Pavlof Eruption Picks Up Again

Pavlof volcano eruption column, May 18, 2013. Photo courtesy Theo Chesley.
Pavlof volcano eruption column, May 18, 2013. Photo courtesy Theo Chesley.

The eruption at Pavlof Volcano, on the Alaska Peninsula, has picked up again. The volcano is spewing ash to 28,000-feet, the highest it’s reached since the unrest started in early May.

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That’s not high enough to interfere with international air traffic, but it does have communities in the region on alert.

In the village of King Cove, there were reports of ash fall this morning, but resident Pam Mitchell says it wasn’t particularly noticeable.

“It’s nothing like what you see on TV. It’s literally like if I aerosol-sprayed something. Gritty. That’s it.”

The increased activity also prompted PenAir to cancel its flights into Cold Bay. Marketing director Missy Anderson says it didn’t impact the airline’s other routes though.

“Cold Bay is typically used as our primary alternate for our Dutch [Harbor] and Prib[ilof Island] flights. But in this particularly case we were able to use our secondary, which is King Salmon, so those flights were able to get to their final destinations.”

The volcano isn’t showing signs of letting up. Dave Schneider is a geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. He says seismic tremors at Pavlof started intensifying around midnight.

“And then it escalated over the next couple of hours to a pretty high level, where it has continued. It’s sort of plateaued.”

Pavlof is the most active volcano in Alaska, and has previously erupted for weeks, or even months, at a time, although it typically cycles through periods of intense activity like the current one.

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