spruce {Picea Cana- 
densis), but here, as in the Maritime 
Provinces, balsam poplar (Populus baU 
samifera) and paper birch (Betula Ken- 
aika), the Alaskan representative of the 
eastern canoe birch, are almost as abun- 
dant as the spruce. Around the head 
of Naknek Lake the spruces reach a con- 
siderable size (see pages 267 and 310), 
but within 25 miles to the west they thin 
out and disappear. 

The forest edge both here and at 
Kodiak challenged our interest, and led 



us to study the growth and reproduction 
of the trees, in an effort to' determine 
the factors which fixed the limit of tree 
growth at this particular point. 

In another paper I hope to present in 
detail the observations both on the main- 
land and around Kodiak. Here there is 
space only for the conclusions reached. 
There is no evidence that the forest mar- 
gin in this region is fixed by the rigors 
of the climate. 

The trees grow vigorously where es- 
tablished. They produce copious seed. 
Seedlings are abundant, and young trees, 
though greatly handicapped in starting 
by competition with other vegetation 
in possession of the soil, give clear 
evidence of being able to grow out be- 
yond the forest border. 

In short, the evidence indicates that 
the edge of the forest is not fixed but 
moving, that it has not reached its limit 
but is migrating out into the treeless 
country. The advance of the Hudso- 
nian forest on the northern slope of the 
peninsula is slow, but the coast forest 
around Kodiak is traveling westward 
very rapidly, so rapidly that it has 
advanced conspicuously since the Amer- 
ican occupation of the country. 

NAKNEK LAKE 

Naknek Lake is very irregular in shape, 
with steep shores and many picturesque 
rocky islands. It is between 40 and 50 
miles long and twelve miles wide. Unit- 
ed at the base into a broad expanse, it 
sends out from its head two long finger- 
like extensions, separated by a high 
mountain. 

One of these lobes, the Bay of Islands, 
is comparatively shallow and contains in 
its upper end scores of forest-clad granite 
islets. Another chain of islands is drawn 
across its mouth, effectually shutting out 
the seas which at times run up the lake. 



305 



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3o6 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by Frank I. Jonee 
MOUNT LA GORGE FROM THE COVE AT SAVONOSKI BASE CAMP 



Iliuk Arm, the other lobe, is cut off 
by a pair of long spits built out from the 
opposite shores at a period when the 
water stood about 60 feet higher than 
at present. With the recession of the 
lake level, these barriers, originally 
low sand bars, remain as high dikes, all 
but cutting it off as a separate body of 
water. 

Iliuk Arm is extremely deep. The 
boys were unable to find bottom with a 
300-foot line anywhere except close to 
shore. Since its surface is only 35 or 
40 feet above the sea, it is evident that 
the bottom of its bed lies far below sea 
level. 

As a consequence of its great depth, 
Iliuk Arm has clear-cut, rocky shores 
without the disfigurement of a wide 
fringe of marsh, which mars the beauty 
of many a fine lake. This portion of the 
lake, lying within the boundaries of the 
park, is set in between two beautiful 
mountains that rise directly out of the 
water. On the north tower the pink 
granite slopes of Mount La Gorce, 
3,000 feet above the water. 



VIEW FROM MOUNT KATOLINAT 

On the south. Mount Katolinat sweeps 
upward for almost a mile (4,700 feet) 
in a graceful concave curve, ending in 
a series of remarkable castellated pin- 
nacles. In contrast with its neighbor, 
Katolinat is carved out of sedimentary 
rocks. At the base are fine-grained sand- 
stones and shales, but the pinnacles are 
cleaved out of a remarkable conglome- 
rate made up of cobbles of all sorts of 
igneous rocks, many of them as large as 
one's head. 

The origin of this great mass of con- 
glomerate, which reaches the almost un- 
precedented thickness of 2,000 feet, forms 
a very interesting geological problem, 
whose solution would afford much in- 
formation as to the past history of the 
country round about. 

Ivan Petrof, whose account of the 
country before the eruption is quoted 
above (page 265), was so impressed 
with the beauties of this combination of 
mountain and lake scenery that he in- 
serted in his report a colored picture 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



307 



MOUNT KATOLINAT, STANDING 47OO FEET OUT OF THE BLUE WATERS OF NAKNEK 

LAKE 



showing Iliuk Arm with Katolinat, the 
only plate devoted to scenery in an 
account of travels that reached almost 
every comer of Alaska. 

On scaling the pinnacled ridge of Ka- 
tolinat, a feat which appears well nigh 
impossible from below, but yet is easily 
accomplished, one obtains an unsur- 
passed view over wide stretches of 
country. Down the Lake one may look 
on a clear day out across the flat, tundra- 
covered coastal plain to the waters of 
Bering Sea, nearly a hundred miles away. 

Behind him, to the south stands forth 
the whole range of glacier-covered vol- 
canoes, plainly visible for 120 miles from 
Douglas to Peulik. To the east lies the 
broad valley of Savonoski River, giving 
easy passage behind the range to the 
shores of Kamishak Bay on Cook Inlet. 
To the north is a great expanse of lake and 
mountain country heavily covered with 
forest (see Plate xvi, facing page 305). 

LAKES GROSVENOR, COVILLE, 
AND BROOKS 

Lying roughly parallel with Naknek 
Lake, one descries three other large 



lakes which were quite unknown to the 
outside world until news of them was 
brought back by the Geographic ex- 
peditions. 

Two of them, which lie together, 
joined by a short but swift river, we 
named for the two men through whose 
vision and support the expeditions were 
made possible, the president and the 
chairman of the Research Committee of 
the National Geographic Society, Gilbert 
Grosvenor and Frederick V. Coville. 
The third we named after the dean of 
Alaskan explorers, Alfred H. Brooks, 
who likewise has had a large share in 
helping forward the work of the expe- 
ditions (see map, back cover). 

Lake Grosvenor, which is 28 miles 
long, is perhaps even more beautiful than 
Naknek Lake. On all sides it is shut in 
by high, forest-clad mountains which 
give it a charm that will certainly make 
it a favorite place of retreat, when the 
Park becomes a popular resort (see page 
308). 'It may be reached by an easy 
portage of a mile and a half from the 
Bay of Islands, or by ascending its out- 
let through Savonoski River. 



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308 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by J. D. Say re 



MORNING MISTS ON LAKE GROSVENOR 



For the exploration of the lakes the expedition made use of native skin kayaks, now almost a thing of 
the past. Our surveyors describe Lake Grosvenor as "the most beautiful place in Alaska," which is 
high praise from men familiar with the beauties of the celebrated "Inside Passage'* of southeastern 
Alaska. 



Lake Coville also is surrounded by 
high mountains which rise 3,000 feet, 
making it likewise an extremely wild and 
beautiful place. On the map it appears 
almost continuous with Lake Grosvenor, 
but it stands at a higher level. Al- 
though it lies between Lake Grosvenor 
and the coast its basin is shut off from 
the sea by mountains. It is therefore the 
head of the system and drains backward, 
so to speak, into Lake Grosvenor by a 
short but swift river. 

Lake Brooks (see page 309) lies on the 
other side of Naknek Lake, to the south, 
separated from it by a high mountain. 
It also is very picturesque and quite 
large enough to be shown on the general 
maps of Alaska. Its drainage, as in the 
others, is reversed. The outlet is at the 
''upper'* end, whence it connects by a 
short swift river with a bay of Naknek 
Lake. In its course it tumbles over an 
obstructing ledge about seven feet high, 
forming a fine waterfall. Here are re- 



vealed the enormous numbers of salmon 
which find in Lake Brooks congenial 
breeding grounds, as described below. 

This group of lakes recalls the cele- 
brated "Finger Lakes** of central New 
York. Besides the three that come with- 
in our immediate territory, there are five 
others farther to the northward, all 
longer than wide, and very deep. The 
northernmost. Lake Clark, was reported 
by its discoverer to be more than 600 
feet deep. 

Their basins were once occupied by 
extensive glaciers, which may have played 
a large part in their excavation. The 
shores of the southern members of the 
series which we examined show remark- 
ably fine examples of glacial sculpturing. 
The valleys above the water level are full 
of conspicuous "roches moutonn^es, ** 
rounded and smoothed by the ice. Con- 
spicuous evidences of heavy planing and 
deep grooving by overriding ice are like- 
wise abundant (see page 312). 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



309 



Photograph by J. D. Sayre 



THE OUTLET OF LAKE BROOKS 



This beautiful body of water, fifteen miles long, is one of the discoveries of the expeditions. The 
lake is named after Alfred H. Brooks, Alaskan explorer and for many years chief of the Alaskan Divi- 
sion of the U. S. Geological Survey. It was to this lake that the leaping salmon were running (see il- 
lustrations, pages 310, 311, and 316). 



AN ANGLER S PARADISE 

The fishing in these lakes and rivers 
makes the region an angler's paradise. 
TKeir waters are alive with giant rain- 
bow trout, with such voracious appetites 
that the angler never need cast more 
than once or twice before he has a strike 
that keeps him busy. 

There is no occasion for the varied 
artificial flies often necessary to lure the 
sophisticated fish of civilized streams. 
Our bait, a piece of bacon rind, was 
snapped up so quickly as to make it 
appear that anything white would have 
served equally well. 

The only trouble our fishermen ex- 
perienced came from the great size and 
weight of the fish; they were so big that 
they soon broke all our tackle. The aver- 
age catch measured two feet, while the 
largest — caught by Wallace — was fully 
32 inches from head to tail. Probably 
expert anglers who read this will simply 



recognize in the damage to our tackle 
a confession of incompetence in the art. 
Of this we must needs stand convicted, 
but the success of such novices gives 
ample evidence as to the quality of the 
sport that awaits the skill of the expert. 
Other fish undoubtedly occur in simi- 
lar abundance. The natives secure large 
quantities of ** white fish" in nets. But 
we were too much occupied with other 
duties to try catching anything except 
what could be had without special effort. 

ONE OF THE GREATEST OF SPAWNING 
GROUNDS FOR THE SOCKEYE SALMON 

The sockeye salmon, however, occurs 
in such numbers that it can not be over- 
looked. The group to which Lake 
Naknek belongs is perhaps the greatest 
breeding ground in the world for the sock- 
eye (red) salmon, which is considered the 
choicest species by the connoisseur of 
tinned foods, though really inferior in 
flavor to some of the other species. 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by E. C. Kolb 
SALMON JUMPING THE FALLS AT THE OUTLET OF LAKE BROOKS 

It was hard to catch them in still pictures. The motion picture films show that sometimes six were 

in the air at once. 



An extensive canning industry has 
developed around the outlets of these 
lakes. The value of the '*pack** every 
year exceeds the purchase price of Alaska. 
In 191 8 the salmon taken out of Bristol 
Bay was worth nearly $25,000,000, 
more than three times the cost of *' Sew- 
ard's Folly." 

Because of almost criminally short- 
sighted exploitation, overfishing has 
very greatly reduced the runs in recent 
years, but despite all the devices used to 
take them, the salmon still run into the 
lakes in incredibly large numbers. 

LEAPING SALMON WITHIN SIGHT OF THE 
VOLCANOES 

At Brooks Falls in the outlet from the 
lake of the same name, at the proper sea- 
son one may watch the salmon as they 
jump clear of the water and ascend the 
falls. Here we stood for hours, held by the 
fascination of one of the most wonderful 
sights afforded by the animal kingdom, 
as the endless procession of fish kept leap- 
ing high in the air, up and over the falls. 



Never did a second elapse between 
jumps. Sometimes as many as six fish 
were in the air at once. The jump ap- 
peared to require their full powers; none 
made the attempt except at the lowest 
notch in the falls, and none jumped clear 
over in a way to suggest that they could 
have gone much higher if necessary. 
Many of the leaps were so wide of the 
mark as to give the impression that they 
were not serious attempts, but rather 
in the nature of reconnaissances — efforts 
to learn the best place for the ascent. 
Often the fish struck themselves on the 
sharp rocks. Among those below the 
falls were many terribly lacerated by 
such accidents — so far gone that there 
was little probability of their ever suc- 
ceeding in the leap. 

At first we were inclined to think that 
very few were successful, but careful 
observation showed that great numbers 
were getting up. After a number of 
counts at different times, we estimated 
that they were ascending at the rate of 
about 20 a minute, or 1,200 an hour. 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



311 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
SPEARING OUR SUPPER AT THE FOOT OF THE SALMON FALLS 
The salmon here were all the choicest reds, or "sockeyes," which command the highest price. 



If the rate of asceat observed at the 
time of our random visit could be taken 
as a fair average of the forty-day run, 
we could conclude that a million fish 
were breeding in this single lake. But 
it is not safe to make numerical compu- 
tations from the rate observed at any 
one time, for the runs are irregular and 
vary greatly from day to day. 

The figures are given merely to em- 
phcisize the enormous numbers involved 
and the great importance of properly 
conserving this wonderful food resource, 
that our descendants may enjoy it as 
freely as do we. Nothing can be more 
certain than that if the present reckless 
exploitation continues, our incredibly 
rich salmon fisheries will be destroyed 
within a decade or two. 

THE REMARKABLE HOMING INSTINCT OF 
THE SALMON 

Perhaps the most interesting feature 
of the whole performance is the instinct 
that urges the salmon over the falls. How 
can they tell that there is another lake 



above?' Yet by some means they are 
unerringly guided to the outlets of lakes 
above, for they do not run to other 
streams. Why should they seek the 
upper lake, when the waters they have 
just passed through would serve as well, 
as is attested by the fact that they are 
perfectly satisfactory to other thousands 
of their brethren? 

Professor C. H. Gilbert of Stanford 
University, who knows the habits of the 
salmon better than anyone else, tells me 
there is good evidence that the individual 
salmon returns to the particular water 
in which it w£is hatched. As indicated 
by the anomalous run observed in a trib- 
utary of Katmai River (see page 161), 
they are apparently able to find, not 
merely the same general locality, but by 
some instinct are guided back to the 
particular spot where they began life. 
The mysterious sense by which they 
choose their way among waters appar- 
ently indistinguishable is quite incom- 
prehensible to us. 

If, like the bird migrations, it were a 



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312 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Phoiograph Dy R. F. Griggs 
GLACL\TED SHORES OF ISLAND BAY 

The smoothed surface of the granite bears the clear imprint of the glacier which scooped out the bed 

of the lakes. 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
THE BASE CAMP IN THE FOREST AT THE HEAD OF NAKNEK LAKE 

We were much surprised on finding such forest within a dozen miles of the Smokes. A fox used 
regularly to bring her little family to our garbage pile, and Wallace shot a bear on the beach in front of 
camp. The Katmai National Monument is destined to become a great game preserve. 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



313 



journey undertaken every year during 
the life of the fish, it would not be so re- 
markable, for the old fish could teach 
the young the path. But the salmon 
make the trip only once, at the end of 
their allotted span. When they have 
spawned they turn over and die, leav- 
ing windrows of rotting carcasses on the 
shore. 

