Alaska, United States
The Buldir Volcano is an inactive stratovolcano located in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, once described as "the westernmost volcanic center of the present Pleistocene to Recent Aleutian volcanic front." It shares its island of residence with a younger stratovolcano entitled East Cape.
Discovery and accessibility
Vitus Bering had been a prominent sailor in Russia. After successful expeditions in 1725, 1728, and 1730, Bering was sent to explore what is now the Bering Sea area of the Pacific in 1740. He soon settled on Kamchatka, where he started a settlement and built two additional vessels, dubbed St. Peter and St. Paul. In 1741 Bering and his company started towards North America, but were stalled by a storm. In being delayed, they were forced to take land. During the storm they could not make out the Alaskan coast. The storm proved too powerful so the ships turned around, charting several of the Aleutians, including Buldir. The island is extremely remote, leaving it totally unavailable except to only a certain group of scientists. In fact, transportation through the entire area is restricted to the United States Coast Guard. Special permission is required to access the island, and for the most part only representatives from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have the ability to obtain it. A visit to study the geology of the island was permitted in 1947 for R.R. Coats.
A skeleton was found on the island in July 1988. Further examination of the body suggested that the body was Corporal Carl Houston of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, who was last seen hiking on the isle on March 3, 1945. Along with the body were found a M-1 rifle and several spent shells.
Geography and geology
Buldir's structure has changed significantly over time, from a parasitic cone to its current makeup of alumina basaltic lava flows and pyroclastic debris. A cone made of tuff tops the mountain, built over the ancient calderas of the volcano. Dating suggests that the last eruptions on the island, from East Cape, were at least 2,000 years ago, and could have possibly taken place before the Holocene.