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Calderas produced by hydromagmatic eruptions through permafrost in northwest AlaskaMost hydromagmatic eruptions on Earth are generated by interactions of lava and ground or surface water. This eruptive process typically produces craters 0.1-1 km in diameter, although a few as large as 1-2 km were described. In contrast, a series of Pleistocene hydromagmatic eruptions through 80-100-m-thick permafrost on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska produced four craters 3-8 km in diameter. These craters, called the Espenberg maars, are the four largest maars known on Earth. The thermodynamic properties of ground ice influence the rate and amount of water melted during the course of the eruption. Large quantities of water are present, but only small amounts can be melted at any time to interact with magma. This would tend to produce sustained and highly explosive low water/magma (fuel-coolant) ratios during the eruptions. An area of 400 km(sub 2) around the Alaskan maars shows strong reductions in the density of thaw lakes, ground ice, and other surface manifestations of permafrost because of deep burial by coeval tephra falls. The unusually large Espenberg maars are the first examples of calderas produced by hydromagmatic eruptions. These distinctive landforms can apparently be used as an indicator of the presence of permafrost at the time of eruption.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Beget, J. E. (Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on the Martian Northern Plains: Sedimentological, Periglacial, and Paleoclimatic Evolution
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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