Their only previous experience with 
the stream was when as small fry they 
passed down from the spawning ground 
and out to sea. Can it be that they re- 
tain something analogous to memory of 
the ** landmarks'* passed on their one 
previous journey? And, finally, why 
such frantic effort when all is to end 
so soon? These questions we may not 
answer. All we can say is, that these 
wonderful instincts, though leading to 
the death of the individual, are clearly 
to the advantage of the species, whose 
perpetuation is thereby assured. 

ABUNDANT BIRD LIFE AROUND 
THE LAKES 

The lakes and ponds round about are 
the abode of countless waterfowl. I 
had often read of the abundance of bird 
life in the north, but I was surprised at 
the great numbers of birds encountered. 
Many species of ducks, as well as geese 
and swans, were all about us. Right in 
front of camp one could often pick off 
half a dozen ducks in a few minutes. 

Once we saw a single flock of swans, 
resting on a sand bar, which must have 
numbered 500 individuals. On another 
occasion the surveyors coming upon one 
molting, and unable to fly, ran it down 
with the power boat and picked it up out 
of the water. Flapping and squawking 
it made a handful, as may be judged by 
the expression of the captor's face. 

For game birds ashore, there are 
grouse (** spruce hens'*) in the forest, 
and ptarmigan on the mountains and 
tundra, both of which were very scarce 
after the eruption, but are now returning 
in force. 

Along with the game birds are numer- 
ous other species. Corresponding with 



Photograph by J. D. Sayre 
A WILD SWAN CAPTURED ALIVE BY MILLER 

Being at the height of its molt, it was unable to 
fly, and so was easily overtaken and captured by 
the power dory. It made such a disturbance 
with its great white wings that the captor was 
glad to let it go. 

the difference in vegetation, there is a 
marked contrast between the birds of the 
lake country and those of the Pacific 
slope. Around the lakes were Steller's 
jays, shrikes, crossbills, three-toed wood- 
peckers, and robins like those of the east 
except in disposition, for instead of being 
sociable they were about the shyest 
creatures around the camp. These birds 
and others characteristic of the interior 
forest did not occur on the opposite slope. 
Professor Hine, our zoologist, busied 
himself with studying them and brought 
back a representative collection. 



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314 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Of less interest to the gen- 
eral reader, but more im- 
portant to the specialist, are 
the very large collections of 
insects which Professor Hine 
obtained. The insect life of 
Alaska is very little known, 
and he secured numerous 
species new to science as 
well as many others not pre- 
viously reported within a 
thousand miles. These will 
be dealt with in the tech- 
nical papers to follow. 

E^ch year Hine, because 
of his special interest in 
the outlying undevastated 
country, became the presid- 
ing genius of the base camp. 
In i9i7onthePacifictundra, 
and in 1919 on the Lake, 
the place was recognized as 
"Hine's Camp/' because of 
his redoubtable powers as 
a woodchopper and his de- 
lightful spirit as a com- 
panion. 

LARGE MAMMALS 
RETURNING 

Many kinds of big game 
animals were common in 
this country before the erup- 
tion. Caribou and moose 
were found in numbers, es- 
pecially caribou, for the 
moose is here at the western 
edge of its raujge and not so 
abundant as in some other 
regions. After the eruption 
these herbivorous animals 
were very seriously affected 
by the coating of sharp 
abrasive dust on the vege- 
tation, which quickly wore 
out their teeth . Large num- 
bers of them are said to 
have perished through in- 
ability to feed properly. 

But since the ash has 
settled down, and blows 
about less than in the earlier 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 315 



years, they are returning. Our 

parties saw signs of caribou and . 



2 Oi 



moose a number of times. For ^ "§ 

the latter, the forest country, ^ ^ 

interspersed with ponds full of •§. ^ 



« 



lily pads, would seem to offer I 

an ideal range. o ^ 

The fur-bearers — marten, ^ Xo 

-otter, mink, fox, and perhaps 

beaver — may likewise be ex- « 

pected to reappear in force, now | 

that the native villages have o 

been abandoned, leaving the ^ 

-country an uninhabited wilder- >^ 
ness with no one to hunt them 
<down. Foxes are common 
•everywhere, though usually so 



shy as to be seen rarely. One g.a 

of them, however, used to bring o J 

her litter regularly to our gar- 
bage pile at the lake camp. 
Wolverines also were frequent 



o 
a- 



on 

travelers along the trails we Iz^jg 

used. Occasionally we would 9-2^ 



^ 



find the tracks of one on top of rf 'B >» 

those of the bears that fol- o t> = 

lowed us. Evidently he was u -^o 

coming along to lick the bones « |iS 

the bear might leave. Once a •-' cj.S 
wolverine passed very close to ^ ^ 

us, for as we climbed a moun- S^ 

tain we found his fresh tracks I <it 

on the pass at the top, and on 4, g 

returning followed his trail "SS 

across our own. *o g 

Trappers have reported the | 

capture of lynxes within the .h 

Katmai National Monument •§ 

recently, but we had no experi- ^ 

ences with them ourselves. ^ 

o 

Wolf tracks also were oc- ^ 

casionally encountered. In our > 



J4 



first ascent of Katmai we found 
the trail of a stray wolf that ^ 

had passed that way, 2,000 2 

feet up the slope. It is re- *- 

ported that they used to run in 



o 



dangerous packs during the § 



JS 



winter. Walter Metrokin, our 

packer, told us a story of how 1^ 

a boy, by firing through the | 

door, had once driven off a ^ 



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316 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



317 



vicious pack, which had attacked a bara- 
bara in Katmai Village. 

BROWN BEARS ABUNDANT 

Of all the large animals, the great 
brown bears are the most abundant and 
most interesting. Although the Kodiak 
Island species has the reputation of being 
the largest bear in existence, few speci- 
mens taken on Kodiak are as large as 
some that inhabit the Katmai District. 
They are the largest carnivorous animals 
extant, far exceeding the lion or tiger in 
size. They stand as high as a cow, and 
their weight may sometimes exceed 1,500 
pounds. 

The very fact that they are the largest 
of their kind has attracted hunters from 
all over the world until their numbers 
have been very greatly reduced. Wal- 
ter, the most celebrated bear hunter of 
Kodiak, has told me that when he first 
went hunting in his boyhood, the bears 
on the hillsides were '*just as thick as 
cows.'* Those were the days of muzzle 
loaders and single-shot rifles. 

An old man still living in Kodiak at 
the time of our visit remembered bear 
hunts when the weapons were bows and 
arrows. These were supplanted by the 
muzzle loader of Walter *s youth, and since 
then, as he says, there has been a constant 
improvement in guns. First came the 
breach loader, then the ** Henry repeat- 
er," and then a long succession of better 
and better guns which enabled the 
hunter to pick off his quarry with greater 
and greater ease and safety, until now a 
pair of field glasses with which to find 
the game is as important an item in the 
hunter's equipment as his rifle. 

PROTECTION NECESSARY TO PREVENT 
EXTERMINATION 

Thus provided with a telescope and 
modern high-power rifle, the hunter may 
sight his game at a great distance and 
bring it down without giving it the least 
semblance of a chance to defend itself, 
thereby pretty nearly reducing the sport 
of the old time hunting to simple slaugh- 
ter induced by the passion for killing. 



No prophet was needed to foretell the 
result: the rapid decrease in the numbers 
of the bears, which will soon face com- 
plete extinction unless energetically pro- 
tected. The problem of preserving such 
an animal is, however, not so simple. 
Congress years ago prohibited killing the 
bear on Kodiak Island, but scant atten- 
tion was ever paid to the law. 

The trouble was that it was made 
in the interest of the bear rather than of 
the settler. If it were enforced, the 
agricultural development of the rich 
cattle country would be impossible; 
bears and cattle do not mix well. Be- 
sides, no adequate means of enforcing 
the law was provided, even though there 
are stories of men having been arrested 
for defending themselves, asserting that 
when it came to a choice between being 
mauled by a bear or going to jail, the 
latter was undoubtedly the lesser evil. 

It is not only impracticable but down- 
right foolish to try to maintain such an 
animal in proximity with struggling 
pioneer settlements. But in the Katmai 
National Monument, which is bounded 
on the east, at any rate, by a large area of 
very rugged mountains never likely to be 
densely settled, the Alaskan brown bear 
should find a safe refuge in which it may be 
preserved for future generations without 
jeopardizing any interest of civilization. 

BEAR TRAILS EVERY\VHERE 

Wherever we traveled through the 
devastated country, except under the 
very shadow of the volcano, we found 
the tracks of these great bears very nu- 
merous. Everywhere we went we appre- 
hensively kept a sharp lookout, for the 
tracks were so thick that it seemed as 
though there must be a bear crouching 
behind every rock. At first we were 
much concerned lest we should come up- 
on one suddenly, supposing that in such a 
barren country they must be ravenously 
hungry. When we first landed, one 
member of the party would not go for 
water fifty yards from the tent without 
carrying his rifle. 

The reason for the abundance of bear 



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THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 

THE FRONT TRACK OF A BEAR, NINE INCHES ACROSS 

The Katmai National Monument will probably become the only preserve for these, the largest of all 

carnivorous animals. 



tracks is that the fine-grained surface of 
the ash is a remarkable medium for the 
preservation of any marks made in it. 
The tracks were often so clear that we 
could see the crisscross creases in their 
soles. The slightest details were so faith- 
fully preserved that for a time we supposed 
all the tracks had been freshly made. 

As we became more familiar with con- 
ditions and had opportunity to examine 
the same tracks repeatedly, we found 
that they retained their appearance of 
freshness for a long time. In fact, it is a 
difficult matter to distinguish a track 
freshly made in the ash from one several 
days old. 

THE BEARS INSPECT OUR TRAILS 

Although much less abundant than 
the tracks led us at first to suppose, the 
bears no doubt watched us from the shel- 
ter of some safe cover many times; but 
they were very shy and kept out of our 



way, later coming down and sniffing along 
our trail out of curiosity to know what 
manner of beast the intruder might be. 
The country is entirely uninhabited and 
the younger of them at least may have 
been wholly without knowledge of man. 
When we thus saw beside our own puny 
footprints the trail of an enormous bear, 
we could not escape a somewhat creepy 
feeling. 

Once, from the tracks we found, we 
concluded we must have surprised a 
mother and cubs that had been advanc- 
ing toward us, for the trails suddenly 
reversed and turned back, indicating a 
hasty retreat. But the infrequency of 
cubs was surprising, in view of the abun- 
dance of bears and the fact that the 
young stay with the mother until two 
years old. Far down the Alaskan Pen- 
insula, I once happened to have the 
opportunity of watching such a family. 
The mother had five cubs, two of them 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



319^ 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



THE HIND TRACK MEASURING loi BY 1 6 INCHES 

The white marker is a six-inch rule. A man inevitably feels pretty small when he finds that such an 
animal has been following his trail, especially if he is unarmed, as we were a good share of the time. 



yearlings as big as heifers, the other 
three young ones no bigger than dogs. 
They were lying beside a stream, playing, 
after having filled up on salmon. Several 
sea gulls were hovering around, doubtless 
attracted by the refuse. Every little 
while one of the larger cubs would get 
too free with the mother and she would 
send it rolling with a cuff from her paw. 
Even from a mile away she seemed an 
enormous animal. 

On one occasion, Folsom and Walter 
were quietly cleaning fish beside a small 
brook when they were surprised by a 
loud snort, like that of a horse, followed 
by much cracking of sticks as bruin made 
off through the bushes. Another time, 
at night, a bear came down on the camp 
without suspecting it until he got with- 
in twenty yards. Then, getting the 
scent, he galloped off with the noise of a 
frightened elephant. 

Yet we never caught a glimpse of one 



the first year. As the days wore on with- 
out sight of the animals, we gradually be- 
came as indifferent to danger from an en- 
counter with them as at first we had been 
apprehensive. 

GOING INTO THE INTERIOR UNARMED 
DESPITE THE BEARS 

When we came to start up into the in- 
terior for the first time, our packs were so 
heavy we could not well add a rifle, and 
we finally went out into the wilderness 
armed only with a couple of pistols. Long 
before we were through with the country, 
the man who at first would not venture 
away from the camp-fire without a gun 
became so disgusted that he refused to 
lug his rifle even on long tramps through 
country in which bears were certainly 
plentiful. 

Bears are much more in evidence dur- 
ing the early part of the season than 
later, for June is their mating time. 



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320 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 
PAUL HAGELBARGER ON THE TRAIL OF A BROWN BEAR 

The soft mud of the tide flats took deep imprints, but it was not possible 
to photograph the tracks of those which inspected the fumaroles. 



During this period they wander uneasily 
over the country, and are especially 
curious about any strange animal mov- 
ing about. If they hear any noise in the 
bush they will come up to find its cause, 
instead of taking to their heels as at 
other times. 

Once, while we were *'mushing'' up the 
trail getting our outfit back into the in- 
terior, we happened to be divided into 
two parties, one of which traveled a few 
hours behind the other. On the way up 
the Valley the second party found that 
within three miles as many different 



bears had inspected 
the trail left by the 
first party in the 
short interval since 
it had passed. Two 
of them were to- 
gether, entering and 
leaving the trail at 
nearly the same 
point. One had a 
track 5 by 9 inches, 
and the other 6 by 
II inches. They 
came up with the 
trail, followed it for 
a while, and then 
veered off up a val- 
ley. The tracks were 
so fresh we could 
probably have found 
their makers shortly, 
if we had had time 
to follow. 

The other bear, 
which was consider- 
ably larger, with a 
track about 7 by 12 
inches, had simply 
crossed the trail in 
his journey down the 
mountain side, fol- 
lowing it a few rods, 
first one way, then 
the other, and after 
satisfying his curi- 
osity had passed on. 
We had no desire to 
follow this one for 
the country was rough and covered with 
brush, which would have given the pur- 
sued all the advantage, permitting him 
to hide or to ambush the hunter at will. 
Besides these, there were at that time 
at least two other bears in the ten-mile 
stretch of valley we were then working. 
The track of one of these on hard 
ground measured 9 by 14 inches. But 
when he stood up on his hind legs to in- 
spect his surroundings, or traveled in soft 
ground so that the fur on his leg enlarged 
the impression made by his sole, his track 
reached the enormous dimensions of loj 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



321 



by 16 inches, more than big enough to 
cover two pages of this book (see page 

319). 

