Tag Archives: sitka

Magma Rising

Mount Edgecumbe displacement; Graphic credit: AVO

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the swarm of earthquakes underneath Mount Edgecumbe. The numbers are in, and radar satellite data reveals a ground deformation around the volcano. Data was analyzed for the past 7.5 years, and since 2018, an uplift around Mt Edgecumbe has been constant. The peak activity, around the crater, has shown an average uplift of 3.4″ per year since 2018, and a total uplift of 10.6″.

Earthquakes in and around Mt Edgecumbe, Map credit: AVO

With the data of the ground deformation, AVO has come to the conclusion that the swarm of earthquakes is due to the movement of magma below Mount Edgecumbe, and not due to tectonic activity.

Mount Edgecumbe, a 3200 foot high stratovolcano, lies 15 miles to the west of the community of Sitka. There is no volcanic monitoring system on Edgecumbe, but there is at Sitka. AVO plans to install instruments closer to the volcano in the near future.

The rising of magma under a volcano does not necessarily mean that an eruption is imminent. The deformation and earthquakes could cease at any time. If an eruption were to occur, warning signs such as increased rate of deformation, and an increase in the earthquake swarms, would give advance warning of an eruption.


Mount Edgecumbe

Mount Edgecumbe; Photo credit: AVO

Mount Edgecumbe is a 3200′ stratovolcano located on Kruzof Island. The volcano is approximately 15 miles from the town of Sitka, which was Alaska’s capital prior to its purchase from Russia by the United States.

Mount Edgecumbe has been dormant for at least 800 years. Recently, however, there has been a swarm of over 100 earthquakes from near the volcano. The swarm does not mean that an eruption is near, but the number is somewhat unusual. The previous two years saw only twenty quakes each year. Volcanologists are studying the data to see if these recent earthquakes are volcanic or tectonic in nature.

Tlingit oral history has the volcano having small eruptions roughly 800 years ago. The last eruption in the geological record happened 4500 years ago. Mount Edgecumbe had a massive eruption 13,000 – 15,000 years ago. That eruption dropped dropped 3 feet of volcanic ash on what is now Sitka, and 98 feet of ash fell on Kruzof Island.

Alaska has had 90 volcanos that have erupted in the past 10,000 years. Currently, we have three that are at Level Orange and one that is at Level Yellow.


“Mt Edgecumb”

“Mt Edgecumb, Sitka”, water color on paper by Elsie Burkman; 1969

First Cruise

The Serenade of the Seas in port at Sitka, Alaska; Photo credit: Alaska Public Media

The first large cruise ship since 2019 hit port in Sitka last week. From most reports, one could barely tell it came in by the activity level in town.

On a ship that has a capacity of just under 2500 passengers, the crew members outnumbered passengers 804 to 632. The passengers didn’t seem to mind the extra elbow room, however.

In a sign of the times, Sitka was in the midst of the largest coronavirus outbreak in Alaska outside of Anchorage.


Happy Alaska Day

Sitka is the place to be on Alaska Day. On this date in 1867, the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States took place.

The transfer went down in the town of Sitka, which was the territory’s capital at the time.

Cheers!


Alaska Day

On this date, 150 years ago, the formal transfer of the deed to the Alaska Territory took place at Fort Sitka. In March of 1867, the United States had purchased Alaska for $7.2 million, but it took until October of that same year to get commissioners from both countries to Sitka.

October 18 was officially designated a state holiday by the Territorial Legislature in 1917.

Here’s to 150, Secretary Seward.


Happy Alaska Day

William Seward's globe
A globe owed by William Seward showing “Russia America” over the Territory of Alaska. Photo credit:Krestia DeGeorge/www.adn.com

On this date in 1867, the Territory of Alaska was officially transferred from Russia over to the United States.

The State of Alaska will be closed on Monday; everyone will be in Sitka for a potluck.


In honor of Alaska Day:

…which was 18 October, but I was out celebrating. I saw this factoid recently, which for some reason I thoroughly enjoyed:
Alaska is 2½ times bigger than Texas. At low tide, Alaska is three times bigger.

Alaska Day. On 18 October 1867, “ownership” of Alaska was officially transferred from Russia to the United States. The day is an official State holiday, not to be confused with “Seward’s Day”, but the real party is in Sitka.