National Geographic : 1913 Feb
DRY CHANNEL OR GULCH ERODED IN ACCUMULATION OF VOLCANIC ASHES AT BASE OF MOUNTAIN WEST OF AMALIK, AUGUST IO, 1912 included one piece the size of a brick, which had traveled through the air for 15 miles. THREE DOGS ESCAPE DEATH Katmai lies desolate on the edge of the great gray waste. It was fortunate that the people went away before the erup tion, for a breath of hell swept down the valley, bringing death even to the trees. The only living things we saw were a few spears of grass, which had pushed up through the places where the wind had swept part of the ash away, and three dogs, who had escaped either by seeking refuge in the inner and deeper recesses of the barabaras or who possibly had been away on a hunt. The scene was the more deathly because it lay on the edge and in full view of the bril liantly green and undevastated country to the west (see page 146). The appearance of this newly altered landscape is also shown in the views taken in the vicinity of Kodiak. The dust fell as a dry and impalpable powder, which was incapable of supporting weight. Heavy rains fell soon afterward, the greater part of the water being absorbed by the dust, which acquired the consistency of soft mush. It was in this condition at Doug las Village when we landed there. At every step one would sink to the ground, the feet sticking in the soft mud as in molten tar. When this water-soaked ma terial dried, it cracked as mud does in drying. The cracks are in places 2 inches wide and extend through the two upper most and finer layers (see page 172). Hilltops and ridges are being swept bare, and thick drifts similar in form and surface to sand dunes are accumu lating. At times of high wind the air is thick with the drifting dust. In the for ested areas a large part of this dust is derived from the trees, the forests look ing as if brush fires were running through them. As soon as the material fell to such a thickness that it was not held down by the grass it began sliding down the steeper slopes. This action was accentu ated by the rains, and large volumes de scended the steep hillsides back of Kodiak carrying houses off their foundations and crushing in the walls. Such deposits are shown in many of the Kodiak views (see pages 134, 140, 173).