What a sight this bear must have been ! 
Old *' Ivan' * in the New York Zoo is the 
center of an admiring throng from morn- 
ing until night because of his great size, 
but the sole of his foot is only about six 
inches wide. I have a skin, the gift of 
Marshall Armstrong, of Kodiak, which 
seems about as big as any animal could 
grow. When stretched up to the ceil- 
ing of the room its claws drag on the floor, 
but it is by no means a large skin for a 
Kodiak bear — only nine feet six inches, 
with foot pads seven inches wide. Pe- 
trof in the census of 1880 gives a record 
of one measured by him that was four- 
teen feet four inches long. This may 
perhaps be about the size of our big bear. 
We grew to be familiar with his tracks, 
but never caught sight of him. 

FEEDING HABITS OF THE BEARS 

From what I had read of the habits of 
the grizzly, I had supposed that bears 
must necessarily have large ranges which 
they patrolled in solitary state, driving 
away all intruders. This is not true. 
Whatever the habits of the grizzly may 
be, the bears of this region have no such 
habits. On the contrary, in the old days 
they were almost gregarious. 

Despite their enormous power and the 
agility with which they can get around 
in rough country, these bears do not 
ordinarily hunt big game. Instead, they 
eat grass like cows. Around their rest- 
ing places I have found the grass close- 
cropped. Roots compose a large portion 
of their diet in the spring. We some- 
times found places in the ash-covered 
country where they had dug down into 
the original soil for some root which their 
nose had detected, although there was 
nothing above ground to indicate its 
presence. They are said to dig out mice 
and ground squirrelswith great dexterity. 

During the latter part of the season 
they frequent the salmon streams and the 



berry patches, and so are easily found 
by hunters who know their habits. The 
trader at Cold Bay told me that in 191 8 
he saw at one time seven bears fishing in 
** Moose" Creek in the southwest corner 
of the Katmai reservation. 

FIRST SIGHT OF A BEAR 

As intimated, we were forced during 
the first two years to make all our ob- 
servations of the habits of the bears from 
their tracks. It was not until we began 
to work along the Aindevastated country 
on the west side of the river, in 191 7, 
that we were fortunate enough to catch 
sight of one of the animals. Then one 
day soon after landing, as we rounded a 
rocky point, Folsom suddenly called, 
' * Griggs, your glasses. There *s a bear ! * * 

At first I could see nothing, but off in 
the distance there was a small gray- 
brown spot which, when watched closely, 
could be seen to move. With the glasses 
it could be made out plainly as a bear. 
We could see him paddling around in the 
soft marsh, digging out the grass and 
eating heartily. I suppose he was get- 
ting his supply of salt by eating the 
saline plants of the marsh. 

It was surprising how well we could 
see him with the glasses. He was a 
light, pale, washed-out brown, not nearly 
so rich and beautiful as some of the dark 
brown skins one sees. The mane on his 
shoulders was long and shaggy, giving 
him a curious sway-backed appearance. 
He looked indescribably ungainly and 
clumsy as he mushed around in the 
marsh, often sinking half way up his 
legs in the soft sticky mud. I could not 
but compare him with some of Knight's 
pictures of restorations of animals of by- 
gone ages.^ He seemed no part of the 
present world, but rather a relic of the 
past somehow dropped down here for me 
to study. 

Quite naturally, I was anxious to 
bring him down, but Andrean advised, 
'*Wind no good.*' We could not hope 
to get close, as he was already somewhat 



' Familiar to readers of H. F. Osborn's "Age of Mammals." 



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322 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph by R. F. Griggs 



SKINS OF A KODIAK BEAR AND A PUMA 



This 18 by no means a large skin for a Kodiak bear — 9 by 9§ feet. The track was only about seven 
inches wide. Petrof records one, probably stretched, over 14 feet long (see note, page 265). 



nervous, frequently raising his head to 
sniff uneasily, having evidently detected 
a taint in the air. Nevertheless, we de- 
cided to try it, so we turned back into 
cover and sneaked through the grass 
and alders along the hill in the hope of 
getting close. As our course took us 
more and more out of the wind, we hoped 
we might get to windward and approach 
closer. But it was of no use. He had 
had too strong a scent, and before we had 
covered more than half of the distance, 
he made off, now walking, now bounding 
in great awkward jumps. 

After all I was not sorry, for he was 
only a little bear — that is, little in com- 
parison with those tracks we had followed 
— with foot-prints only four or five 
inches wide. Still, he must have meas- 
ured nearly seven feet long. I was just as 
well satisfied to wait another chance in 
the hope of getting a big one later, for our. 
permit allowed us to take out only one. 



The program of our work was so 
strenuous as never to allow us the luxury 
of taking a day off to organize a real 
hunt and stalk a bear. Our only chance 
was to stumble into an opportunity of 
getting one without wasting our time in 
preliminaries. Finally the opportunity 
came, but not when we were altogether 
prepared to accept it. 

AN ENCOUNTER WITH A SLEEPING BEAR 

Paul Hagelbarger and I were climbing 
an unnamed mountain back of our camp 
to get a view of the upper valley. The 
alpine flowers were wonderful, and we 
busied ourselves studying and photo- 
graphing them as we went along. 

We had rambled in this way up to 
about 1,500 feet when, rounding a 
shoulder of the mountain I saw a curious 
round gray-brown object that looked 
quite different from the rocks that lit- 
tered the mountain side. They were 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



323 



sharp and angular, but this one was 
smooth like a water-worn boulder, such 
as one finds in a stream bed. *' Quick, 
Hagelbarger, give me the glasses,** I 
whispered. 

They were buried deep in his pack- 
sack, and it took some time to find them. 
Meanwhile, the brown object was as still 
as the rocks, and I concluded I must be 
mistaken, for a bear would be moving 
about. So, when the glasses were 
finally fished out, I felt it almost foolish 
to use them. 

But one glance through the binoculars 
was enough. There he was, sure enough 
— a big brown bear, curled up in the 
sunshine, fast asleep. His back was 
toward us and his head tucked in, as 
though to shield him from the blinding 
sun. Fortunately the wind was right. 
He was restless, turning every little 
while first one way and then the other. 
Part of the time he turned his head di- 
rectly toward us and once he stood up, 
but did not see us — bears have very 
FMX)r eyesight — and lay down quietly 
to sleep again. 

What were we to do about it? This 
was no bear hunt, but a botanizing ex- 
cursion. Our rifle was at camp 1,500 
feet below, and three miles away. We 
had only revolvers. Should we tackle 
him with these, or should we quietly 
back out over the mountain with the 
hope that no visions of men would dis- 
turb Bruin *s slumbers? We counted 
our shells. Each had enough to reload. 
I was hesitant; but what were we carry- 
ing those revolvers for except for pro- 
tection against bears? Here was an 
opportunity to see what they were good 
for and under much more favorable cir- 
cumstances than we could ever expect if 
attacked. Besides, as compared with the 
bows and spears with which the natives 
had formerly hunted bears, pistols were, 
indeed, formidable weapons. 

GOING AFTER BRUIN WITH A PISTOL 

Accordingly we worked back out of 
sight and carefully picked our way 
around over the shoulder of the mountain 



till close upon him. The only cover as 
we came up over the ridge again was a 
thin square slab of stone that stuck up, 
exactly like a tombstone. I remember 
wondering, as I crawled up to it, if it 
might be my own tombstone before I 
was through. Even such bad augury 
did not greatly disturb me, however, for 
as I got into position and aimed, my 
hand was as steady as though only shoot- 
ing at a mark. I was so concerned for 
fear he would escape that I could not 
wait for Hagelbarger, but opened fire 
before he came up. 

My position could not have be^n im- 
proved. The bear was still sleeping 
quietly only twenty yards away, his 
great shaggy head as big as a washtub 
and turned directly toward me. If I 
had remembered all I had been told 
about the thickness of a bear's skull, 
the result might have been different, but 
that head was too fair a mark to be re- 
sisted. I took careful aim and fired. 

It hit him square; the shock knocked 
him clear off the rock, and started him 
tumbling down the mountain side. 
I was on the point of going down to 
get him. The second and third shots 
glanced and went whistling off across 
the valley. Their noise evidently per- 
suaded him that the trouble came from 
that quarter. Instead of rolling farther 
down hill, he suddenly gathered himself 
together and started back straight for us. 
Things began to look bad, so I hurriedly 
gave him another. This turned him off 
along the side of the mountain below us. 

By this time I was wondering what 
on earth my gun was good for, anyhow, 
and was more anxious to reload than to 
pursue. I began to fear that the affair 
might change from an offensive to a 
defensive campaign. Judging from the 
effect of the first five shots, we should 
have been as helpless against him, if he 
had charged, as though armed with 
pocket knives. 

I had heard many tales of the ability 
of the Kodiak bears to walk off with 
lead, but I had been very cocky about 
my heavy service Colt, confident that 



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3^4 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Photograph Dy E. C Kolb 
RAINBOW TROUT, NAKNEK RIV^R 

It is only the little ones that get photographed. They averaged two feet. The largest was thirty-two 
inches. Seldom were more than one or two casts necessary to secure a strike that kept one busy. 



a shot properly placed would kill any- 
thing. But now I was inclined to throw 
it into the river. 

No bears were killed on any of the 
expeditions until 1919, when two were 
secured, both the results of accidental 
encounters. One morning Hine dis- 
covered one fishing on the beach directly 
in front of the base camp on Naknek 
Lake. He fell easy prey to Wallace's 
rifle. The other one was found by Cap- 
tain Nyman of the Nimrod, swimming 
about among the islands of Geographic 
Harbor. It was a simple thing to over- 
haul him with the power boat and shoot 
him at close range. Either of these 
bears would have been a fine subject 
for motion pictures, but unfortunately 
both times the camera was a hundred 
miles away. 

THE PROBLEM OF FINDING A HARBOR 

Along with the biological and geolog- 
ical work projected in 1919 was a prob- 
lem of another sort — search for a better 
means of access to the district than was 
open to us. 

The spectacular character of the vol- 



canic activity naturally aroused wide- 
spread public interest in the region, 
coupled with a desire to visit it. But 
it was clear that no great number of 
people would ever brave a landing 
through the surf and go up into the coun- 
try by the primitive means that had to 
be adopted by our expeditions. The 
first requisite to opening up the new park 
was the finding of a safe harbor, suitable 
for the use of large vessels. 

It was doubtful at the outset whether 
a port such as was needed could be found. 
Between Cape Douglas and Cold Bay, 
harbors of any sort are singularly scarce, 
considering the irregularity of the shore 
line. Although the much indented coast 
somewhat resembles that of southeastern 
Alaska, where there is a superfluity of 
harbors, protected bays with sufficient 
depth are here few and far between. 

There are a few bays to the eastward 
which from the chart appear sheltered, 
but the mountains back of them are so 
very rugged as to give but poor prospect 
for a road. Westward, the mountains 
are separated by broad open valleys 
very favorable for road building, but the 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



325 



OUR BOAT, THE NIMROD, 



Photograph by L. G. Folsom 
EXPLORING THE COAST IN SEARCH OF A HARBOR 



bays are both shallow and exposed. 
From the scenic point of view, it is im- 
portant, moreover, that the projected 
road should run up Katmai Valley, since 
from any other direction Mount Katmai 
loses the impressiveness that makes the 
first sight of it from the lower Valley so 
memorable. 

THE POSSIBILITIES OF KUKAK AND 
KINAK BAYS 

The testimony of local pilots and a 
study of the chart seemed to indicate 
that our best prospect was Kukak Bay, 
which the Russian surveys showed to be 
deep as well as spacious. But it is too 
big to afford altogether satisfactory pro- 
tection and is exposed to bad * ' williwaws* * 
in easterly gales. From its head, how- 
ever, a broad open valley leads straight 
through the mountains in the direction 
of Mount Katmai, running practically 
at sea-level across to the head of Kinak 
Bay. This easy passage at once ruled 
out all of the intervening bays between 
Kukak and Kinak. 

But, when we examined Kinak Bay, 



we thought it a better entrance than 
Kukak. Its head bears little resem- 
blance to the chart. It is constricted 
between two great cliffs into an exceed- 
ingly narrow passage which opens into 
an exceptionally beautiful basin, which 
we named Hidden Harbor. Its water is 
deep and clear of dangers close up to 
the mountainous shore. It is, moreover, 
nestled in among the mountains, secure 
from all manner of tempests, and there is 
no chance for the dreaded ''williwaws" 
to reach it. 

But this same mountain wall offers 
the greatest objection to its use as a 
port of entry, for it stands a thousand 
feet high all around, and would make 
road building very expensive. The same 
obstacle would have to be overcome by 
a road from Kukak Bay, for after trav- 
ersing the level valley connecting the 
two it would take the same route. 

DISCOVERY OF AN IDEAL HARBOR 

We did not suppose that the next bay 
west, Amalik, would prove as good an 
entrance -as Kinak. According to the 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



327 



chart, it is not nearly so deep an inden- 
tation in the coast line. But upon exami- 
nation we found, to our astonishment, 
opening back of the outer barrier (which 
is indicated as the head of the bay by the 
chart), a broad deep basin forming an 
ideal harbor. 

When we entered the narrow opening, 
we found ourselves in a long straight 
canal leading back among picturesque 
islands far inland behind the *' coast." 
Finally, the canal opened into a broad 
inner bay, itself bisected by a chain of 
islands. Passing through the opening 
between these, we found the upper por- 
tion of the bay a perfect harbor, with 
deep water throughout, except where a 
strea^n had washed a delta into its head. 

So far as we could detect, with the 
means at our disposal, the waters are 
free from hidden dangers. Captain 
Nyman of the Nimrod sounded through 
the channel with nine fathoms (54 feet) 
of line, but found no bottom at any 
point. The new harbor is, therefore, 
suitable for ships of the largest size. 

Its channel is straight clear sailing, 
and once inside there is abundant room 
for maneuvering. It is, moreover, easy 
to get into, for the mouth of the outer 
bay is a wide opening between con- 
spicuous landmarks, readily entered in 
the roughest weather. A ship coming 
down the coast, picking up a light placed 
on the island off the Cape (Ilktugitak) 
and making a single turn would steer 
right in — reaching quiet water, pro- 
tected from both wind and sea, a mile 
or two before entering the channel. 

