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The Valley of 10,000 Smokes: Revisiting the Alaskan Sublime
Photographs and text by Gary Freeburg
with essays by John Eichelberger and Jeanne M. Schaaf

On June 6, 1912, an unforgettable natural event occurred: the largest volcanic eruption on Earth during the twentieth century. In size comparable to Indonesia's Krakatau (Krakatoa) in 1883, one must go back 2,000 years to the north island of New Zealand to find as large a release of rhyolite magma.

The actual eruption took place about 100 miles west of Kodiak in the Aleutian Range on the Alaskan Peninsula. In three days, a new volcano—Novarupta—was born. More than five cubic miles of ash and debris flew 100,000 feet into the atmosphere, and heavier deposits filled an adjacent forty-four-square-mile valley in depths up to 1,000 feet. The dense, superheated waves of magmatic spray incinerated all living organisms, leaving a hot bed of igneous material that, when mixed with water from the surrounding glaciers and snowfields, produced tens of thousands of steam vents known as fumaroles. Thus was born the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. Native villages, some thousands of years old, were abandoned and never reestablished.

The eruption was of such consequence that the National Geographic Society sent Robert F. Griggs to direct a four-year expedition to the site, beginning in 1915. After seeing "the steaming valley" for the first time, Griggs exclaimed: "The first glance was enough to assure us that we had stumbled in another Yellowstone Park..." Today, scientists from around the world consider the Valley of 10,000 Smokes to be the Holy Grail of volcanology, because of the size, complexity, and composition of the 1912 eruption.

Following in the footsteps of Griggs, Gary Freeburg has traveled to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes five times (from 2000 to 2011) in pursuit of photographing one of Earth's most raw and remote wild places. Although the 10,000 fumaroles are largely gone, in Freeburg's stunning photographs one can still feel the steam-filled air, sense the deafening noise of the eruption, and grasp the incredible physical forces that created this alluring landscape. Now preserved as part of the 4.7-million-acre Katmai National Park and Preserve, the Valley of 10,000 Smokes continues to inspire—not just esteemed volcanologists such as John Eichelberger and expert archeologists such as Jeanne M. Schaaf, who contribute essays to the book, but also great artists such as Gary Freeburg who seek out Nature's secrets in the Alaskan sublime.

Click here to read the four-star review from Amazon, along with other praise.

Click here to read President Carter's letter to Freeburg. It was during Carter's presidency that Katmai and the Valley of 10,000 Smokes were designated as a National Park and Preserve.

Click here to listen to an interview by Martha Woodroof at WMRA with Gary Freeburg.

$50.00 U.S. (trade discount) No e-book has been authorized.
Hardcover with jacket
184 pages with 16 color and 57 duotone photographs
by the author and 33 historic black-and-white photographs
10.625" x 8.5" horizontal/landscape
ISBN: 978–1–938086–03–8

Published in Fall 2012

Distributed by Casemate/IPM
No e-book has been authorized.

Gary Freeburg Photography

About the Author and the Essayists

Exhibitons and Book Events:

February 1-March 29, 2019 (Artist Reception: March 1)
"Living among Alaska's Volcanoes: My Kind of Wilderness" An exhibit of twelve photographs by Gary Freeburg Hotel Madison at James Madison University Harrisonburg, Virginia

October 19 - 20, 2017
Exhibition and Residency
Miami University Oxford, Ohio Hiestand Galleries

September 15 -16, 2017
Juror, National Art Competition and Speaker

Nicolet College, Rhinelander Wisconsin

September 5 -29, 2017
Aquinas College Art Gallery, Grand Rapids Michigan

Lecture: March 6, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Krannert Auditorium, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Lecture: October 29, 2013 from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Plecker Auditorium, Blue Ridge Community College, Virginia
Film and talk: November 8 at 7 p.m. (click here for pdf of poster)
Asbury United Methodist Church

Exhibition: September 17–October 2, 2013
Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN
Public lecture on campus Monday, September 30 at 7 p.m.
followed by a reception in the Conkling Gallery

Book signing and talk: July 2013
University of Alaska Anchorage, AK

Book signing and lecture: September 7, 2012
Kenai Peninsula College, Kenai River Campus, Soldotna, AK
Exhibition: April 5–September 7, 2012

Exhibition: August 28–September 26, 2012
Book signing and lecture: September 3, 2012
Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA

Book signing and lecture: September 10, 2012 (tentative)
Kenai Peninsula College, Kachmak Bay Campus, Homer, AK

October 10–13, 2012
Alaska Historical Society and Alaska Association of Museums
Conference in Sitka, AK
Special program: "Valley of 10,000 Smokes," featuring a lecture and book signing by the author and essayists John Eichelberger and Jeanne Schaaf

Signing: November 2, 2012
Court Square Theater, Harrisonburg, VA

Opening, Artist Presentation, Film Screening, Q&A, Book/DVD
An Artist's Journey to Valley of 10,000 Smokes

Book Information Sheet (pdf)

Book Videos on YouTube:
An Artist's Journey to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes

Gary Freeburg on his book The Valley of 10,000 Smokes: Revisiting the Alaskan Sublime


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