“Low-level Unrest Continues” at Alaska Island Volcano

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Steam and volcanic gas rising from the summit crater of Pavlof Volcano in 2004

The United States Geological Survey is continuing to monitor seismic activity at Pavlof Volcano in the Kudobin Islands.

Friday afternoon, USGS officials released a statement, saying “Low-level unrest continues at Pavlof Volcano. Seismic activity remains slightly above background. Other than a single image showing weakly elevated surface temperatures at the summit on December 12, no other significant activity was observed in partly cloudy to cloudy satellite images during the week. Web camera views showed occasional minor steaming at the summit.”

According to the USGS, vapor emissions, with or without minor amounts of volcanic ash, are common and may occur from the summit vent at any time. Periods of more vigorous ash emission and lava fountaining also are possible and could occur with only subtle changes in the level of seismic activity. Pavlof is one of the most frequently active volcanoes in Alaska, and pauses in eruptive activity followed by renewed unrest and ash emission are common.

Pavlof Volcano is a snow- and ice-covered stratovolcano located on the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula about 953 km (592 mi) southwest of Anchorage. The volcano is about 7 km (4.4 mi) in diameter and has active vents on the north and east sides close to the summit. With over 40 historic eruptions, it is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc. Eruptive activity is generally characterized by sporadic Strombolian lava fountaining continuing for a several-month period. Ash plumes as high as 49,000 ft ASL have been generated by past eruptions of Pavlof, and during the March 2016 eruption, ash plumes as high as 40,000 feet above sea level were generated and the ash was tracked in satellite data as distant as eastern Canada. The nearest community, Cold Bay, is located 60 km (37 miles) to the southwest of Pavlof.

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