In honor of the Society responsible 
for the exploration of the Katmai dis- 
trict and for its being set aside as a 
national monument, we named the new 
harbor Geographic Harbor. 

GEOGRAPHIC HARBOR A FITTING EN- 
TRANCE TO THE VALLEY OF 
TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 

Not only is Geographic Harbor a secure 
and commodious haven, it is a fitting 
entrance to the Katmai National Monu- 
ment. It is doubtful whether any of the 



superlatively beautiful bays along the 
Alaskan coast surpasses this one in the 
grandeur of its setting. On both sides 
the mountain walls tower aloft 3,000 
to 3,500 feet directly out of the water, the 
irregular weathering of their stratified 
cliffs producing a very striking effect. 
The many picturesque islands of the bay 
give its shores an appearance of alluring 
mystery. One has the feeling that he 
could spend many days in a canoe, poking 
into its recesses without seeing all that 
was worth while. 

The islands are the protruding hum- 
mocks of a great lava flow that came 
down the bay from some Tertiary vent. 
Their out-shore faces are weathered into 
the most striking columnar structure, 
(see page 302). That the eruption re- 
sponsible for these great lava masses far 
antedated the recent period is well shown 
by the inshore faces of the islands. They 
have been all planed off into smooth, 
round, gentle slopes by a glacier which 
came down the Valley after the lava had 
been poured out. 

Back from the head of the bay, above 
a sightly waterfall, is a considerable lake 
whose water may be presumed to be full 
of fine trout. 

A FEASIBLE ROUTE FOR A ROAD 
INTO THE INTERIOR 

On the land side, conditions are as 
favorable for the use of Geographic 
Harbor as from the sea. There are two 
practicable routes by which a road could 
be carried over into the Valley of Soluka 
Creek, the principal eastern tributary 
of Katmai River. Only 50 or 60 miles 
of road would be required, not only to 
penetrate the Valley of Ten Thousand 
Smokes, but to connect with the head of 
Naknek Lake and Bering Sea as well. 

Some novel engineering problems 
might, to be sure, arise from the desir- 
ability of keeping such a road as clear of 
drifting ash and snow as possible. But 
these could undoubtedly be overcome 
with a little study. 

It may be stated in passing that in 
addition to the desirability of making the 



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328 THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



I volcanic features accessible, there is 

g another important reason for the con- 

^ struction of a road across the Penin- 

^ sula. The canneries tributary to Bris- 

a; tol Bay give the district a summer 

^ population of 10,000 men. To reach 

a these people, it is necessary at present 

I to make a voyage of a thousand miles 

I around the whole length of the Alaska 
Peninsula. 

This trip is so time-consuming, ex- 
pensive, and dangerous that the whole 

•g community is practically isolated, ex- 

>» cept for the radio. In the old days, 

^ when commercial operations were con- 

c/) « ducted on a smaller scale than at pres- 

^ § ent, it used to be considered better, 

J ^ as stated by Petrof in the quotation 

^ -5 given on page 265, to carry supplies 

§ 2 across Katmai Pass on man-back than 

^ o to attempt the voyage. 

pS 2 When in 1918 and 1919 the Kat- 

S g mai Expeditions desired to enter the 



(/) 5 found that it was practically impos- 
cTj sible to get in and out except by the 



^ country from the Bering Sea side, we 

H -2 kindness of the packers, who per- 
^ "1 mitted us to travel to and fro on their 
g .^ sailing vessels. As this required an 
« ^ absence from April first to October 
< J first, in order to work through June 
^ g and July, it will readily be seen how 
S % inadequate are the transportation fa- 
% g cilities. 

o % A road thrown across the base of 

§ ^ the Alaska Peninsula, through the Val- 
^ .S ley of Ten Thousand Smokes,^ would 
"2 afford the people of Bristol Bay dis- 
I trict access to the frequent steamers 
^ that serve the Pacific slope of south- 
western Alaska, providing adequate 
mail service and that ready communi- 
cation with the outside world which is 
essential to the development of any 
country. It would save the packers 
several million dollars annually, by 
permitting them to take in their crews 
in June and get them out in August, 
instead of holding them for six months, 
largely in idleness. 

* Other routes have been suggested, but no 
other starts from a good harbor on the Pacific. 



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OBSERVATIONS IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY 



329 



From a military standpoint, such a 
road would have great strategic im- 
portance. If it should ever be necessary 
to dispatch a military force into Bering 
Sea, such a road would be indispensable, 
since without that route an enemy could 
land its forces at any point of Bering 
Sea as readily as we could ourselves. 

SIXTY MILES OF AUTOMOBILE ROAD 
WOULD OPEN UP THE WHOLE DISTRICT 

For the tourist, the construction of an 
automobile road, fifty or sixty miles long, 
would permit the whole district to be 
traversed in a single day. 

Many were the times, as we plodded 
up the hills with loads which, though 
taxing our strength, yet contained only 
a pitifully small store of provisions, 
that our thoughts turned to the future 
and we could see in our mind's eye 
swift motor trucks rolling through the 
Valley, transporting in an hour more 
than we could carry in a month. How 
often, as we were held miserable in camp 
by a trifling storm, we thought of the 
day when closed cars should run over 
Katmai Pass without regard to weather, 
carrying their passengers in ease and 
cpmfort through weather conditions prac- 
tically impossible for us. 

To some these visions may seem chi- 
merical. They are not. The Katmai dis- 
trict is nearer to civilization and more 
accessible in every way than was the Yel- 
lowstone at the time of its discovery. Let 
any who are skeptical of the future of the 



Katmai district consider the Yellowstone. 
Its vast area is tramped under foot by 
innumerable campers, until there is com- 
plaint that the natural wonders are in 
danger of being spoiled. Almost one in 
every hundred of the entire population of 
the country visits the place every year! 

Yet, to reach the Yellowstone in those 
days, before the development of the 
automobile, the expense of building a 
railroad was necessary before it could 
become accessible. Even after the com- 
pletion of the transcontinental line, the 
nearest boundary of the Park lay sixty 
miles from the railroad. Contrast con- 
ditions here, where ocean steamers can 
land their passengers within fifteen miles 
of the crater of Katmai. 

It was no longer ago than 1902- that 
Brooks undertook the first epoch-making 
journey from Cook Inlet through the 
interior to the Yukon. It was one of the 
most courageous attempts to cross the 
absolutely unknown that is recorded. 

At the start the residents of the dis- 
trict agreed that it was a foolhardy proj- 
ect, impossible of success; and at the 
end the natives would not believe that 
the party had actually come overland 
from the Pacific, as they said. Yet 
within twenty years we see a railroad 
and a string of settlers' cabins spanning 
the trackless wilderness which Brooks 
penetrated for the first time. Who can 
doubt that before long the Katmai Na- 
tional Monument will be made readily 
accessible to all who desire to see it? 



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PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION ESTABLISHING THE 
KATMAI NATIONAL MONUMENT 



Whereas, There exists upon the 
southern coast of Alaska a belt of un- 
usual volcanic activity which has during 
the last several years exhibited at vari- 
ous points energy of violence which at- 
tracts the special attention of scientific 
watchers, 

And Whereas, Mount Katmai, one of 
the volcanoes in this belt, has proved up- 
on investigation to have unusual size and 
character, and to be of importance in the 
study of volcanism, inasmuch as its 
eruption of June, 1912, was one of ex- 
cessive violence, ranking in the first order 
of volcanic explosive eruptions and emit- 
ting several cubic miles of material dur- 
ing its first three days of activity, 

And Whereas, The results of this 
eruption are still fresh, offering excel- 
lent opportunities for studying the causes 
of the catastrophe and its results and 
affording a conspicuous object lesson in 
volcanism to visitors interested in the 
operation of the great forces which have 
made and still are making America, 

And Whereas, The volcanic neigh- 
borhood is shown by the explorations of 
the National Geographic Society to con- 
tain many other striking features of an 
active volcanic belt produced so recently 
that they are still in the formative stage; 
and in particular The Valley of the Ten 
Thousand Smokes, a valley of hot 
springs in a condition of development to- 
ward a possible future geyser field, in 
distinction from the present dying gey- 
ser field of the Yellowstone, 

And Whereas, This wonderland may 
become of popular scenic, as well as scien- 
tific, interest for generations to come, in- 



asmuch as all its phenomena exist upon 
a scale of great magnitude, arousing 
emotions of wonder at the inspiring spec- 
tacles, thus affording inspiration to pa- 
triotism and to the study of nature. 

Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wil- 
son, President of the United States of 
America, by virtue of the power and 
authority in me vested by section two of 
the Act of Congress entitled *' An Act for 
the preservation of American Antiqui- 
ties,** approved June 8, 1906 (34 Stat., 
225), do proclaim that there are hereby 
reserved from all forms of appropriation 
under the public-land laws, and set apart 
as the Katmai National Monument, cer- 
tain lands particularly described as fol- 
lows, to wit, beginning at the United 
States Coast and Geodetic Survey trian- 
gulation station, latitude 57° 52' 17.040", 
longitude 155° 05' 20.331", established 
in 1908 about one-half west of Katmai 
Bay on top of a hundred-foot bluff on the 
Alaska Peninsula, named Cape Kubuga- 
kli ; thence north 40° 00' west to the in- 
tersection with longitude 155° 40'; thence 
due north to the intersection with lati- 
tude 58° 35'; thence due east to the in- 
tersection with a line bearing north 60** 
00' west from Cape Gull; thence south 
ioUowing said line to the shore line at 
Cape Gull; thence west following the 
shore line of the coast to a point directly 
below the triangulation station, situated 
on the bluff at Cape Kubugakli; thence 
up the bluff to the said station, the point 
of beginning; embracing approximately 
1 ,700 square miles of land, as shown upon 
the diagram hereto attached and made a 
part of this proclamation. 



331 



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332 



THE VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES 



Warning is hereby given to all unau- 
thorized persons not to appropriate or 
injure any natural feature of this monu- 
ment or to occupy, exploit, settle, or 
locate upon any of the lands reserved 
by this proclamation. 

The Director of the National Park 
Service, under the direction of the Sec- 
retary of the Interior, shall have the su- 
pervision, management, and control of 
this monument, as provided in the Act of 
Congress entitled "An Act to establish 
a National Park Service, and for other 
purposes," approved August 25, 1916 
(39 Stat., 535). 

In Witness Whereof I have hereunto 



set my hand and caused the seal of the 
United States to be affixed. 

Done in the District of Co- 
lumbia this twenty-fourth 
day of September in the 
year of our Lord one thou- 
sand nine hundred and 
[seal.] eighteen, and of the Inde- 
pendence of the United 
States of America the one 
hundred and forty- third. 
WooDROW Wilson. 
By the President: 

Robert Lansing, 
Secretary of State. 
[No. 1487.] 



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ACKNOWLEDGMENT 



Ready as the National Geographic So- 
ciety always is to reach out with new 
fields of interest to its members, it is not 
surprising that with the first news of the 
eruption a representative, George C. 
Martin, was dispatched to the devastated 
district. The report of this first Katmai 
Expedition has furnished the basis of the 
earlier chapters. 

There the matter might have stopped 
had not Frederick V. Coville, Chairman 
of the Research Committee of The Soci- 
ety, recognized the importance of study- 
ing the revegetation of the ash deposits. 
Because of my familiarity with the region 
about Kodiak as a member of the United 
States Bureau of Soils Kelp Expedition 
of 1913, I was selected to carry on the 
investigation. To Dr. Coville the writer 
owes a large debt, not only for the origi- 
nal stimulus to undertake the work, but 
for unceasing help and cdunsel through- 
out. 

The work early enlisted the enthu- 
siastic and constant support of Gilbert 
Grbsvenor, President of The Society. 

In the field the expeditions were gen- 
erously assisted by friends of the Society. 
The people of Kodiak considered it a 
privilege to help. To M. D. Snodgrass, 
then in charge of the Experiment Station, 
and to W. J. Erskine we were especially 



indebted . On two occasions Mr. Erskine, 
placing at the disposal of the expedi- 
tions his large acquaintance with dealers 
in San Francisco, purchased the whole 
season's outfit for us. The expeditions 
of 191 8 and 19 19 were similarly indebted 
to Frank B. Petersen, President of the 
Naknek Packing Company, arid his asso- 
ciates. Superintendent P. Larsen, Cap- 
tain George Wester, and Fred Sparks, 
whose generosity made it possible to 
send in parties and supplies through the 
Bering Sea. 

In the preparation of the topographic 
map accompanying the book. The Soci- 
ety has had the cordial co5peration and 
assistance of the Alaska Division of the 
United States Geological Survey, under 
the direction of Colonel Alfred H. Brooks. 
The map has had many vicissitudes, ow- 
ing to interruptions incident to war and 
to the oil boom which at various times 
drew away the men who were working 
on it. 

Finally, the writer owes a great deal 
to the searching and sympathetic criti- 
cism of his friends, John Oliver La Gorce, 
W. J. Showalter, and other members of 
the Staff of the National Geographic 
Magazine, to C. S. Scofield and F. L. 
Ransome, of the Research Committee, 
and to William R. Maxon. 



333 



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INDEX 



Page numbers in ordinary type (e. g. 24) refer to subjects merely mentioned or to brief comments. Figures in bold face 
type (e. g. 24) refer to important comments or discussions at length. References in italic figures (e. g. 24) denote illus- 
trations. Page references followed by n (e. g. 24*1) indicate footnotes. References in parentheses after Roman numerals 
(e. g. PI. IX (224)] locate plates. 



