Wrangell Volcanic Field

Wrangell Volcanic Field

Wrangell Volcanic Field

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The Wrangell Volcanic Field is a volcanic field stretching from eastern Alaska in the United States to the southwestern Yukon Territory in Canada. The field includes the four highest volcanoes in the United States, Mount Bona, Mount Blackburn, Mount Sanford, and Mount Churchill, all of which exceed 15,000 ft (4,600 m) in elevation. It formed as a result of subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate at the easternmost end of the Aleutian Trench.

The bulk of the Wrangell Volcanic Field lies within the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska, but the field also extends eastwards into the neighboring Saint Elias Mountains and the Yukon Territory.

The east-west length of the field is over 200 mile (320 km), while the width reaches up to 80 miles (130 km) in the central Wrangell Mountains. The field includes numerous shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, caldera complexes, cinder cones, and extensive lava flows, which have erupted throughout the past 26 million years. All of the higher peaks are less than 5 million years old, since the rate of glacial erosion is very high in this region of extreme snowfall and cold temperatures. Higher elevations of the field above 5,000 ft (1,500 m) are almost entirely covered in glaciers and icefields, especially on the windward southern side of the ranges.

The field is named for Mount Wrangell, a massive shield volcano which has been active historically. The stratovolcano of Mount Churchill has had...
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