Aurora Lagoon, Kachemak Bay

Aurora Lagoon, Kachemak Bay

by | Sep 6, 2022

Aurora Lagoon is on the southern shore of Kachemak Bay, on the Kenai Peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Homer, Alaska. The shallow lagoon dries at low tide exposing a mudflat about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) across and backed by spruce and birch-covered slopes. The lagoon is formed by a group of small islands interconnected by a sand spit. The sand spit, which trends north to south, is about 0.7 miles (1.2 km) long and 650 feet (200 m) wide. The northern half is owned by the State of Alaska and the southern half is privately owned.

The lagoon is named after the community of Aurora, formerly located on the southern shore, that was first shown on maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey. The village was a mining camp established in about 1900 that adopted the name of the nearby coal mine. A post office was established here in 1902 and discontinued in 1904. The village was likely abandoned before 1910.

The presence of earlier inhabitants of Kachemak Bay is supported by archaeological excavations at the lagoon. Aurora Spit has been visited by numerous archaeologists including Frederica de Laguna, who conducted archaeological fieldwork throughout Kachemak Bay in the early 1930s. In 1989, a site within Aurora Lagoon revealed over 200 artifacts dated to the Early Holocene, or 6,220 to 5,470 years ago. These are the oldest dated artifacts from mainland Southcentral Alaska. This evidence indicates that the Early Holocene people either occupied the site for hundreds of years or returned, repeatedly, over the centuries. Read more here and here. Explore more of Aurora Lagoon here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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