Abbot, C. G. 3S». 37. 39 

Abrasion of trees by wind-blown ash 
149 

Accessibility of Katmai 327 

Acid in air 11, 2 in, 25. 27. 33; in soil 
209 

Admiral Sampson (steamer) 25 

Afognak, Alaska 7 

Agriculture, bearing of volcanic ash 
on 3 

Airplane, po^bility of using in Kat- 
mai region 75 

Air wave from volcanic eruptions 35 

Alaska Peninsula 15, 58. 67. 208; base 
of. map. front cover; need for road 
across 328 

Alaskan volcanoes 57-63 

Alder {Alnus sinuata) exterminated 
near Katmai 83 

Aleutian, volcanic chain 57-6i ; length 
of 6x ; Islands 58. 6z ; volcanoes 65, 
volcanoes and hot springs, map fac- 
ing 60 

Aleuts 265 

Algae around fumaroles 209, 223, 251 

Algeria, haze in from Katmai eruption 
36 

Alinchak Bay 17 

Allen. E, T. 77, 80, 220, 229, 230, 231, 
246 

Alumina 46 

Alum 247. PI. XI (240) 

Alum root 157 

Amalik Bay 69, 32s. 33o: field of 
floating pumice In 30 

" American Pete." story of 17 

Ammonia 246. 248 

Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal) 35 

Andesite loi, 181, 187. 240, 241, 287; 
changes in by gases 243, 289 

Andrean [Yagashofl 74. i99. 321 

Animals trapped in Valley 281; her- 
bivorous, effect of ash on 3x4 

Animal life, in Katmai region 81, 95; 
return of to Katmai Valley x6z-x6s; 
in Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes 
208; before eruption 265* 277* 3X4* 
increase in Katmai region 315 

Arctowski, Henryk 35 » 

Argon 246 

Arkose 271 

Armstrong, (U. S. Deputy) Marshal 
12, 321 

Arsenic compounds, around fumaroles 
247 

Artemisia tiUsii 155 

Asama-yama (Japanese volcano) 33 

Ash 3. 7-14* 21, 23. 34, 148; views of 
Kodiak immediately after fall of 4, 
5, 6, 16. 20; during fall 9; depth of 
8, 12, 19. 26, 55. Z69; greatest 243; 
area covered by 25-27; plants grow- 
ing through and in 40, 42, 47, 49, 31, 
32, 34, 160; composition of 41, 158; 
roots survive fall of 45* 50, 51 > I55; 
on trees 45; contribution to soil 46; 
analysis 46; drifts and dunes of 46, 
39; effect of in stimulating plant 
growth 47-49; experiments showing 
growth of plants in, as compared 
with sand 30; wind-blown 5i-55» 39', 



effect of on tree growth 33, 83, 133; 
cracks in 22, 53; moved by water 

55. 81; from Bogoslof 65; slides 87* 
147, 82, 86, 126; climbing slopes of 
88; in streams 19. 89, 150, 151, 152, 
153; caverns in 89; bridges 89, 91; 
cool when it fell 95; retarded melt- 
ing of snow 148; colors of 171, 285; 
thrown from Katmai 285; specific 
gravity of 293 ; on plants wore out 
teeth of herbivorous animals 314 

Ash-covered, roofs 16, 24; trees 20, 28, 
38,48 

Ash deposits, affected by earthworms 
55; support moss 38; cross sections 
of 93, 146, 149, 154, 255; erosion in 
161, 298; bad lands in 298 

Ashfall I, 12, 13; map showing depth 
facing i; in Katmai Valley 153-155; 
affected by winds iss; volume of 29; 
from Tomboro34;from Iliamnaand 
Redoubt 61. 62; at Kodiak in 1867, 
62 

Asia, volcanic festoons of, map facing 

56, 57-61 

Asiatic volcanoes. Katmai's relations 

to 57 
Astronomical observations affected by 

eruptions 37 
Atwood. W. W. 167 
Augustine Volcano 60. 62 
Austin, O. P. 341 
Automobile rosid feasible in Katmai 

region 329 
Avalanche Mountain (Katmai region) 

99 
Avalanche of ash. remains of. Kodiak 

14 
Avalanches 147. 241. 242; of ashes 9; 

wind caused small 125; from Falling 

Mountain 241. 277 

Bad lands in ash deposits 254. 298 
Baked Mountain 233, 238. 241, 243, 

253; camp 183. 224. 226, 264, wreck 

of 227-231, 227, 230 
Bandai San (Volcano. Japan) 145; 

landslide 14S 
Banks of overloaded streams 131 
Baptist, Mission, Wood Island 13; 

orphanage, Kodiak 45, ash-covered 

garden at 48, 49 
Barabaras (native houses) 17, pronun- 
ciation of nn. 24, 103; interior of 29 
Barrier Range (Katmai region) 90, 275 
Basalt 46. 261 ; cliffs 302 
Basinger. A. J. 77, 79. 80 
Batholith. theory of to account for 

Valley activity 301, 303 
Beach. Rex 273 

Beaches of old Katmai Lake 120, 125 
Bear trail that sprouted 162; starts a 

fumarole 224; tracks 318, 3^9, 320; 

hunt with a pistol 321; skin 322 
Bears 84, 85. 95. 164. 208, 223. 265. 

277. 315. 317-324; feeding habiu of 

321 
Becharof Lake 15. 183. 265 
Bell, Alexander Graham 341 
Bell. Charles J. 341 
Bering Sea 58, 61, 67. 69. 266, 307. 

335 



327. 329; expedition of 1918 from 

77, 79. 328 
Berries, salmon, vines appear through 

ash 31, ISS 
Betula kenaika 83 
Bhira Gunga (gorge, India) 144 
Bidarka (skin boat) 17. 268 
Birch {Beltda kenaika) almost exter- 
minated in Katmai region 83, 305 
Birds, in Katmai region 93. 95. 163. 

165, 313; injured by falling ash 11 
Bitter cress 155 
Blue-top grass 155. 160 
Boat, canvas 97 
Bogoslof (volcanic Island, Alaska) 61, 

63-65, 64 
Bonfire kindled by water 282 
Borneo (Island. East Indies) 58 
Bothwell (U. S. Coast Guard Cutter) 65 
Boudry, C. L. 17. 2in 
Bowlder trains (flows) 137, X42t effects 

of 142, 143 
Bowlders, moved by streams 96, xo8, 

109, I/O, X 13; as big as houses 135; 

in Bandai San landslide Z45 
Bridger. Jim (comparison) 193 
Bridges of ash 89, 91: over steaming 

fissures 235 
Bristol Bay 266. 310. 328 
Brock, R. W. I39». I43» 
Broken Mountain 233. 238. 240. 241. 

243* 253 
Brooks. Alfred H. 307, 329 
Brooks' Falls 265. 310. 311* 3 10, j// 
Brooks, Lake 307, 308, 309 
Brown (Cap*.) 12 
Buried, wood X27, 139; snowdrifu 

X48-X49 
Burnet (plant) isS 
Buttress Mountain 237. 239, 255 

Calamagrostis scabra 155, 160 

California, haze in from Katmai erup- 
tion 36 

Camps 74; system of relay 7S» 791 
views of 206, 226, 227, 230, 264, 312; 
near Observation Mountain 197; 
near Baked Mountain 183, 224. 226, 
227-23 X, 227, 230, 264 

Cameras 96. 207 

Camosun (steamer) 27 

Canning industry near Katmai region 
3x0, 328 

Canyon, of the Katmai River 69, 95, 
97, 114, ij6, 118, X2X, 122. X24, X27, 
'JO, r32, 273; and second valley of 
the Katmai X23-X33; of Mageik 
Creek X24 

Carbon dioxide. 246; question of lib- 
eration by. of volcanoes of extreme 
importance to mxnkind 43» 44 

Carbon in}noxide 246 

Cardamint umbeUata 155 

Carex sp. I55. i57. 160 

Caribou, absence of in devastated re- 
gion before 191 9. 164 

Carnegie Institution. Geophjrsical 
Laboratory of 78. 79. 80. 205 

Carter. Chariie 267 

Castle Rock (Bogosk>f Island, Alaska) 
63. 65 



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336 



INDEX 



Cattle, herd of Galloway. Kodiak 44 
Caverns in ash 89, 91, 93 ; in Vall^ of 

Ten Thousand Smokes aoj 
Cer ostium sp. IS7 
Cerberus, Mount PI. V (192) lox, 

I93M. 233. 354, ^^'» 374, 296 
Charcoal forest 260 
Charred log. in sandflow 3S5i trees 

357 
Chemical work 309 
Chemistry of f umaroles 346-349 
Chester. C. M. 341 
Chigmit Mountains (Alaska) S9 
Chicken (town) 33. 36 
Chickweed X57 
China Sea 58 
Church, D. B. 73, 7 J. 74. 76, 189. 190, 

193. 316. 317 
Church, Greek at Kodiak q; Russian 

Z03, 267; at Katmai village 104 
Clark, Lake 31, 33, 6x, 308 
Clarke. F. W. 4111. 43 
Cliffs of columnar basalt 302 
Climate in Katmai region 90, xs8-xS9t 

ao8, 309; glacial, might be caused 

by volcanoes 39*4 x 
Climatic effects of the eruption 33-44 
Climbing ash slides 87 
Clothing 307 
Clouds, volcanic xs, si, 379; edge of 8; 

about Mt. Katmai 167. X73. I77; 

steam 168; about Mt. Martin z8i 
Coan. Titus 38x11 
Cold Bay (town) X7. 3X. 379. 334 
Color photography 351 
Colors, of Katmai cliffs 133, xa4; of 

mud Z67; of ash z 71, 385; of Katmai 

crater walls 174; about f umaroles 

X90, 192. 304. PI. VI (193). VII 

(308). VIII (309), IX (324). X (22s). 

XI (240), XII (241). XIII (288). 

XIV (289) ; of cliffs on Baked Moun- 

tain 244; due to iron compounds 247 ; 

in the Valley 350-351 
Commander Islands S7 
Condition of country before eruption 

365-375 
Conglomerate 306 
Conical mounds, probably result of 

landslides X37-X38, 128, 134* X39» 

Z43; in Bandai San landslide X4s; 

on melting snow field 156, 157 
(>>nway. Sir William M. i43fi 
C^ook, Captain (early explorer) 63. 63 
Cook Inlet ai. 6x, 62, 369. 307. 339 
Cooking 8z ; over f umaroles 196, 200, 

PI. VI (193). VIII (209), 305, 334- 

336, 282 

Copper Center (town) 23 
Cordova, Alaska 23, 25 
Cornice structure in block of lava 296 
Corundum in incrustations 247 
Cotopaxi (volcano, Mexico) 43 
Country around Katmai. geographic 

observations in 305*337 
Coville. Frederick V. 307, 313, 34X 
Coville. Lake 307. 308, 313 
Crater, of Katmai z67-z79» 387, 388; 
nature of rim of z68, 171, J 73: view 
into 169, 172, 174, '76' '78: lake In 
169; size of 170, 173. Z76-X79; com- 
pared to that of Kilauea 179; of Mt. 
Martin z8x ; descent into 185 
Craters, in Valley floor 236, 337* 361, 

202 
Crater Lake (Oregon) 388 
Crust (earth's) deformation of 59 
CulebraCut (comparison) X17 

Daly, R. A. 297" 

Dam formed by landslide in Katmai 



Cansron, 1x5-1x7, 116, X3S; in Mag- 

elk Valley 117: in Himalayas 145 
Dangers of the Valley 30X, 303-304 
David's Falls 133 
Darwin, Charles 55 
Dawson (city) 33. 36 
Davidson, George 61 m, 63 
Dead forest 87. 95 
Deformation of strata 61 
Deltas, process of formation 153 
Dennison. Napier 33. 27 
Depth of waters near Aleutians 61 
Desert, as result of eruption 45 
Desolation of Katmai region, 83, 94^ 

95. 137 
Devil dub growing through ash 40 
Deville. C, 24611 
Digestion of old ix>ck in magma 340, 

34 X, 389, 397H. 399*« 
Dikes built by shifting streams 153 
Disturbances, preliminary 15 
Dora (steamer) 10, J3, 15. 3i, 369 
Dormant, plants, under ash 5X» 53; 

seeds iS7 
Douglas. Cape 334 
Douglas. Mount 307 
Drainage in Valley 345 
Drinking water 88, 89; pool 222 
"Dry fog" 33 
Dunes, ash 39 
Dust, volcanic xx, 37, 33! fell at great 

distances 27; cloud 33; from Tom- 

boro 34; sun's heat absorbed by 37; 

in air 8 1 ; storm in Katmai region 84 ; 

clouds from landslides X45 

Eagle (village) 26 

Earthquakes 12, 17, 19, 21. 1x5. X40, 
269, 273. 277. 278, 285: distaint 
records of 33 

Earthworms, in ash deposits 55 

East Indies 58 

Eastern Sea (Tunghai), Asia 58 

Edgecombe. Mount (volcano) Alaska 
S6. 36, 57H 

Edson. John Joy 341 

Effects of eruption, climatic 33-44; at 
Kodiak 45 

Ejecta, quantity of 39-3X, X44. 189, 
275N. 28s. 2951; from Tomboro 34; 
character of from Katmai 101, 285 

Elderberry IS7 

Elm Landslide (Switzerland) X43 

English Harbor (Port Graham) Alaska 
63 

Equisetum aravense 155 

Erosion, of ash 55» 171; of volcanic 
cone 65; of mountains 129, 131; be- 
ginning of on Mageik landslide X38; 
by wind 148, 149; in ash 16 x, 298; 
in sandflow 234, 238, 260 

Eruption, and its significance x-5; as 
experienced at Kodiak 7-X3; phe- 
nomena accompanying 7-X3» I5-3Z» 
33-39. 65. xis. 139, X44. 242; rec- 
ords of from other localities X5-31 ; 
sky phenomena following 37; condi- 
tion of Valley before 19; effects of 
on air pressure 35; on forests 45. 53; 
on climate 33-44! on animal life 
16X-X65. 3x4; at Kodiak 45; sand- 
flow a new type of 361 ; condition of 
country before 265-375; hjrpothcti- 
cal chronicle of 377-385; summary 
of events of 385 

Eruptions. 3, X3, 25. 33. 34. 6X-65, I45 

Expeditions to Katmai region 69; of 
1912, isn, 71; of 191S. 7x, 73, 97; of 
1916. 7X, 73. 97, 147. I5S. IS7, 163. 
167; of 1917. 72, 73. 77. 97, 147. 174. 
175. x8i, X97-3X7, 373, view of 



members of 76; of X918, 17* 77; of 
1919. 77, 79. 147. ISO. 181. view of 
members of 77: Frank Leslie's 374; 
effect of World War on 79; pxep- 
arations for 74; headquarters of 
Kodiak (5 

Experiment Station, Kodiak, herd of 
cattle belonging to 44 

Explosions (volcanic) 3. 7. 15. 19. 3X, 
33. 34, 35. 41. 381; heard at distant 
points 33; of Augustine 63; of Bog- 
oslof 65; of Novarupta 384; of Kat- 
mai delaired until crater was un- 
roofed 297. 399 

Explosive character of Katmai 391 

Ewing. Dr. U. W. 37 

Eyewitnesses of eruption X5-3X 

Fairbanks (city) 23. 26 
Fahxhild. David 341 
Falling Mountain (in Valley of Ten 
Thousand Smokes) PL IV (97); 128, 

X921I, 202, 3x9, 220, 333, 34X-243» 

