Skip navigation
Timeline / Defining Rights and Responsibilities / 1912: Volcano erupts; destroys Alaska Native village

1912: Volcano erupts; destroys Alaska Native village

At the head of the Alaska Peninsula in southwestern Alaska, the volcano Novarupta erupts, destroying the village of Savonoski. The eruption showers more than 40 square miles of lush land with volcanic ash, which in some places is 700 feet deep. Alaska Natives including some Unangan (Aleut) and Athabaskan are displaced.

Land and Water

1 / 3

Map showing settlements, canneries, and mines in the Alutiiq region of southwestern Alaska, which were covered by volcanic ash during the eruption of Novarupta

Courtesy University of Alaska Press and Arctic Studies Center

2 / 3

Refugees evacuated from Kodiak following the Novarupta volcanic eruption, on board the U.S. Customs Service cutter Manning, June 1912

Courtesy Kodiak Historical Society

3 / 3

Children make ash pies out of volcanic ash, Kodiak, Alaska, 1912

Courtesy Kodiak Historical Society, Bigford Collection