National Geographic : 1899 Aug
SHISHALDIN AS A FIELD FOR EXPLORATION The determination of the real conditions is an inviting task. It will probably be found that Shishaldin is a gigantic cinder cone, one of the largest in the world, and of a symmetry equal ing, if not surpassing, that of Fuji-yama. The accompanying reproduced photographs show not only the wonderful regularity and beauty of this cone, but also that it has a neighbor appar ently its equal in magnitude and probably the true volcano as well as the elder of the two. The relationship may be similar to that existing between Lassen peak and the Black Butte cinder cone. As seen from a distance there appears to have been a lava discharge from the side of Shishaldin which cut a huge gash, while the castellated character of the adjacent peak suggests a well-formed crater with rock walls. The view of this most inter esting mountain mass as given in the illustration must be in terpreted with caution, for the apparent uniformity in the size of the two peaks may be due to varying distances from the camera. which was on the deck of a vessel at least 10 miles from the shore, Unirak island alone, with the story of volcanism it has to tell, is well worth a summer's work, but near by within a circle of a hundred miles' radius there are other volcanoes with more or less residual life, which, with Shishaldin, form a group so favorably situated for exploration that its systematic study could be ac complished without great expense and in a short field season. Pogrumnoi, on the western end of Unimak, is extinct, but on Akutan, the next island, there is an active volcano of the same name. One unusually favorable day in August, 1892, Mr Charles H. Townsend, of the United States Fish Commission, and I climbed one of the peaks of Unalaska bay, which brought Akutan in full view. To our great surprise, we saw gigantic rings of smoke, such as sometimes come in miniature from the smokestacks of locomotives, issuing from the crater at regular intervals of about twenty minutes. As each succeeding ring appeared, its prede cessor was slowly breaking up and fading away in the air. Four such rings were seen, but how long the display lasted it was not possible to determine, as the peak became obscured in drifting banners of fog. On Unalaska island is the huge volcanic mass of Makushin, between 5,000 and 6,000 feet high. From the reports of those who have ascended Makushin, it would seem that fumarole action is all that is left of its plutonic fires; but earthquakes, some of de cided vigor, are annually felt in the locality, while the many ad jacent cinder cones and craters testify to the activity of other days.