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Quaternary volcanism in the Alaska Peninsula and Wrangell Mountains, Alaska

By
Thomas P. Miller
Thomas P. Miller
U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508–4667
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Donald H. Richter
Donald H. Richter
U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508–4667
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Published:
January 01, 1994

Abstract

The numerous Quaternary volcanoes of the Alaska Peninsula, Cook Inlet area, and the Wrangell Mountains result from underthrusting of the Pacific Plate, or material coupled to the Pacific Plate, beneath the continental crust of North America. These volcanic centers are among the most prominent physiographic landforms in southern Alaska. They include some of the highest (>5,000 m), largest (>1,000 km3), and most explosive (five Holocene eruptions with bulk volumes >50 km3) volcanoes found along the entire circum-Pacific margin.

Edifices of the major Quaternary volcanoes dominate the Alaska Peninsula and Cook Inlet region (Fig. 1); numerous peaks rise 1,800 to 2,500 m above sea level. These volcanic centers, along with those of adjoining Unimak Island, constitute the eastern half of the Aleutian volcanic arc. This classic arc-trench system, equally divided between continental and oceanic segments, extends 2,600 km across the North Pacific. Separated from the northeast end of the Aleutian arc by 400 km is the subductionrelated Wrangell volcanic field of Miocene to Holocene age, which underlies >10,000 km2 of the Wrangell Mountains of south-central Alaska (Fig. 1).

Regional geologic mapping and topical volcanological studies since the early 1970s have resulted in an expanded understanding of the physical volcanology of the eastern Aleutian arc and Wrangell Mountains, including such parameters as size, stratigraphy, eruptive history, spacing, and geologic setting of the volcanic centers. Several volcanoes have now been mapped and studied in sufficient detail to clarify the physical and chemical processes associated with volcanic activity in this part of the circum-Pacific.

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Contents

DNAG, Geology of North America

The Geology of Alaska

George Plafker
George Plafker
U.S. Geological Survey MS 904, 345 Middlefield Road Menlo Park, California 94025
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Henry C. Berg
Henry C. Berg
115 Malvern Avenue Fullerton, California 92632
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Geological Society of America
Volume
G-1
ISBN electronic:
9780813754536
Publication date:
January 01, 1994

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