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Report on Pavlof (United States) — June 1987


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 6 (June 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Pavlof (United States) Incandescent flow; summit glow; ash emission continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Pavlof (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198706-312030


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The eruption . . . continued in June. On 7 June at 1601 pilot Richard Williams (Peninsula Airways) saw an incandescent flow (probably lava) that had descended to 1,200 m elevation on the NNE flank. Ash was rising to 600 m above the volcano from the NE near-summit vent, drifting S. Forty minutes later the ash plume reached 760 m. Residents of Nelson Lagoon, 80 km NE, reported a bright red glow from the summit throughout the night. On 9 June at 1153 a pilot reported only steam emission from the NE near-summit vent.

The following day at 1419 the U.S. Coast Guard reported that gray ash was being emitted from the active vent and 7 hours later pilot Harold Wilson (Peninsula Airways) saw (and photographed) gray then black-gray ash emission. A plume rose to 760 m above the NE vent and drifted 2 km W. The black-gray ash emission was intermittent and lasted for about 15 minutes. Only minor steam emission was reported on 11 June but dark ash emission had resumed on 12 June at 1602 when Chuck Nickerson and George Wooliver (Reeve Aleutian Airways) passed the volcano.

A lava or debris flow seen from 25 km away during the afternoon of 2 June was reported in 12:5. That evening from 2130 to 2200 Marsha Brown (FAA, Cold Bay) saw an incandescent flow move down the NNE flank. Richard Williams observed the incandescent flow from Nelson Lagoon (80 km NE) and estimated that it extended almost 1/3 of the way down the volcano.

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: J. Reeder, ADGGS.