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The Daily Volcano Quote: Mount Augustine split in two 7 April 2009

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On the morning of Oct. 6 a settlement of fishermen on English Bay heard a heavy report, and looking in the direction from whence the sound came immense volumes of smoke and flame were seen to burst forth from the summit of Mount Augustine. The sky became obscured and a few hours later great quantities of pumice dust began to fall, some of it being fine and smooth and some gritty. At 3:30 o’clock on the same day an earthquake wave 30 feet high came rushing in over the hamlet, sweeping away all the boats and deluging the houses … Upon examination after the disturbances had subsided it was found that the mountain had been split in two, from base to summit, and that the northern slope had fallen to the level of the surrounding cliffs … So violent was the volcanic action that two extinct volcanoes on the peninsula of Alaska lying to the westward of the active volcano Iliamna, 12,000 feet high, burst into activity and emitted immense volumes of smoke and dust.

‘A mountain split in two: the great volcanic eruption in Alaska in October’, New York Times, 29 December 1883, p. 1. This VEI=4 event was the largest historical eruption of Mount Augustine and involved, as this report indicates, a major edifice collapse. Since 1883 dome growth has practically restored the volcano to its pre-1883 height.

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