Image6_Selected Crater and Small Caldera Lakes in Alaska: Characteristics and Hazards.JPEG (3.94 MB)
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Image6_Selected Crater and Small Caldera Lakes in Alaska: Characteristics and Hazards.JPEG

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posted on 03.01.2022, 05:18 by Christopher F. Waythomas

This study addresses the characteristics, potential hazards, and both eruptive and non-eruptive role of water at selected volcanic crater lakes in Alaska. Crater lakes are an important feature of some stratovolcanoes in Alaska. Of the volcanoes in the state with known Holocene eruptive activity, about one third have summit crater lakes. Also included are two volcanoes with small caldera lakes (Katmai, Kaguyak). The lakes play an important but not well studied role in influencing eruptive behavior and pose some significant hydrologic hazards. Floods from crater lakes in Alaska are evaluated by estimating maximum potential crater lake water volumes and peak outflow discharge with a dam-break model. Some recent eruptions and hydrologic events that involved crater lakes also are reviewed. The large volumes of water potentially hosted by crater lakes in Alaska indicate that significant flowage hazards resulting from catastrophic breaching of crater rims are possible. Estimates of maximum peak flood discharge associated with breaching of lake-filled craters derived from dam-break modeling indicate that flood magnitudes could be as large as 103–106 m3/s if summit crater lakes drain rapidly when at maximum volume. Many of the Alaska crater lakes discussed are situated in hydrothermally altered craters characterized by complex assemblages of stratified unconsolidated volcaniclastic deposits, in a region known for large magnitude (>M7) earthquakes. Although there are only a few historical examples of eruptions involving crater lakes in Alaska, these provide noteworthy examples of the role of external water in cooling pyroclastic deposits, acidic crater-lake drainage, and water-related hazards such as lahars and base surge.