• Breathtaking autumn colors in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

    Bering Land Bridge

    National Preserve Alaska

Lakes and Ponds

Aerial view of the conjoined Devil Mountain Maar Lakes in the summertime
The Devil Mountain Maar Lakes are the largest on the planet.
NPS Photo
 
A maar is a broad, low-relief volcanic crater that was formed by a phreatomagmatic eruption, which is an explosion caused by groundwater coming into contact with hot lava or magma. The maars of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve are unique in their size and location. Devil Mountain Maar (17,500 years old), North Killeak Maar (>50,000 years old), South Killeak Maar (>40,000 years old) and Whitefish Maar (100,000-200,000 years old) are the four largest maar lakes in the world. They are also at the northernmost point of where maar lakes can be found in the world. Maars usually fill with water to form a shallow crater lake.
 
Aerial view of theround edge of the Northern Killeak Maar on the summer tundra

Aerial view of the North Killeak Maar

NPS Photo - Andrea Willingham

These maars are the first reported example of eruptions produced by interactions between magma and permafrost. The unusual size of the maars indicates that eruptions involving permafrost can be significantly more explosive and can create craters larger than those resulting from interactions with surface or groundwater. When standing at the water's edge, gazing up at the 15 story high bedrock cliff walls that surround Devil Mountain Maar, it may be hard to truly imagine the energy it took to create a depression like these maars. As you look out over these testaments of the power that lies beneath the partially frozen ground, remember you are one of the few that has ventured into such a wild and remote land.

Did You Know?

Two male musk oxen budding heads in the middle of the Kougarok Road in Nome, Alaska.

Muskox were once extinct on the Alaskan Seward Peninsula, but were reintroduced in 1970. They are now thriving on the Peninsula, even in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.