280; avalanche 377* 385 

Fault scarp. Broken Mountain 244 

Faults in Katmai region 132, 243, 273, 
388, 303 

Fenner, C. N. 77, 80, 183, X84, i8s, 
329, 230, 231, 240, 293N, 39711, 39911, 
30X 

Ferric oxide 46n 

Fertility of volcanic soils varies 46; of 
ash tested 47 

Fertilizer, asli from Katmai did not 
act as 46; used in testing ash 47; ni- 
trate 47; effect of on plants grown 
in ash and sand 30 

Fidde Creek 150, 151, 131 

"Finger Lakes," New York (compari- 
son) 308 

Fire, evidence of in Katmai region 95, 
357; set by lava in Valley 38 x 

Fireweeds in ash-covered region 45, 46 

Firewood 81 

Fish in Katmai region 13Q, x6x, x63, 
308, 309. 3x0, 310, 3XX, jii. 3x3, J'^ 

Fishing in Katmai lakes 309 

Fisher. Franklin J. 34 x 

Fissure Lake 212, 344* 'S8 

Fissures 17. 202, 216, 335. 344. 254* 
255 ; steaming 278; fundamental 303 

Flies X63, i64» 

Fkxxi, a freak of the 109, 1x3; the 
Katmai xo3-X3x, 131; destruction 
by 102, 103, 106, 107* no; the Goh- 
na 119; the Mageik 131; the Johns- 
town 119 

Fkxxi fall of Katmai River ///, J12, 
114, 155 

Flowers in Katmai region 83, 322 

Fluorine, surprising abundance of in 
gases 347 

Fogs near Alaska Peninsula 67 

Folding (of strata) 27 x 

Folsom. L. G. 7x. 72, 7J. 74. 76, 77, 80, 
X13, 127,170. 189, 190.211,319,321 

Food of expeditions 75-77. 335-336 

Fording, streams 87; Katmai River 
96; Soluka Creek 89; with help of 
rope 97 

Forests, effect of eruption on. 45, 53; 
near Katmai 83, 305; dead 87, 95; 
effect of Katmai flood on 107. of hot 
sandflow 356, 357; in Katmai region 
267, 312 PI. XVI (30s); in Valley 
before eruption 277; Hudsonian 305; 
border migrating westward 305 

Formosa (Island, Japan) 58 

Foulk, C. W. 4611, 47>» 

Fowle, F. E. 3S»«. 37 

Foxes 164, 3x5 



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337 



Frank (Alberta), landiUde X39. X43 

Ftanklin. Benjamin, on "dry fog" 33 

Fujiyama (volcano) Japan 57, 63, loi 

Fulmer, Elton 4611 

Fulton, B. B. 7/. 73. 96 

Fumaroles x, 3» 69, 71. lOo, xo6, X97« 
200, 204, 309, 2x2, 2J4, 234, 243. 
232, 2Q4; colors around 190, 323, Pi. 
VI (193). VII (208). VIII (209), IX 
(224). X (22s). XI (240). XII (241), 
XIII (288). XIV (289). tempera- 
tures of 77. 20s. 219, 220-322, high- 
est 321 ; motion pictures of 79; the 
first seen 189-190; relation to old 
volcanoes X93> 209; cooking over PL 
VI (193), VIII (209), 106, 200, 20S» 
334-236( 282; steam from not de- 
pendent on surface water 2 X9 ; slack- 
ening activity of 2x9; measuring 
temperatures of PI. IX (324), XIV 
(389). XV (304). 221, 242: started 
by a bear 324; photographing 232; 
types of 23S*-339; domed 237; in a 
river 34S> 243: chemistry of 246- 
349; lighting fire from 282 

Fumes 9. 2x11, 25,33* x8s. 192, 203. 281 

Game x6s 

Gaseous transfer of rock constituents 
343 

Gases i, 25, 221. 281, 283. 291. 293; 
quantities of liberated from magma 
41, 299ff; changes in rock wrought 
by hot 343; collection of samples of 
209; odors of 346; composition of, 
unrelated to tempature 246M; prob- 
lem of liberation of, from magma 
30X ; heavy charges of, in magma 303 

Gantier, A. 41 

Geographic Harbor $, 69. X33. 302, 
324, 326, 337* 328: entrance to and 
islands in 330 

Geographic importance of Katmai 
Pass 69, 72. 74. 79. 99. 265, 367, 328 

Geography of Katmai region 67-7x» 
30S-337 

Geological formations in Katmai re- 
gion S9f xox, X34, I35t X40, 233. 238, 
249. 27 X, 306; Jurassic measures of 
xox, 125, 233. 249. 271 

''Geological thermometer" (quartz) 
293 

Geophysical Laboratory of C^amegie 
Institution 78. 79. 80, 205 

Geranium erianthum 157 

GUbert. C. H. 311 

Glaciated, surfaces 124, 124. 123, X2S. 
308, 327; shores of Island Bay 312 

Glaciers, on Katmai Volcano 99> X67, 
X7x» 173. 275; in Katmai region 124, 
369. 271 largest X3X-X32; on Mount 
Martin 183, 184 

Glisan, Rodney L. 80 

Gohna (India) Flood 1 19; landslide 144 

Gore, J. Howard 341 

Grand Canyon (of the Colorado) X22, 
123. 249 

Granite gives off water when at high 
temperatures 41 ; relation of to ash, 
41, 299x; 8oil formed by 47; weight 
of contrasted with that of pumice 
2Q3; in batholiths 301 

Graph, showing relattons of tempera- 
ture>un-spot numbers and radiation 
intensity (pyrheliometric values) as 
affected by volcanic eruptions 32; 
of monthly averages of solar radia- 
tion intensity 34: showing effect of 
dust from Katmai on skylight polar- 
ization, insolation and temperature 
36 



Grass comes up through ash 42: 
growth following ashfall 4S; tall 
growth of after eruption 274 

Graves, Ralph A. 34x 

Greased Hill 241 

Great Khingan Mountains (Asia) 58 

Greek Church. Kodiak during erup- 
tion Q 

Greeley, A. W. 341 

"Green Kodiak": appearance of vil- 
lage before eruption 2 

Grewingk (Volcano) 63. 6$ 

Grewingk. C. 63 

Griggs. Robert F. 72, 82«, 74, 76, 77* 
84, 87, 132; Mrs. Robert F. 1 23. I74; 
David 123; Julian 123; Rosamond 
123; Ruth 123, 130 

Grosvenor, Edwin P. 341 

Grosvenor, Gilbert 115. 307, 333. 34i; 
Foreword by XV 

Grosvenor, Lake 307, 308, 308, 314; 
dimensions of 3x4 

Gull. Cape 33 x 

Hagelbarger. P. R. 17. 74. 7^. 77 > 77. 

80, 147. t8i. 205. 210, 2X1, 213. 224, 

239. 295ff. 520, 322 
Hagelbarger. Ralph 80, 210 
Hagelbarger's Pass 133 
Harbor 131. X9S, 322-^25; Geographic 

S> 69. X33. 302. 324. 337> Hidden 325 
Haze from eruptions 33-37 
Helrlegel. Hermann 160 
Helt, Richard E. 77. 79. 80 
Hematite 243 
Hesse. William A. 71, 86 
Heuchera glabra 157 
Henning, William L. 77* 80, 181, 210, 

241 
"High sand mark" PI. V (192), 262, 

263 
Hildebrand. J. R. 34 x 
Hine. J. S. 74. 76, 77, 80, 208. 2/0, 214, 

215. 313. 314. 324 
Hissong. J. E. 29 
Hitchcock. C. H. 279«, 281 m 
Hobbs, W. H. 57«. S8 
Homer. M. A. 71, 86, 13s 
Horsetail (plant), growth in ash 47* 

32, 155; as a soil binder 53 
Horsehoe Pond (in Katmai region) 164 
Hot and cold lake (Fissure Lake) 244 
Hot ground, camp on 207 
Hot springs, map facing 60, X33-X33, 

197. 3X9. 339. 248, 269 
Houses, effect of ashfall on 5, 14, 16, 18 
Hudsonian forest 305 
Humphreys, W. J. 29»«. 33. 3S". 39. 41 
Hutchinson, George W. 341 
Hydraulic effects of flood, peculiar 

XXO-XX3 
Hydrocarbons, aromatic, in fumarole 

deposits 248 
Hydrochloric add 246 
Hydrogen sulphide 190, 246, 248 
Hydrofluoric add 203. 246, 347 
Hymenoptera 16411 

Ice cliffs, in Katmai crater X73. I74; 

climbing 184 
Ice ages, relation of volcanoes to 39-4X 
Iceland, volcanoes in 33 
Igneous rocks, chemical make-up of 46 
Illamna, Volcano X5. 61; Lake 33; 

Bay 23 
niuk Arm (of Naknek Lake) 69. X27, 

239. 30X. 306, 307 
Ilktugitak, Cape 327 
Innoko 20 
Innuits 266 
Insects in Katmai region 95. 163. 208, 



314; dead ^ upi>er Katmai Valley 
262, X63-X64 
Insolation graph showing effect of 

dust from Katmai on (chart) 36 

Iron, in incrustations 247 ; in water 27 x 

Isanotsky Peaks (Unimak Island) 62 

Islands, adjoining Alaska Peninsula. 

map, front cover; glaciated shores of 

312; Bay of 305. 307 ; in Amalik Bay, 

entrance to Geographic Harbor 330 

Jacob. Harry E. 79. 80 
Jaggar, F. A. 6311 
Japan 57; volcanoes in 33. 58, I45 
Japan Sea 58 

Johnstown Flood (comparison) 119 
Jones, E. I^ester 341 
Jones. Frank I. 80, 251 
Julian's Falls 123 
Juncoides sp. 160 
JuncMs sp. 157 
Juneau (city) 15. 23. 26 
Jurassic strata in Katmai region xox, 
125. 233. 249. 271 

Kaflia Bay, 17; experiences of people 

at 19 
Kalsin Bay 52 
Kamchatka 57. 58 
Kamishak Bay 307 
Kanatak (village) 19 
Kashvik Bay X7. 74 
Katalla (village) 23. 26, 29 
Katmai, pronunciation of m 
Katmai Bay PI. II (81), 81, 103. X33. 

331 
Katmai C^anyon 69. 95. 97. 1x4* xx6, 

XI8. X2I, X22, X34-X27» /JO. /J2, 

273; and Second Valley X23-X33 

Katmai crater x67-i79> 387. 288; na- 
ture of rim of x68, X71* X75'* first 
view into X69, 172, 174* X76, X78; 
lake within X69; size of X70, 173. 
X76-X79; compared to that of Kil- 
auea X79 

Katmai Fk>od. X03-X2X, 13X 

Katmai Lakes 115. ii7. 127 

Katmai, Mount (volcano) 13. X5, 17, 
57. 71. 100, 126, j68, 286, 331; 
quantity of ejecta from 39-3X, 144. 
X89, 27 sn, 287; comparison of with 
other volcanoes 34. 39. 62; first 
ascent of 72, X67; first journey to 
85-xox; first sight of 99; gladers on 
slopes of 99; description of xoo; pre- 
vious activity of X24; deposits on 
slopes of XS5> douds about 167. I73. 
175; dimbing 160* 170; second as- 
cent of X7x; ascent of. in 1917. X74- 
X75; slackening activity of 220; re- 
lations of eruption of. to Valley ac- 
tivity 26X, 285; sections of. before 
and after eruption 272; before erup- 
tion 270, 275; beginning of eruption 
of 285 ; remains of 270, 286; what be- 
came of top of? 387-303 > at extreme 
of explosive volcanoes 391 ; activity 
of, intermittent 299 

Katmai National Monument 5. 74. 80. 
195. X97» 315. 317. 327; central por- 
tion, map 68; topographic map, 
back cover; proclamation creating 
33X-333; accessibility of 339 

Katmai Pass 19. 69. X89, 308, 233. 253. 
265. 367-273f 375. 329; geographic 
importance of 69, 72, 74. 79. 99. 265. 
367, 328; views in igo, ip/. 262 

Katmai region, geology of S9. xox, X34, 
X3S> X40, 233. 338, 249. 37X, 304; 
geography of 67^x, 305* 339* lakes 
of 69. 1X5. 127. 305-3XX; desolation 



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338 



INDEX 



in 8a, 95, 127: flowers in 83; Jurassic 
measures in loi, 125, 233. 349. 371: 
entrance to. discovered 133: types 
of landslides in 144; conditions in, 
before eruption 365-375 

Katmai River 67, 69, 74. 103-104* 369. 
views of ^7. too. I OS. /o<¥; fording 96; 
upper reaches of 137; source of 133 

Katmai Valley 23. 69, 71* 74. 268. 275; 
views in PL II (81), 73, S6. 04, ill, 
J 12, 114: devastation of 81-101; 
features of 95, 103, 104; second 115. 
117. X37, 13X ; in later years 147-153; 
physiographic instability in 147- 
153; ashfall in 153-185; return of 
plants and animals to 155-165 

Katmai Village 17. I9. 7i. 103. 155. 
366. 268, 277. 288; desolation of, 
after eruption 18. 104 

Katolinat. Mount PI. XV^I (305). 394. 
306, 307, 307 

Katz. F. J. bin 

Kauffmann. Rudolph 341 

Kayaks (skin boaU) 308 

"Kettle hole" pond 143 

Kikuchi. Y. i4Sff 

Kimball. H. H. 36n, 3511. 36N. 39 

Kinak Bay 131. 132. 325 

Knife Creek 69. 239; valley of 69, la?. 
231; canyon of 254 

Knife Peak 70. 233. 237. 253 

Knight {Charles R.] 321 

Kodiak (Island), Alaska i. 67: appear- 
ance before eruption 2; scene on 2. 
4* 5, 6, 0, 10, J4. 20, 22, 3S. 44, 4S, 
40, 51; appearance after eruption 4, 
5, 6; eruption as experienced at 7- 
13; during eruption p; cattle on 44; 
recovery of vegetation at 45-55* PL 
I (80); waters around 61; commu- 
nications with 67; birds on 165; 
bears on 317 

Kodiak Radio Station 8 

Kolb, Emery C. 77, 80. 349, 250, 251 

Korea 58 

Krakatoa (volcano), Java 35. 33". 34* 
35t37 

Kubugakli. Cape 17. 275* 33 1 

Kukak Bay 32S 

Kupreanof Straits 15 

Kuril Islands 57. 58 

Kuskokwim River 366 

Labradorite 289 

Lacewing (insect) i64n 

La Gorce, John Oliver 341 

La Gorce. Mount 306, 306 

Lakes of Katmai region 69. iiSt '20, 
127. 212. 306. 307-313. 307* 308, 
300, 314, 3ts 

