A volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands called Pavlof erupted on Sunday afternoon at 4:18 p.m. local time. It sent ashes 20,000 feet into the air, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). There are no current satellite images of the eruption, but the agency has detected tremors on the ground in the area.

Current alert level remains at “WARNING”, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). The eruption was first reported by a pilot, who observed ash moving northward from the volcano. At the same time, seismicity started to increase in the area and still remains at high levels.

The volcano is currently monitored by satellite imagery, observers and remote instruments controlled by the AVO and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), however, the cameras are obstructed by clouds and the agencies have not been able to obtain images. Still, the situation is being rigorously monitored.

A volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands called Pavlof erupted on Sunday afternoon at 4:18 p.m. local time. Photo credit: Business Insider
A volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands called Pavlof erupted on Sunday afternoon at 4:18 p.m. local time. Photo credit: Business Insider

According to AVO, Pavlof is a “snow- and ice-covered stratovolcano”. It appears that stratovolcanoes, also known as composite cones, are the most deadly types of volcanoes, explains the San Diego State University. For instance, Pavlof has generated ash plumes as high as 49,000 feet.

The volcano is located on the southwest end of the Alaska Peninsula, 592 miles southwest of Anchorage. Pavlof is a huge geological formation, measuring 4.4 miles in diameter, moreover, it has active vents on its north and east side close to its summit, wrote AVO on Sunday.

“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.” Said AVO in a public statement.

A previous eruption was registered in 2013 when Pavlof Volcano sent ash 27,000 feet above sea level.  The current eruption has not apparently affected people, since the nearest community Cold Bay, is located 37 miles to its southwest, added AVO on Sunday night.

“Although most of the volcanoes in Alaska are remote and not close to populated areas, millions of dollars of air freight and 20,000-30,000 people fly over active Alaskan volcanoes daily traveling between North America and Asia.” said USGS, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Pavlof is surveilled by the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of the USGS, alongside the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.  

Two most famous stratovolcanoes worldwide: one is a tourist attraction, the other is a deadly menace

Mt. Fuji is 12,388 feet high and Japan’s highest mountain, located at the border of Shizuoka and Yamanashi. According to the scientific community, it is the epitome of stratovolcanoes, due to its almost perfect cone shape. Last time it erupted was in 1707, causing damages but no fatalities, says the Oregon State University (OSU). Currently, it can be climbed to watch the “Goraiko” or the sunrise.

Mount Mayon, which is 8070 feet high, is recognized as the “most famous active volcano in the Philippines” because it has erupted 47 times since 1616. Its deadliest eruption was in 1814 when it killed 12,000 people and destroyed nearby towns, said OSU in a blog post. In 2014, thousands of residents had to evacuate their homes as the government issued an alert of “hazardous eruption”.

Source: Alaska Volcano Observatory