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Activity at Alaska's Pavlof Volcano spikes again

  • Author: Ben Anderson
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published June 4, 2013

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has raised the alert level again at Pavlof Volcano. The peak was spotted emitting ash about a week after being downgraded due to a lack of activity. Located in Southwest Alaska about 30 miles northeast of the community of King Cove, the 8,261-foot peak is arguably the state's most active volcano, having erupted about 40 times in recorded history. Pavlof first awoke on May 13, when thermal imaging revealed that the volcano was heating up. Two days later, a dark ash cloud rose to about 20,000 feet.

The AVO reported Tuesday that Pavlof was again spewing ash, based on satellite data and a pilot report. "Satellite images show ash moving southeast, and pilot reports estimate cloud height at 19,000 feet," the AVO wrote in its status update. Pilots are advised to use caution in the area. The nearby community of Cold Bay has an FAA weather camera that permits pilots to see the volcano and any activity on clear days. PenAir grounded several flights late last month when the volcano was still erupting.

The volcano was downgraded last week after seismic and thermal activity dropped off. However, the AVO noted, this decline was consistent with Pavlof's past eruption patterns.

"During past eruptions of Pavlof, the style of eruptive activity fluctuated from higher to lower levels," the AVO wrote. "Therefore, this pause in eruptive activity does not necessarily indicate that the eruption has ended. Renewed activity is possible, and may not be preceded by significant seismic activity."

Looks like the volcanologists at AVO called it.

Meanwhile, another of Alaska's most eruptive peaks, Mount Cleveland in the Aleutian Islands, which was upgraded on May 4 following a possible explosion at the largely-unmonitored peak, also remained at elevated status. "Sudden explosions of blocks and ash are possible with little or no warning," the AVO wrote.

Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)

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