Cape Tanak, Umnak Island

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Cape Tanak, Umnak Island

by | Apr 5, 2021

Cape Tanak is a point of land on the north coast of Umnak Island in the eastern Aleutian Islands, about 64 miles (103 km) southwest of Dutch Harbor and 56 miles (90 km) northeast of Nikolski, Alaska. The cape name was first published in 1852 by Captain Mikhail Tebenkov of the Imperial Russian Navy, as “Cape Tanakh”, from the Aleut word “tanaq”, meaning “lace”, according to Richard H. Geoghegan. Umnak Island is about 70 miles (113 km) long and one of the seven Fox Islands. The Aleut name was reported in 1768 by Captain Lieutenant Krenitzin and Lieutenant Levashev of the Imperial Russian Navy. This island was called “Oomanak” by Captain James Cook and “Umnak” by Father Ivan Evseyevich Popov-Veniaminov.

Cape Tanak was once the site of an Aleut village called Egorkovskoe that was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Okmok in 1817 while its inhabitants were hunting in the Pribilof Islands. The villagers later relocated to the present site of Nikolski at the opposite end of Umnak Island.

On Saturday, July 12, 2008, the Okmok Caldera erupted without warning, sending a plume of ash to 50,000 feet (15,000 m). A crater lake drained through a notch eroded in the northeast rim and the resulting flood transported tremendous volumes of sediment down the slope of the volcano to the sea at Cape Tanak. The remains of a fishing boat are partially buried on the beach at the mouth of the unnamed river that drained the caldera lake. Seasonal storms in the Bering Sea repeatedly expose and bury this wreck so that every year different parts of the ship are visible. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Tanak here:

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