The Pavlof Volcano in the Alaska Peninsula has been a long-running safety concern in Alaska for aviators. The volcano has caused red alerts in the past. The ash cloud from the Pavlof Volcano has again reached 30,000 feet triggering a new round of aviation alerts. The National Weather Service warned aviation interests that the ash cloud from the erupting volcano was spreading to the west and northwest of the volcano. The volcano intensified yesterday prompting the new aviation warnings. The volcano is the most active volcano in Alaska.
The volcano lies along major Asia-North America air traffic great circle routes.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory issued this statement yesterday (November 15):
PAVLOF VOLCANO (VNUM #312030)
55°25’2″ N 161°53’37” W, Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED
The eruption of Pavlof Volcano that began on November 12 has intensified and the Aviation Color Code was raised to RED and the Volcano Alert Level to WARNING earlier today.
The intensity of seismic tremor remains at high levels and pilot reports though 12:30 AKST (21:30 UTC) indicate that the ash cloud height has increased to 30,000 ft above sea level. Satellite, pilot reports, and wind data show the ash cloud moving towards the northwest over the Bering Sea. Ash cloud height and direction will vary significantly through an eruption and aviation users should refer to the National Weather Service for updated SIGMETs on the ash cloud hazard (http://aawu.arh.noaa.gov/sigmets.php).
No reports of ash fallout on nearby communities have been reported, and the ash cloud is currently moving away from populated areas. We encourage observers to contact AVO should it occur (https://www.avo.alaska.edu/ashfall/ashreport.php). The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for the possibility of ash fall in the vicinity of Pavlof and towards the northwest.
Description of the volcano:
From Miller and others (1998): “Pavlof Volcano is a largely snow-covered, cone-shaped mountain with a high ridge extending to the southwest towards the rim of Emmons Lake Caldera. The volcano is approximately 7 km in diameter and has active vents on the north and east sides close to the summit (McNutt and others, 1991). It is situated high on the northeastern flank of Emmons Lake Caldera along a northeast-trending alignment of vents that includes Pavlof Sister, and several intracaldera cones (Kennedy and Waldron, 1955). The stratovolcano is relatively undissected and is mostly Holocene in age. Pavlof lies within the Shumagin seismic gap (Davies and others, 1981).” The name Pavlof comes from Russian, translating to “Paul” or “Saint Paul”. This volcano name was first published as “Pavlovskoi Volcan” by Captain Lutke in 1836.
Ash Cloud Forecast: CLICK HERE
Top photo and map: Alaska Volcano Observatory/Carol Damberg.