Event Name : Shishaldin 1856/7This is a questionable event.
|Start:||July 26, 1856 ||Observed|
|Tephra plume: ||
From Lander (1996): "1856, July 26. There was a volcanic eruption in Unimak Pass. It is described by Captain Neville, of the whaler Alice Fraser. Crossing Unimak Pass on his ship with six other whalers, he observed an enormous mass of dense black smoke from a volcanic eruption on the adjacent islands. The ships were becalmed, leaving them exposed to the danger of the eruption. After twelve hours, a light breeze enabled the ships to begin moving away in the pitch blackness. Sailing west and north of the eastern shore they were near the northern base of the volcano when a prolonged dull rumble was heard and an underwater eruption began almost under the flotilla. The water churned and began to rise stormily in the form of disorganized waves. Then it rushed up, as if ejected from an enormous spring, forming a dazzling column of water of colossal height. A shaft of fire and smoke rose from the depths, with peals of thunder. Volcanic ejecta, the size of walnuts to cannon balls, landed on the ships. This phase ended quickly and water rushed into the abyss forming a colossal whirlpool. The ships escaped (Perrey, 1859, 1866 : in French). The volcano was Mount Shishaldin."
From Soloviev and Go, 1974: "There was a volcanic eruption in Unimak Pass, apparently near 54 degrees 34 minutes N., 165 degrees W. It is described by Neville, the captain of the whaler 'Alice Fraser.' Crossing the pass on his ship with six other whalers, he observed that as a result of the volcanic eruption, enormous masses of dense black smoke were rising over the conical peaks of the mountains on the adjacent islands.
"He and the captains of the other whalers made ready to round the eastern tip of Unalaska Island, in order to get a good look at the eruption, which was accompanied by a prolonged dull roar and tremors, which by that time they had already felt repeatedly. At precisely this instant, the strong breeze which had been blowing completely died down, and the ships found themselves at the mercy of the eruption, in danger of being run aground.
"The eruption, lasting several house with variable intensity, then appeared to reach its climax. The thunder of the eruption and the underground rumble rapidly intensified and became ever more ominous. The air was so still that dense black smoke was ejected straight up into the sky, without deviating in the slightest. It spread out above, at cloud level, and ashes, like flakes of snow, fell down in abundance.
"After 12 hours of still, a light breeze arose from the south, enabling the ships to move away from the volcano. But this breeze carried the column of smoke to the water surface, and a pitch darkness set in over a distance, as was later established, of more than 180 km, and the ships lost sight of the shore.
"The ashes fell like snow in a blizzard, covering the ships with gray substance from the deck to the top of the masts, blinding and choking all those on deck.
"Sailing west and north of the eastern shore, the ships tore out of the cloud of smoke. When they were near the northern base of the volcano, a prolonged dull rumble pealed out under them, and an underwater eruption occurred almost right in the centre of the flotilla.
"First the water churned and began to rise stormily in the form of disorderly waves. Then it rushed up, as if ejected from an enormous spring, forming a dazzling column of water of colossal height, which gradually disintegrated. Then a shaft of fire and smoke rose from the bottom upwards with peals of thunder. Lava and stones from a walnut to a cannon ball were disgorged, and fell on deck.
"This lasted no more than an instant, and the eruption ended as quickly as it had began. The water rushed into the abyss which had formed, forming a colossal whirlpool. The noise was like Niagara Falls.
"The ships rushed to safety, leaving the volcano in a state of regular alternation of relative calm and eruption (Perrey, 1859, 1866; [in French]; Mushketov and Orlov 1893 [in Russian]). This event is mentioned very briefly in a number of publications (Sieberg, 1932 [in German]; Iida and others, 1967; Cox and Pararas-Carayannis, 1969)."