The eruption of Pavlof Volcano that began on November 12 continues. It has been characterized by lava fountaining from a vent just north of the summit, flows of rock debris and ash descending the north flank of the volcano, and ash emissions observed in satellite images as a narrow plume that…
The eruption of Pavlof Volcano that began on November 12 continues. It has been characterized by lava fountaining from a vent just north of the summit, flows of rock debris and ash descending the north flank of the volcano, and ash emissions observed in satellite images as a narrow plume that extends for distances of up to 125 miles (200 km) at an altitude of up to 16,000 ft (4.8 km) above sea level.
Volcanic activity of ‘Pavlof’ has escalated to CODE RED, meaning eruption is imminent with significant emission of volcanic ash at high altitude into the atmosphere. The intensity of seismic tremor has increased significantly over the past 6 hours, and satellite data indicate the ash cloud is now at an altitude of 25,000 ft above sea level. As of 11:00 am AKST (20:00 UTC) the cloud is moving towards the northwest and extends for about 125 miles (200 km) downwind.
Over the past day, seismic tremor has remained at a level indicative of continuous eruptive activity. Strongly elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava fountaining continue to be observed in satellite data. Ash emissions are visible in satellite data.
Observers from that community, Cold Bay, reported seeing dark snow on the surface of the volcano Wednesday, indicating an eruption has started. The eruption intensified that afternoon and continued through the week, David Schneider, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska Volcano Observatory, said Friday.
Even though there’s seismic monitoring systems on the volcano, Schneider said Pavlof is considered the most subtle of Alaska’s volcanoes. Magma can make its way up the volcano without producing any earthquakes.
This eruption is characterized by lava being ejected from a vent near the summit, producing an ash cloud that extends for about 125 miles. However, the cloud is at a relatively low altitude, about 16,000 feet.
Schneider said there have been some small avalanches of hot rock down the north flank of the volcano. It’s possible those could produce local mud flows in some of the drainages to the north, but those would likely minor, he said.