Report on Pavlof (United States) — January 1997

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 22, no. 1 (January 1997)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Pavlof (United States) Pause in eruptive activity, but continued small intermittent steam plumes

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1997. Report on Pavlof (United States). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 22:1. Smithsonian Institution.

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United States

55.417°N, 161.894°W; summit elev. 2493 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The latest eruption began on 15 September and continued intermittently through 3 January, when a small ash burst was observed just above the summit (BGVN 21:08-21:12). On the morning of 24 January a pilot reported weak emission of steam and possibly minor ash rising to ~4.2 km altitude, mixing with a cloud layer, and drifting SE. Very low levels of seismicity were recorded from early January through late February.

A ground observer who glimpsed the volcano on 4 February reported that the summit vent area, which had been snow-covered the previous week, was now bare. On 6 February the same observer saw a small steam plume rising from the vent area to the level of the summit. U.S. National Weather Service observers in Cold Bay (60 km SW) reported another small steam plume up to 300 m above the summit vents during 15-16 February. A similar steam plume to 600-900 m above the vents was reported by pilots on 19 February.

Geologic Background. The most active volcano of the Aleutian arc, Pavlof is a 2519-m-high Holocene stratovolcano that was constructed along a line of vents extending NE from the Emmons Lake caldera. Pavlof and its twin volcano to the NE, 2142-m-high Pavlof Sister, form a dramatic pair of symmetrical, glacier-covered stratovolcanoes that tower above Pavlof and Volcano bays. A third cone, Little Pavlof, is a smaller volcano on the SW flank of Pavlof volcano, near the rim of Emmons Lake caldera. Unlike Pavlof Sister, Pavlof has been frequently active in historical time, typically producing Strombolian to Vulcanian explosive eruptions from the summit vents and occasional lava flows. The active vents lie near the summit on the north and east sides. The largest historical eruption took place in 1911, at the end of a 5-year-long eruptive episode, when a fissure opened on the N flank, ejecting large blocks and issuing lava flows.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL:, b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.