Landing, first 8x 

Landslide 143 ; in Katmai Canyon ti6: 
Mageik 69. 74. 135-145. 136, 138. 
140, J41, 144; Noisy Mountain T38' 
139, 131. X42; Frank, Alberta 139. 
143; Elm, Swiuerland 143; Ross- 
berg, Switzerland 144; Gohna, India 
144; Bandai San, Japan 145 

I landslides 285; and rivers, an inter- 
mediate between 131; typical fea- 
tures of 139: previous 139. X43-145; 
conditions ^vorable for 140; types 
in Katmai region 144 

Lansing. Robert 332 

Latouche (town) 35 

Lava 41. 279; composition of in Kat- 
mai region xox ; bowlder, moved by 
stream 108; from Novarupta 238, 
340. 341; laJce of 299; new and old 
from Katmai 290; peculiar structure 

0l2fi6 



Lava flows iii. 33. 124. 123, 126, 140; 

greatest during historic tiroes Ga- 

pan) 33\ old, from Katmai 287 
Learn. The Rev. George A. 48 
Lee. Jack 17 

Lu-Chu Islands (Japan) 58 
Leslie. Frank 274 
Lethe (stream) 239. 24S. 345 
Life dependent on volcanic action 

43-44; no destruction of 3, 19 
Lightning 7. 8. 11, 23. 65 
Lime 4611 
Limestone 271 
Logan. Daniel 279f( 
Long Island, roof crushed by ashes j6 
Loring (town) 37 
Lupine in ash covered region 45. 15S, 

158. X59-X60 

McCaughey. W. J. 389 

McConnell, R. G. I39»«. I43»« 

McCulloch, (U. S. Coast Guard Cut- 
ter) 65 

McCulloch Peak (Bogoslof Island. 
Alaska) 63. 65 

McMuUen, (Capt.) C. B. is 

McPherson. J. L. 15 

MacDonald. T. L. 341 

Mageik. pronunciation of 69M 

Mageik Creek 124. 189; flood of xx?. 
131 

Mageik Landslide 69. 74. X35-X45, 
J 36, 138, 140, 141, 144; dimensions 
of 14X ; compared with other slides 
X43-X45. 241, 285 

Mageik, Mount (volcano) 19. 69. 78, 
8s. PI. V (192), 99. 124, 160, 166, 
t86, 190, 320. 233. 354. 271, 375* 
284, 285; ejecta from searched for 
86; relation of to Mount Martin 181 

Magma, definition of m, 41 , 209. 24711, 
361, 388: intrusion of 140, 193. 239; 
reached surface in Valley 340, 378; 
mixture of old and new 389- 39X; 
ate way upward 291, 29s. 303; new, 
temperature of 39X-293; lake of in 
crater before explosion 399; ap- 
proached surface over considerable 
area 301 

Magma chamber 388, 292, 301, 303 

Magnesia 46M 

Magnetic properties of ash 4611 

Maithana. Mount (Himalayas) 144 

Malbat Station (Vancouver Island) 27 

Man-back transiwrtation 75 

Manganese oxide 46M 

Manning (U. S. Revenue Cutter) 8, 
10, XI, 13; refugees on board // 

Marsh gas from fumaroles 247 

Martin, George C. is» .2 in. 2611, 29. 
3411. 61 fi. 71. 86. 103. IS3 

Martin Creek 97. 124; bridge over 92; 
valley 69. 74. I3S 

Martin. Mount (volcano) PI. Ill (9^), 
71. 85, 180. x8x-x87. 182, 184, 190. 
220, 264, 385; ejecta from searched 
for 86; attempts to climb x8x, 183; 
ctater of x8x* 185 

Mather, Stephen T. 341 

Mauna Loa (Hawaii) 279 

Maynard, C F. 74. 76, in, 208. 213, 
215, 295** 

Meniam, C. Hart 34< 

Metcalf Peak (Bogoslof Island) 63, 65 

Metha Nelson (schooner) 8 

Metroldn. Walter 72, 73. 74, 7^, i97. 
315 

Military importance of road across 
Alaska Peninsula 339 

Miller, August E. 77, 80, 313 

Minerals, formation of 3 



Moose, absence of in devastated region 
164 

Moose Creek 321 

Morey. George W. 3011* 

Mosquitoes 17. 95. 163. i64» 

Moss, caught ash 38, 53; network of, 
on forest floor S3. 55. 58; around 
fumaroles 209. 223 

Moths 164M 

Motion pictures, of volcanic phenom- 
ena 71. 79> X95; of pumice-choked 
streams isa 

Motorcycle, attempt to use. in 75 

Mounds, curious conical X37, 138* 128, 
'34. X39* X42; in Bandai San land- 
slide 145 

Mud, from Katmai Volcano 23. X55* 
28s; in Katmai Valley 81. X03; flow 
PL II (81), 96* 123. 253. 285; slides 
X39-X3X; on slopes of Katmai 167; 
stuck in the i6q; steaming 338; pots 
and "pimples" 339; pot 284 

Naknek, pronunciation of 69N 

Naknek. Lake 17. 69. 77. 79. i55. 233. 
PL XVI (30S), 26s. 266. 367. 368, 
305. 307, 307. 308. 309. 324* 327 

Naknek River 77. 79. 265 

Naknek Village 17. 2X 

National Monument. Katmai 5. 74. 
80. 195. 197. 315. 317. 327; procla- 
mation creating 331-333 ; accessibil- 
ity of 329 

National Park Service. Director of. in 
charge of Katmai National Monu- 
ment 332 

Native huts (barabaras) 17 and m. 24, 
103; interior of 26 

N^v^ 131. 171, 184 

Nimrod (boat) 324, 323, 327 

Nitrogen compounds, absence of, in 
ash 160; in fumes 209. 246. 248 

Noisy Mountain (Katmai region) 74* 
117, 241 ; landslides of 128, 138-139, 
X3X, 142 

Nome stampede, use of Katmai Pass 
during 99. 267 

Norman (motor boat) 13 

North. S. N. D. 341 

Novarupta (volcano) 39, X92, iQ4f 
233. 238, 340-341, 253. 276. 280, 
297 «. 300; part played by, in Valley 
sandflow 261; explosion of 384; 
quantity of ejecta from 285; subsid- 
ence of 288. 303 

Nushagak (village) 19. 266, 267. 268 

Nutting, P. G. 37 

Nyman, [Gus] Captain 324. 327 

Observation Mountain 124. 147. 189. 

253. 273. 274. 27S; camp 197 
Oceans, relation to volcanoes 43 
Odors 25. 167, 190. 192. 238. 346, 281 
Okhotsk Sea (Asia) 58 
Olga (town) 29 
Oogashik (village) 265 
Orloflf. Ivan, letter of 19. 21 
Osbom, H. F. 32i« 
Outfits for expeditions 74 
"Overhead stoping" 397»», 303 
Overloaded streams 150-153; channels 

built up by 132 
Oxygen 246 

Pack train 2/0 

Park. Katmai (properly Katmai Na- 
tional Monument) 306, 307. 334. 339 

Pass 131. 132; Katmai 19. 69, 72, 74. 
79. 99. X89. IQO, IQI, 308, 333. 253. 
262, 265. 367-373. 274. 329; Hagel- 
barger's 133 



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INDEX 



339 



Pavlof Volcano 66 

Peat 135. I37 

Pedmar. Mount 8i 

Pel6e Volcano (West Indies) loi, 261, 
279 

Pembcrton. C. C. 27 

Peneplain 167 

Perry. (Capt.) K. W. 8, 9. 11. 15. 4^ 

Personnel of expeditions. 1915. 7i» 72; 
1916. 7a» 73: 1917. 74» 76; 1918, 77; 
1 9 19. 77. 77. 79. 80 

Petrof. Ivan 265, 306, 321, 328 

Petroleum-like emanations in Valley 
247-248 

Petrological studies loi. 243 

Peulik (volcano) is, 183, 307 

Phosphoric acid 46. 4711 

Photography 207, 224. 251 

Physiographic instabUity in Katmai 
Valley 147-153 

Physiography, curious 128, 131 

Phenomena accompanying eruption 
7-13. 15-31. 33-39. IIS. 139. 144. 
242; sky, following eruption 37 

Picea canadensis 305 

" Pimples ". a type of fumaroles 240, 2P4 

Plagioclase feldspar 289^ 

Plants, effect of ash on 3. 45-55. of 
fumes 33. of reduction of average 
temperature 39 J herbaceous in 
Katmai region 82; grown in ash 
experiments 47. so; resurrected /jj; 
prevent ash blowing 5a; effect of 
ash on growth 53: return of, to 
Katmai Valley 155-161; practically 
absent from Valley in 191 7, 209; 
return of. to Valley 223 

Plowing before ashfall, effect on re- 
vegetation S4 

Plug of Novarupta 238, 240 

Poa sp. 157 

Pogromni Volcano (Unimak Island) 
62, 63. 63 

Polarization of skylight, affected by 
eruptions 36; graph of 36 

PoUmoniutn coeruUum 157 

Pompeii, contrast with Kodiak 13 

Pond, in Katmai National Monu- 
ment 266 

Ponds, in upper Katmai Valley 127 

Poplars, Balsam (Populus balsamifera), 
in Katmai region 82, ^j, 30s 

Port Graham (English Harbor) 
Alaska 62 

Port Moller (town) 265 

Port Townscnd. Washington 27 

Post. W. S. 275 

Potassium compounds 46, 4711, 247 

Powers, Sidney 6511 

Preliminary gymptoma observed at 
outlying stations 19 

Preparations for expeditions 74 

Pressure, air, reduced by volcanic 
eruptions 35 

Prince Rupert (town) 27 

Prince William Sound 25 

Printer (tug) 13 

Property, destruction of 7 

Proportions, land of stupendous 173 

Pumice 17. 29. 41. 72, 75t 81, 147; 
floating 30, 81. 89, 103, 151; sharp- 
ness of 88; straining, out of water 
88; choked streams 150-1 53( 132; 
wind-blown, cuts faces 199* 229; 
lightness of illustrated 250. 293; 
mixed, from Katmai 2qj; highly 
inflated 29911 

Putnam, George R. 341 

Pyrheliometric values, curve of 
(graph) 32 

P3rroxene crystals 243 



Quartz 46, 293 and n 

Quicksands 75. 88. 89, 104; fording 
stream through 87; of Katmai River 
J08 

Radiation intensity, graph showing 
32 

Radio 9 

Radio Station. Kodiak 8 

Rains, frequent in Katmai region 52 

Rampart (city) 26 

Redoubt (volcano) 15, 61 

Refrigerator, a natural iq8 

Refugees. Kodiak 11. // 

Reindeer 265. 266 

Remoteness of Katmai 67 

Return, of plants to Katmai Valley 
155-161; of animals 161-165 

Revegetation 3. 45-55. 7i; in Katmai 
Valley 155-161; prevention of by 
acid rains 183 

Rhodiola rosea 155 

Rhyolite. acid 46. loi, 240, 241. 287 

Rhyolitic glass 289 

Richtofen. (Ferdinand Baron von] 57K 

Rishiri (Island). Japan 57 

Road across Alaska Peninsula, mili- 
tary importance of 329 

"Roches moutonnees" 308 

Rocks, "balanced" 23; hurled during 
eruptions 33; slides (falls) 2 in, 128, 
I28r-i29, 141-147, 148, 241; changes 
in wrought by hot gases 243; old 
and new mixed 289, 200 

Rodents 165; absence of in devastated 
regions before 191 9. 164 

Rodriguez (Island, Indian Ocean) 
25.35 

Roots, two sets of on plants 40; sur- 
vived ashfall 45. 5o. 5Z. Z55; condi- 
tions encountered by 4611; "two- 
storied", result from ashfall 51. 83; 
of willow at ash suriace 133; re- 
juvenation of 157 

Rope, crossing river with 97 

Rosamond's Falls 123 

Rossberg Landslide 144 

Rouge, C. D. 27 

Rubus spectabilis 155 

Ruby 26 

Russian American Company 266 

Russian, Church at Katmai Village 
103; missionary at Nushagak 267 

Ruth's Falls 123, 130 

St. Michael (city) 266 

St. Paul (old name for Kodiak) 268, 
269 

St. Pierre (Martinique) 261, 279 

Sakhalin Island (Asia) 57 

Salix arctica 155 

Salmon in devastated district ZSO* 
161, 163; in lake region 308. 309; 
leaping up falls 310, j/o. 316; re- 
markable instinct of 311, 3 13; spear- 
ing J//; fisheries 311 

Salmon-berries 51, 155; since eruption 
51 

Sambucus pubens 157 

Sandblast 52; effect of on trees p/; 
effect of on plants 158 

Sandflow i. 3. I5* I7. 29. 253-261, 
254f 255, 256, 257, 258, 260, 263, 
284; 285. 301; dimensions of 253* 
283; heat of 258; fracture in 259 

Sandstone 124, 125. 140, 233. 238, 
243. 249, 263, 306; fragments of in 
magma 299 

Sanguisorba siUhensis 155 

Sargent, R. H. 65 

Savonoski, River 307; Village 17. 268, 
269. 271. 277. 288 



Sayre, Jasper D. 74. 76, 77, 77, 79. 80, 

147. 175. 205, 213. 239. 295>» 
Scenery, beauties of 306-307, 32s 
Sedimentary rocks in Katmai region 

101, 135. 140. 233. 240. 306 
Seedlings 162; slow to start 52; 

timothy in ash S4; start in forest 

55; start in Katmai Valley 147, 157. 

158, 159; of trees abundant 305 
Seeds (dormant) 157 
Sekiya. S. I45n 
Seldovia (town) 19. 21, 23 
Seward, Alaska 15. 25 
Shale 140. 233, 306 
Shantz. A. B. 274ff 
Shelikof Strait i, 15. 67. 75. 167, 268 
Shifting streams 150-153 
Shipley, J. W. 74. 76, 201, 209, 215. 

