Nunivak Island


  • Official Name: Nunivak Island
  • Seismically Monitored: No
  • Color Code: UNASSIGNED
  • Alert Level: UNASSIGNED
  • Elevation: 511m (1676ft)
  • Latitude: 60.099
  • Longitude: -166.496
  • Smithsonian VNum: 314060
  • Pronunciation:
  • Nearby Towns:
    • Mekoryuk 23 mi (36 km) NE
    • Umkumiute 52 mi (84 km) NE
    • Tununak 54 mi (87 km) NE
    • Toksook Bay 56 mi (90 km) NE
    • Nightmute 66 mi (106 km) NE
  • Subfeatures:
    • Twin Mtn
    • Binalik Maar
    • Ahkiwiksnuk Maar
    • Nanwaksjiak Maar
    • 385 Maar
    • Ahding Ingrid Mtn
    • Indooli Mtn
    • Ingri Butte
    • Ingrijoak Hills
    • Ingrilukat-Naskorat Hill
    • Ingriruk Hill
    • Jiskooksnuk Hill
    • Kikdooli Butte
    • Kikikyak Hill
    • Kimijooksuk Butte
    • Kimiksthek Hill
    • Kiolik Hill
    • Roberts Mtn
    • Seemalik Butte
    • Ikathiwik Crater
    • Kimikthak Hills


From Wood and Kienle (1990) [1] : "The volcanic carapace of Nunivak Island is built on Cretaceous sedimentary rocks in the eastern Bering Sea, within 50 km of western Alaska. The surface of the island is dominated by broad thin pahoehoe lava flows, with subsidiary alkalic basalts forming small lava flows, ~60 cinder cones and 4 maars. The pahoehoe flows are 3-15 m thick and build small shield volcanoes. Exposures are best at sea cliffs and among the young flows of the eastern part of the island, which is otherwise covered with tundra and shallow lakes. Permafrost is ubiquitous.
"Alkali basalt lava flows are <3.5 km long, and most erupted from cinder cones. Some flows contain collapsed lava tubes and rafted segments of cinder cones. Although many true cinder cones occur on Nunivak Island, some alkali basalt cones (e.g. Twin Mountain) have small summit craters and steep flanks, much more like small stratovolcanoes. Alkali basalts also erupted phreatomagmatically, forming 4 maars in an east-west line: Binalik, Ahkiwiksnuk, Nanwaksjiak, and "385," which is the elevation in feet of the crater lake of an otherwise unnamed maar. The latter 2 maars have ~200 m of relief, with floors near sea level. Although various types of nodules are found in many of the alkali basalt cones, ejecta from Nanwaksjiak includes lherzolite xenoliths within tholeiite boulders, an apparently unique occurrence.
"Detailed radiometric dating demonstrated that volcanism occurred in distinct episodes, and systematically migrated eastward (~50 km/5 Ma). Additionally, tholeiites and alkali basalts erupted nearly simultaneously. Five pulses of volcanism (some combined in listing above), each lasting ~0.1-0.2 m.y., and separated by quiescent intervals of 1-2 m.y., occurred between 6 and 1.5 Ma. Since 0.9 Ma volcanism has been frequent, with both tholeiite and alkali basalt common, but since 0.3 Ma only alkali basalt has been erupted. The overlapping occurrence of the two magma types differs from the more familiar patter of tholeiite followed by alkali basalt in Hawaii, and suggests that at Nunivak the latter is not derived from the former."

Name Origin

Captain Lieutenant M.N. Vasiliev "discovered" Nunivak Island on July 21, 1821, and named it after his ship the Otkritie. A.K. Etolin and Khromchenko of the Russian American Company found the island at about the same time. Captain F.P. Lutke stated that the Native name "Nounivak" had been properly retained on charts, and added, had this course been followed in other cases, much confusion and embarrassment would have been avoided (Orth, 1971).

References Cited

[1] Volcanoes of North America: United States and Canada, 1990

Wood, C. A., and Kienle, Juergen, (eds.), 1990, Volcanoes of North America: United States and Canada: New York, Cambridge University Press, 354 p.

Loading Past Activity...

Loading Images...

Loading Maps...

Loading Bibliography...