Katmai National Park and Preserve

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Katmai National Park and Preserve (kăt´mī), at the northern end of the Alaska Peninsula on Shelikof Strait, S Alaska, comprising Katmai National Park (3,674,530 acres/1,487,664 hectares) and an adjoining preserve (418,699 acres/169,514 hectares). Established in 1918 as a national monument, it was later expanded and was designated a park and preserve in 1980. Mt. Katmai and Novarupta volcanoes and the Valley of the Ten Thousand Smokes are located in this region, which is the site of one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history, that of Novarupta in 1912. All plant and animal life in the area was destroyed by the ash and lava, although no people were reported killed. Kodiak Island, 100 mi (160 km) to the southeast, was covered with c.1 ft (.3 m) of ash. As lava beneath Mt. Katmai drained W to Novarupta, its top collapsed, forming a crater 8 mi (12.8 km) in circumference and 3,700 ft (1,128 m) deep, in which a lake has formed. The Valley of the Ten Thousand Smokes (72 sq mi/186 sq km) has countless holes and cracks through which hot gases passed to the surface; all but a few have become extinct. The park also includes glacier-covered peaks, crater lakes, a coastline with dramatic fjords and waterfalls, dense marshlands, and heavy forests with a variety of wildlife, notably moose and grizzly bears. See National Parks and Monuments (table).