Last updated: 10:48 PM ET, Tue August 11 2015

5 Active Alaskan Volcanoes

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | August 11, 2015

5 Active Alaskan Volcanoes

All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Alaska is legendary for its abundance of natural treasures that leave visitors in awe, seen in the state's sweeping landscapes and wildlife diversity. But the 49th state also has some sleeping giants that are a rarity in the U.S. — active volcanoes that have erupted quite recently and caused many an earthquake in the surrounding areas.

Full disclosure: Since eruptions are so difficult to predict, it is impossible to guarantee that one will occur during your visit. Also, most of these volcanoes are incredibly challenging to reach, so good luck! 

Mount Cleveland – Last Eruption 2015

One of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc, Cleveland has erupted 22 times in the last 230 years. At the beginning of August, satellite images showed evidence that a new lava dome is forming.  A very small gas plume was visible last October and steam emissions a few days later. 

Cleveland is located in the very remote and tiny Chuginadak Island and is monitored by the Alaska Volcano Observatory. 

Mount Pavlof – Last Eruption 2014

Another extremely active volcano, Pavlof last erupted in November of 2014. Located in the Aleutians as well, the United States Geological Survey maintains its threat level at 95 (out of 100), meaning that another eruption is imminent and the ash cloud will probably affect air traffic. The mountain itself is difficult to get to because it is so remote but the climb is a relatively typical snow climb with a recommended ski descent.

Mount Redoubt – Last Eruption 2009

Located in the Chigmit Mountains sub-range in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Redoubt experienced its last eruption in 2009 — although tremors in the area have been reported as recently as April of 2010. The mountain lies in North Cascades National Park and if you are going to camp overnight, a permit will be needed. If you plan to climb, stick to the summer and plan for snow with an occasional ice patch here and there.

Kasatochi Island/Volcano – Last Eruption 2008

Located around the southwest tip of the Aleutians, this volcano that makes up an entire island had a very large eruption in 2008, covering the entire island in ash and forcing scientists to evacuate. All life on the island after the eruption either fled or was extinguished. Scientists are now studying the return of the vegetation and animals. If you would like to visit, you will have to make a flyby, as there isn’t really much to climb or hike right now.

Mount Okmok – Last Eruption 2008

Located in the eastern Aleutian Islands, Mount Okmok most recently erupted in 2008. Occurring without warning, residents 48 miles away were stranded for close to three and a half weeks because of the smoke and ash.  If you want to visit, you are totally on your own because with the exception of the occasional seismic monitoring crew, there really is no one up there.

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