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Report on Pavlof (United States) — January 1984


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 1 (January 1984)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Pavlof (United States) Plumes on satellite imagery; harmonic tremor

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1984. Report on Pavlof (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 9:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198401-312030


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Six explosions were recorded between 1600 and 2000 on 15 December by Lamont-Doherty's 5-station seismic net 4.5-10 km from the volcano. One station, about [8.5] km from Pavlof, detected bursts of harmonic tremor 17 December, 1100-18 December, 0330; 18 December, 0530-0615 and 1040-1110; 20 December, 2200-2245; and 21 December, 2035-2048. Seismicity then decreased to the background level of several tens of events per day and remained at that level as of 26 January.

Eruption plumes were observed on three images returned 15-17 December from the NOAA 8 polar orbiting satellite. The images at 2101 on the 15th and 1031 on the 17th showed well-defined, relatively dense plumes extending 225 km E and 400 km NE from Pavlof above the weather cloud layer. A diffuse plume was observed on the image at 2018 on 18 December. No volcanic plumes were observed on other images 15-21 December, but heavy weather clouds obscured the area. There have been no eyewitness reports of eruptive activity since airline pilots last reported eruption clouds from Pavlof at 1400 on 15 December.

Geological Summary. 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: S. McNutt, LDGO; M. E. Yount, USGS, Anchorage; M. Matson and W. Gould, NOAA/NESDIS.