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ARCHIVED REPORT
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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

Information Release

Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:55 PM AKDT (2155 UTC)




PAVLOF VOLCANO (CAVW#1102-03-)

55°24'57" N161°53'24" W, Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)

Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Current Volcano Alert Level: Watch



The intensity of earthquake activity at Pavlof Volcano has continued to slowly increase from yesterday. Strong signals at a single station southeast of the summit suggest flow events, probably lahars (or mudflows), on that flank. Satellite images of the volcano overnight and this morning continue to show a strong thermal feature at Pavlof. Residents of both Cold Bay and Sand Point observed last night incandescence at the summit.



These observations are consistent with vigorous eruption of lava at the surface; explosions producing ash do not seem to be significant at this time and any ash produced is likely staying below 15 - 20,000 ft above sea level. AVO is maintaining aviation color code ORANGE and volcanic activity alert level WATCH at this time.



The primary hazard from this eruption is airborne ash. If activity continues to increase in intensity, larger ash clouds that could affect aircraft may be produced. The most immediate ground hazard in the vicinity of the volcano includes light ash fall on nearby communities. Previous historical eruptions from Pavlof caused only a few millimeters (about 1/10th of an inch) of ash to fall on King Cove, Nelson Lagoon, and Sand Point. Mudflows in drainages from the flanks of the volcano, and lava flows and avalanching of hot debris on the upper reaches of the volcano are also of concern in the uninhabited areas around the volcano. Satellite data and eyewitness observations suggest most of the surface lava activity is occurring on the southeast sector of the steep-sided volcano; this suggests that the Pacific Ocean side of the volcano is at most risk from avalanching hot debris.



At this time, we expect this eruption to follow the pattern of previous eruptions. The last eruption of Pavlof began in September, 1996 and consisted of a several-month-long series of ash explosions, lava-fountaining, and lava-flow production. Ash clouds reached as high as 30,000 ft ASL on one occasion. However, most ash clouds were below 20,000 ft ASL. Prior to 1996, Pavlof erupted in 1986 sending ash as high as 49,000 ft ASL on at least one occasion. A hazard assessment for Pavlof and the Emmons Lake volcanic center is available on the web at http://www.avo.alaska.edu/pdfs/SIR2006-5248.pdf



AVO continues to monitor the activity closely; satellite and seismic data are checked frequently around the clock. We are investigating the installation of additional monitoring equipment including a web camera.



Pavlof volcano is a steep-sided, symmetrical, 8261-ft-high stratovolcano located on the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula about 590 miles southwest of Anchorage. The community of Cold Bay is located 37 miles to the southwest of Pavlof; Nelson Lagoon, King Cove, and Sand Point are other communities within 75 miles of the volcano. With almost 40 historic eruptions, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc. Eruptive activity is generally characterized by sporadic lava fountaining continuing for a several-month period. Additional hazards in the vicinity of the volcano included light ash fall on nearby communities, mudflows, lava flows and avalanching of hot debris on the flanks of the volcano. For more information on Pavlof and potential volcano hazards, please see our web site: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/volcinfo.php?volcname=Pavlof





VOLCANO ALERT LEVELS:

NORMAL Typical background activity of a volcano in a non-eruptive state

ADVISORY Elevated unrest above known background activity

WATCH Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential for eruptive activity

WARNING Highly hazardous eruption underway or imminent



ABBREVIATED AVIATION COLOR CODE KEY:

GREEN volcano is dormant; normal seismicity and fumarolic activity occurring

YELLOW volcano is restless; eruption may occur

ORANGE volcano is in eruption or eruption may occur at any time

RED significant eruption is occurring or explosive eruption expected at any time



Please see http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/2006/vhpalertlevel.pdf for a complete description of alert levels and color codes.



VOLCANO INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET: http://www.avo.alaska.edu

RECORDING ON THE STATUS OF ALASKA'S VOLCANOES (907) 786-7478



CONTACT INFORMATION:

Tom Murray Scientist-in-Charge, USGS

tlmurray@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497



Steve McNutt, Coordinating Scientist, UAF

steve@giseis.alaska.edu (907) 474-7131



The Alaska Volcano Observatory is a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.



VOLCANO ALERT LEVELS
NORMAL
Volcano is in typical background, noneruptive state or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to noneruptive background state.
ADVISORY
Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.
WATCH
Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway but poses limited hazards.
WARNING
Hazardous eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected.

AVIATION COLOR CODES
GREEN
Volcano is in typical background, noneruptive state or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to noneruptive background state.
YELLOW
Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.
ORANGE
Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway with no or minor volcanic-ash emissions [ash-plume height specified, if possible].
RED
Eruption is imminent with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere likely OR eruption is underway or suspected with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere [ash-plume height specified, if possible].

PDF version of these definitions
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Page modified: May 27, 2014 10:23
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