Volcano for Monday

How about Mt. Churchill, a very pretty glacier-covered stratovolcano1 that’s just on the Alaska side of the Alaska/Yukon border. It’s not far from the coast either, and is yet another volcano that sits on the subduction zone around the Pacific rim. It hasn’t erupted in the last thousand years.

All of this, of course, is a lead up to frozen dead caribou. Because those things often go together. Basically, it’s been found that the modern day caribou population is very genetically different from the one that lived in the area over 1000 years ago, which points to there having been a significant migration at some point. Since Mt. Churchill last erupted around that time, the two events are probably linked.

I always find it interesting when a volcanic eruption can be linked to events in our own history (such as the Minoan eruption) or biological changes. Any time I see multiple sciences coming together to form a picture of the past, it makes me happy.

1 – The Canadian site lists Mt. Churchill has a shield volcano for some bizarre reason. Every other catalog I checked, such as the Alaska Volcano Observatory calls it a stratovolcano. Considering its location on the Pacific rim, stratovolcano makes a whole lot more sense.

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