The Islands of the Four Mountains comprises eight islands in the central Aleutians (Amukta, Chagulak, Yunaska, Herbert, Carlisle, Chuginadak, Uliaga, and Kagamil).
This group of islands is also home of six stratovolcanoes: Carlisle (Carlisle Island), Cleveland (Chuginadak Island), Herbert (Herbert Island), Kagamil (Kagamil Island), Tana (Chuginadak Island) and Uliaga (Uliaga Island).
A new supervolcano in Alaska
In a new study, scientists suggest that these islands and stratovolcanoes are part of a single giant volcano.
And that this newfound caldera is similar to the Yellowstone Caldera and other super volcanoes responsible for cataclysmic super-eruptions.
Studying Mount Cleveland, the geologists have gathered multiple evidences showing that the 8 islands could belong to one interconnected caldera.
Although further studies are needed, everything they looked at lines up with a caldera in this region!
Stratovolcano vs caldera-forming volcano
Stratovolcanoes are what most people envision when they think of a volcano. A a steep conical mountain capable of powerful eruptions, like Mount St. Helens in 1980.
But these are nothing compared to caldera-forming eruptions.
A caldera is created by tapping a huge reservoir in the Earth’s crust. When the reservoir’s pressure exceeds the strength of the crust, gigantic amounts of lava and ash are released in a catastrophic episode of eruption.
Such super-eruptions often have global effects on climate and society.
For example, the eruption of nearby Okmok volcano has been recently linked to the disruption of the Roman Republic.
According to the authors, the caldera beneath the Islands of the Four Mountains measures around 25 km (15 miles) is thus larger than Okmok caldera (9.3 kilometers or 5.8 miles), but much smaller than the gigantic 150km (93.2 miles) caldera found ontop an oceanic plateau off the Philippines coast last year.
This would be the first underwater caldera in the Aleutian Islands. The caldera hypothesis would also help explain what makes Mount Cleveland so active and what types of eruptions are expected in the future. More volcanic news on NatGeo, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle.
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