246, 247, 249n 
Ship Rock (Bogoslof Island, Alaska) 

63 
Shiras. George, 3d 341 
Shishaldin (volcano) 62, 63, loi 
Shoes, effect of hot ground and pumice 

on 205 
Showalter, William J. 341 
Sierra Nevada (Mountains) 301 
Silica 46». loi. 287 
Sill theory to account for Valley 

activity 301-303 
"Silver Horde" 273 
Sitka (city), Alaska 56, 57» 
Skaptar JokuU (volcano. Iceland) 33 
Skin boats (bidarkas) 17. 268; 

(kayaks) 308 
Skylight polarization, graph showing 

effect of dust from Katmai on 36 
Sky phenomena following eruptions 

37 
Slide Mountain (Katmai region) 97 
Slides, ash 82, 86, 87; land 115-117. 

128; rock 128, 148; the MageUc 

138, 140, J 41, 144; drainage on 

136 
Smith, George Otis 341 
Smith, W. R. 6s 
Smoke (volcanic) 15. i7. 2in, 279; 

from fissures 202 
"Smokes" in Valley, number of 

199-201 
Snodgrass, M. D. 53 
Snowdrifts, buried under ash 148-149, 

I4Q 
Snowy Mountain (in Katmai region) 

131 
Soda46n 
Soil, formation of 3; contribution of 

ash to 46; granite 47; tests of ash as 

47 
Solar radiation intensity, graph show- 
ing monthly averages of 34 
Soluka. Valley 69, 83, 33, 327: Creek 

82, 87. 88-89. 00. 133 
Solution of old rock in new magma 

289-293, 299« 
Spearing salmon j/r 
Spencer, Cape 25 
Springs 127; hot 132-133, 197. 2Z9» 

239. 248. 269 
Spruce, white 305 
Spurr, J. E. 189, 190, 267. 269ft, 273. 

275 
Squentna Valley 61 
Squhres, Grant 341 
Stanovoi Mountains (Asia) 58 
Steam (volcanic) 3, 5, I7i. 208; origin 

of 41. 246; estimated volume of, 

liberated 41; rising from Katmai 

126; clouds of, continued from 

Katmai 168, 169; in Valley of Ten 

Thousand Smokes 190, 237; effect 



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340 



INDEX 



of, on weather ao8; not visibly 
Effected by turfaoe water a 19, 246; 
predominant constituent in gasea 
346; from Noyarupta 276 

Steam-heated tent ao7-ao8 

Steaming, mud areas a37-a38; fis- 
sures 27^ 

Stone. Julius, Jr. 77, 80 

Stone-crop (plant) iss 

Stoping. overhead 2Vrn, 303. 

Storm at Baked Mountain camp aa6~ 
a3x 

Streams, ash in 19. 89. 150, 151. isa, 
153; overloaded 132; views of isi, 
153* 243 

Streptopus amplexifolius 155 

Subsidence, of Novanipta a88, 303; 
no evidence of. in Katmai Crater 
a88-a89 

Suess. Eduard 43, S7n 

Sulphur 9. 33» 371; fumes 6s, 167; 
in Katmai crater 169; in Martin 
crater 185. 190. xpa; dioxide 346; 
around f umaroles 347 

Sulphuric acid 46n; rains at great dis- 
tances as; in air 37; little in Valley 
20s, 247 

Sumatra, volcanic chains between 
Alaska and 57 

Sunsets affected by volcanic dust 34. 
37 

Sunshine, intensity of, reduced by 
eruption 33. 3S 

Sun-spot numbers, graph of 52 

Supplies 75; dependence on 85 

Surveys of Katmai region 77 

Swan. Herberts. i79»» 

Swan, wild, captured alive 313 

Taft. WiUiam Howard 341 

Tahoma (U. S. Coast Guard Cutter) 65 

Takkala Bay 133 

Talus 128. 141, 176 

Tatoosh Island. Washington 29 

Taylor. Boyd 341 

Temperature, atmospheric during ash- 
faO xx; departures, graph showing 
32; world, reduced by eruption 33, 
34. 35. 37 (table) 39 and n; graph 
showing effect of dust from Katmai 
on 36; increased in high altitudes by 
dust 39; of f umaroles 205, 219, 
330-333 ; of new magma 391-393 

Terraces, stream-carved IS3 

Terrane, remarkable in Martin Valley 
X3S 

Tertiary lava 337 

Therapeutic possibilities of the Valley 
307-308 

Thermocouple 33 z, Plate XV (304) 

Three Forks (in Valley of Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes) 339 

Thunder 7, xi, 23. 6$ 

Thwaites, J. E. 10 

TiU (glacial) 125 

Timothy, seeded in ash sa* 54 

Titanium oxide 46n 

Tittman, O. H. 341 

Tomboro, East Indies (volcano) 34 

Topographic map, back cover; work 
209 

Tourists to Valley 80; need road 339 

Trail, views along the 73, 74, igi; 
through tall grass 274 

Transportation in Katmai region 



74-7S> 307; man-back 75 » facilities 
iiuulequate 328; problems would be 
solved by automobile roads 339 

Tree growth, limit of 305 

Trees, ash in 20, 28, 38, 53; surviving 
in Katmai Valley 47-49* 8a. 83; 
effects of ash on 5j. 83, 133; dead 
in volcanic region qo, pi, 08^ 102, 
107, 131: affected by sandflow 
356-357 

Trident (volcano) 08, 99> X7x, 190. 
220, 233, 240, 271, 28s 

Tridymite 243; 29311 

Trout, rainbow, in Naknek River 324 

Tuff 235. 353* 254. 256, 261 

Tundra 74. 3x4 

Tuimels In ash 91 

Turtle Mountain (Canadian Rockies), 
landslide at 143 

Twilight lengthened by' volcanic dust 
in air 37 

Twisted-stalk (plant) 155 

Ukak Valley 17, 229. a3X, 253; Ukak 

River 239 
Unalaska (Island) Alaska 63. 65 
Unfinished work in Katmai region 80 
Unimak (Volcano and Island) 62; 

peaks on Island 62; Pass 63 
Uplift X40 
Uyak (Village) 15. X9 

Valley, Katmai 33t 69, 7x, 95* X03, 
I04» 163; Second (Katmai) 74. xis. 
1x7. X37» X3x; Soluka*.69. 83, X33 

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, be- 
fore eruption 19; position of 69, 333; 
discovery of 7a, 189-X9S; explora- 
tion of 73, 74; exploration of, in X917 • 
197-3x7; first adequate description 
of 74; impression on fint seeing 
3XX-3X7; in X9X9. 3X9-33X; descrip- 
tive account of 333-351 ; dimensions 
and shape of 333; entrance to 233; 
unexplored parts of 335; activity in. 
began before Katmai eruption 355- 
356; nature of activity in 378-383; 
views of 188, JQ4, 106, 200, 202, 204t 
2o6t 210, 212, 214, 216, 2i8t 220, 
226, 227, 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 
242, 243t 245, 248, 252, 262, 264* 
276, 2Q2, 204* 206, 298, 300; a gen- 
eralized section of 263 

Valleys prominent topographic feature 
near Katmai 67* 69, 268 

Van Campen. F. R. 25 

Vancouver. B. C. 27 

Vegetation, effect on, of volcanic ac- 
tivity 3» as, 82; recovery of at Ko- 
diak 45-55* transported by slide 
137. J40: recovery of in Katmai re- 
gion 147; absence of in Valley 209; 
return of to Valley 223 

Vents, volcanic 3; reawakening of 65; 
hot sand probably came from local 
36x 

Victoria. B. C. 27 

Virginia, haze from Katmai eruption 
in 35 

Visitors, first to Valley of Ten Thou- 
sand Smokes 80. 329 

Volcanic activity, subsidence of 3X, 
220; area of 301. carrying work into 
67-;79; axes and structure lines, map 



facing 56; axis, relations of fuma. 
roles to X93; festoons 57^x 

Volcanism. problems of 3. 77, 79; Kat- 
mai presents unique opportunity to 
study 304. 33 X 

Volcano (Katmai) first journey to 8x- 
xox 

Volcanoes 17, 33. 34* 43. 57-65* 60, 62, 
63* 64, 66, 67, 70* 78, 83* 98, j6o, 
166, 168, 171, 172* 174* 175, 176, 
178 1 180, J82, 184, 186, 190, 220, 
333. 340, 27X, 285; dormant 7; capa- 
ble of causing ice ages 39-4x; the 
Alaskan waterfowl 313. 57-65; 
series of, including Katmai 99; min- 
iature 337 

Walker Lake (properly Naknek Lake) 
265 

Wallace, H. M. 77, 80. 309. 3^4 

Walter (Metrokinj 73. 74, 76 > 

Water, drinking 8. 81. 89; liberated in 
eruptions, importance of in econ- 
omy of nature 4X-43 

Waterfalls 81. 109. 123. 130. 265. j/o. 
3x0, 31T* 316, 337 

Waterfowl 313 

"Water slides" X39-X3X 

Waves (in sea) caused by volcanic dis- 
turbances 62 

Weasels 164 

Weather in Katmai region 90, 97* X58- 
X59» X89. 308-309* 320, 336, 369, 
273; effect of eruption on 33, 368 

Wells, E. H. 274»« 

White, Henry 341 

"WiUiwaws" (violent winds) 336-33 x, 
325 

Willows effect of eruption on 83 

Wilson, (President) Woodrow 5, 74; 
proclamation of, creating Katmai 
National Monument 33X-333 

Wind, caused small avalanches X35> 
373; action on landscape X48-X49; 
caused irregularity in ash deposits 
155; chief factor in seed dispersal 
X58-X59; violent in Valley X99, 336- 
33 x^ violent through Katmai Pass 
368, 369; protected forest near Kat- 
mai 305 

Wind-blown ash 5^-55* 5Q 

Windy Creek 239 

Wisconsin, haze from Katmai erup- 
tion in 35 

Wolves 164, 208. 3x5 

Wolverines 164, 208, 3x5 

Women's Peninsula, dunes on SQ 

Wood Island 8, X3 

World War. effect on expeditions 79 

Wormwood X55 

Wrangell. Mount (volcano) 56, 57» 

Vagashoff , Andrean 76 

Yellowstone Park (comparison) Z9X, 

195. 197, 204, 239. 329 
Vori, Charles 77, 80, 183, 184, 337 

229, aap, 230 
Vosemite Valley (dbmparison) 123 
Yukon River 266, 329 

Zay, Karl X4411 

Zies. E. G. 77, 80, 221, 228, 239. 230. 

231, 246. 247M 
Zinc, melted in fumeroles 77, 320, 

221 



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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY 

GEOGRAPHIC ADMINISTRATION BUILDINGS 
SIXTEENTH AND M STREETS NORTHWEST, WASHINGTON, D. C. 

GILBERT GROSVENOR. Preddent HENRY WHITE. Vice-President 

JOHN JOY EDSON. Treasurer O. P. AUSTIN. Secretary 

BOYD TAYLOR. Assistant Treasurer GEORGE W. HUTCHISON. Associate Secretary 

FREDERICK V. COVILLE, Chairman Committee on Research 

EDWIN P. GROSVENOR. General Counsel 



EXECUTIVE STAFF OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 

GILBERT GROSVENOR, editor 



wil;.iam j. showalter 

Assistant Editor 



JOHN OLIVER LA GORGE, Associate Editor 

RALPH A. GRAVES FRANKLIN L. FISHER 

Assistant Editor Chief of Illustrations Division 

J. R. HILDEBRAND. Chief of School Service 



CHARLES J. BELL 

President American Security and 
Trust Company 

JOHN JOY EDSON 

Chairman of the Board. Wash- 
ington Loan & Trust company 

DAVID FAIRCHILD 

In Charge of Agricultural Ex- 
plorations, U. S. Department 
of Agriculture 

C. HART MERRIAM 
Member National Academy of 
Sciences 

O. P. AUSTIN 
Statistician 

GEORGE R. PUTNAM 
Commissioner U. S. Bureau of 
Lighthouses 

GEORGE SHIRAS. 3l> 

Formerly Member U. S, Con- 
gress, Faunal Naturalist, and 
Wild-game Photographer 

E. LESTER JONES 

Director U. S. Coast and Geo- 
detic Survey 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT 
Chief Justice of the United States 

GRANT SQUIRES 

Military Intelligence Division. Gen- 
eral StaflF. New York 

C. M. CHESTER 

Rear Admiral U. S. Navy. For- 
merly Supt. U. S. Naval Ob- 
servatory 

FREDERICK V. COVILLE 
Botanist. U. S. Department of 
Agriculture 

RUDOLPH KAUFFMANN 
Managing Editor The Evening 
Star 

T. L. MACDONALD 
M. D.. F. A. C. S. 

S. N. D. NORTH 

Formerly Director U. S. Bureau 
of Census 

JOHN OLIVER LA GORGE 
Associate Editor National Geo- 
graphic Magazine 



ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL 
Inventor of the telephone 
Died August 2, 1922 

J. HOWARD GORE 

Prof. Emeritus Mathematics. The 
George Washington University 

A. W. GREELY 
Arctic Explorer. Major General 
U. S. Army 

GILBERT GROSVENOR 

Editor of National Geographic 
Magazine 

GEORGE OTIS SMITH 
Director. U. S. Geological Survey 

O. H. TITTMANN 

Formerly Superintendent U. S. 
Coast and Geodetic Survey 

HENRY WHITE 
Member American Peace Com- 
mission. Formerly U. S. Am- 
bassador to France. Italy, etc. 

STEPHEN T. MATHER 
Director National Park Service 



ORGANIZED for "the increase and diffusion of geo- 
graphic knowledge." the National Geographic Society was 
founded thirty-five years ago. 

IN addition to its work of exploration and research con- 
ducted in the Mount Katmai volcanic region, as set forth 
in the preceding pages. The Society, at an expense of 
more than I50.000. sent a notable series of expeditions 
into Peru to investigate the traces of the Inca race. The 
discoveries of these expeditions form a large share of our 
knowledge of a civilization which was waning when 
Pizarro first set foot in Peru. 

THE Society also had the honor of subscribing a sub- 
stantial sum to the historic expedition of Admiral Peary, 
who discovered the North Pole. 

NOT long ago The Society granted las.ooo, and in addi- 
tion I75.000 was given by individual members through 
The Society to the Federal Government when the congres- 



sional appropriation for the purchase was insufficient, 
and the finest of the giant sequoia trees of California were 
thereby saved for the American people and incorporated 
into a National Park. 

THE Society is conducting extensive explorations and 
excavations in northwestern New Mexico, which was one 
of the most densely populated areas in North America 
before Columbus came, a region where prehistoric peoples 
lived in vast communal dwellings whose ruins are ranked 
second to none of ancient times in point of architecture, 
and whose customs, ceremonies and name have been 
engulfed in an oblivion more complete than any other 
people who left traces comparable to theirs. 

TO achieve the purposes for which it was founded, the 
National Geographic Society publishes the National 
Geographic Magazine, and all the receipts of The 
Society are invested in the Magazine itsdf. or expended 
directly to promote geographic knowledge. 



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