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Atka volcanic complex reported activity





Event Name : Kliuchef 1812

Start: 1812 Observed

Tephrafall: BibCard
Central eruption: BibCard
"Fire", "Glowing", or incandescence: BibCard BibCard
Eruption Type:Explosive
MaxVEI: 3 BibCard

Description: Golovnin (translated in 1979 by Ella Wiswell, from the 1822 and 1819 versions) contains this information about Atka: "* * * a very high volcano situated at that end of the island [northeastern]. Occasionally it causes dangerous earthquakes, and in 1812, when Vasiliev spent the winter here, it erupted and caused such strong earthquakes that the inhabitants were afraid of being buried in their yurtas (earthen huts)."

Grewingk (1850, translated 2003 by Fritz Jaensch) also contains this report from Vasiliev, but attributes the eruption to Sarichef instead of Kliuchef or Korovin. Dall (1870) reports that the earthquakes were "most violent and terrified the inhabitants."

Bank and others (1950) reports the following, which may pertain to this eruption: "During the early eighteen hundreds Sarychef and Korovin volcanos [sic] on Atka commenced throwing off increasing amounts of ash, so that the priest decided that Korovinsky must be abandoned. The seat of the Russian Church was transferred to Unalaska as was the trading center, and the villagers were moved to the site of the present village on Nazan Bay. An interesting story concerning this forced move was told to me by a young Aleut hunchback, Johnny Prokopeuff, whose father had related it to him before he died. I quote the story as we recorded it: 'Long time ago before peoples lived in this village Akta peoples live over at Old Harbor. Was a big village with lots of barabaras and big Russian buildings. There was man, Russian priest, name of Father Salamatoff who was kind to people. He brought peoples from all around, Chugul, Kagalaska villages, Adak, to live at Old Harbor. Another priest after Father Salamatoff died, I don't remember his name, told peoples they had to move village, said that mountain was going to come down and cover Old Harbor. All the time at night the sky was red, and lost of little rocks (ash) in the air so that peoples sick. Everyone moved over to this place and build village on Nazan Bay side. Priest, he say that peoples safe here. Mountain not come down on Old Harbor, but all the time at night lots of noise and red fire in the sky. Big rocks roll down mountain. Lots better on Nazan Bay, more fish.'" It is difficult to know which eruption this account is describing - Father Salamatoff died in 1864, so he was not already deceased with a different priest serving on Akta in 1812. Korovin is reported as smoking and with fire in 1844, and this account may pertain to that eruption instead.

Wood and others (1990), Simkin and Siebert (1994), and Miller and others (1998) attribute this eruption to Kluichef rather than Sarichef, due to a younger looking vent on Mt. Kluichef, but Golovnin's report of the volcano being on the "northeastern side" of the island argues that this event could be from Korovin instead.

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Page modified: March 30, 2017 14:36
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