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Volcanic tsunamis and prehistoric cultural transitions in Cook Inlet, Alaska

January 1, 2008

The 1883 eruption of Augustine Volcano produced a tsunami when a debris avalanche traveled into the waters of Cook Inlet. Older debris avalanches and coeval paleotsunami deposits from sites around Cook Inlet record several older volcanic tsunamis. A debris avalanche into the sea on the west side of Augustine Island ca. 450 years ago produced a wave that affected areas 17 m above high tide on Augustine Island. A large volcanic tsunami was generated by a debris avalanche on the east side of Augustine Island ca. 1600 yr BP, and affected areas more than 7 m above high tide at distances of 80 km from the volcano on the Kenai Peninsula. A tsunami deposit dated to ca. 3600 yr BP is tentatively correlated with a southward directed collapse of the summit of Redoubt Volcano, although little is known about the magnitude of the tsunami. The 1600 yr BP tsunami from Augustine Volcano occurred about the same time as the collapse of the well-developed Kachemak culture in the southern Cook Inlet area, suggesting a link between volcanic tsunamis and prehistoric cultural changes in this region of Alaska.

Publication Year 2008
Title Volcanic tsunamis and prehistoric cultural transitions in Cook Inlet, Alaska
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.01.034
Authors J. Beget, Cynthia A. Gardner, K. Davis
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Index ID 70000046
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Hazards Program; Volcano Science Center