Dutch Harbor is the official name for the port within the city of Unalaska, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands. Dutch Harbor also applies to the section of the city on Amaknak Island. Mount Makushin is the only volcano found there. According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the volcano is 800 miles from Anchorage. As of March 2011, the observatory listed Mount Makushin at the lowest alert level available.
Mount Makushin is a stratovolcano with an elevation of 6,680 feet. A stratovolcano is generally tall and cylindrical with steep sides. These volcanoes are built up by many layers or strata of hardened lava flows, volcanic rocks such as pumice, cinders and tephra, and volcanic ash. Small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at the snow-covered Makushin volcano since 1786. As of March 2011, the most recent eruption was on January 30, 1995.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory has identified 15 names for the volcano, including Cheerful Mountain. In 1792, Russian explorer Gavril Sarychev called the volcano ognedyshushchaya gora, meaning burning mountain in Russian. In 1825, the volcano was named Makuschkin by explorer Otto von Kotzebue. Some letters were later taken out of the name. Original inhabitants of the island named the volcano Aigagin, possibly derived from the Aleut word for big, Aigak.
Geology and Features
Associated features of the Makushin volcano include Red Cinder Dome, Pakushin cone, Sugarloaf, and the Point Kadin vents. The volcano dates back to the early Pliocene age. The caldera, the cauldron-like feature at the top of a volcano, goes back approximately 8,000 years. The Sugarloaf cone on the northeastern side of the volcano, and the cluster of explosion pits and cinder cones at Point Kadin, also known as the Point Kadin vents, date back to the Holocene age.
Mount Makushin is approximately 15 miles west of Dutch Harbor. As of March 2011, PenAir is the only commercial airline operating commercial passenger flights to Unalaska, or Dutch Harbor, Airport. The airline has direct flights from Unalaska to Anchorage, Atka, Akutan, and Nikolski. The volcano can be viewed by private air charter or boat, as well as on foot. There are no camp sites or facilities for hikers on the remote volcano.