Pavlof volcano heating up

The U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Volcano Observatory issued an activity notice Saturday for Pavlof volcano, which has been upgraded to "watch" status (from "normal") and aviation code orange.

"Elevated surface temperatures were detected at the summit of Pavlof volcano in satellite imagery this morning suggesting that the volcano is experiencing a low-level eruption with lava at the surface," AVO reported. "A low level steam plume is visible in satellite imagery and in the FAA web camera located in Cold Bay. A pilot reported a gas and ash plume drifting north at 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level."

Some campers reported witnessing lava issuing from the northeast side of the volcano, said John Power, the observatory's scientist-in-charge.

It was about this time last year that Pavlof experienced an extended period of activity. Located near the Southwest Alaska community of Cold Bay, the 8,261-foot peak has historically been one of the state's most active volcanoes.