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Pavlof Volcano eruption on Alaska Peninsula strengthens

Laurel Andrews
Pavlof volcano and eruption plume on Aug. 30, 2007. Reports of possible eruptions from Pavlov date back to 1762, when historical accounts suggested an eruption in the area, though that activity may also have come from Pavlof Sister, another eruptive peak very close by. Chris Waythomas/Alaska Volcano Observatory photo

Eruptions from Pavlof Volcano continued on Wednesday after rumbling to life earlier in the week. The 8,261-foot peak on the Alaska Peninsula awoke Monday morning, kicking off a "low-level eruption of lava," according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). Sitting about 30 miles northeast of the community of King Cove, Pavlof is a frequently-active volcano that last erupted in 2007.

The volcano's rumbling has strengthened this week. At about noon Tuesday, satellite images showed a lava flow had coursed a third of a mile down the northern side of the volcano. By late Tuesday, an ash plume extended 15,000 feet above sea level, moving downwind to the northeast for up to 100 miles before dispersing. The National Weather Service issued a "Significant Meterological Event" warning, called a SIGMET, to alert pilots of hazardous conditions in the area.

Pavlof continued to rumble Wednesday, with one pilot reporting a dark ash cloud reaching 20,000 feet. 

The AVO writes:

Residents of Cold Bay, located 37 miles southwest of the volcano, observed incandescent glow at the summit during the night. Pilot reports and photographs from yesterday afternoon indicate that the lava flow extending down the northwest flank is still active and has generated debris-laden flow deposits, presumably from interaction of hot lava with the snow and ice on the flank.

Reports of possible eruptions from Pavlov date back to 1762, when historical accounts suggested an eruption in the area, though that activity may also have come from Pavlof Sister, another eruptive peak very close by. The most recent eruption at Pavlof, in 2007, featured spitting lava and small ash clouds during a month-long stretch of heightened activity.

Unlike Mount Cleveland -- a remote volcano located on a small Aleutian island and the only other volcano exhibiting activity in the Last Frontier at the moment -- there is an extensive monitoring system set up at Pavlof due to its location and how often it's active, including a webcam set up at Cold Bay

Meanwhile, Cleveland remains on orange alert following an ash explosion May 6. No further explosions have been recorded since then, but satellites still show elevated surface temperatures.

Contact Laurel Andrews at laurel(at)alaskadispatch.com