Logo link to homepage

Report on Pavlof (United States) — October 1987


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 10 (October 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Pavlof (United States) Ash-rich explosions; blocks and spatter form flow

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Pavlof (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198710-312030


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Activity increased 17 October when ash-rich explosions from the NW summit vent occurred every 30 seconds to several minutes. Ash plumes, reported through 9 November attained a maximum altitude of 4500-5800 m on 30 October (table 4). Plumes stretched E as much as 200 km and tephra fell at Canoe Bay, 45 km ENE, on 19 October. Blocks and spatter ejected to 30 m from the near-summit vent formed a short spatter flow. Night glow from the summit was visible on several evenings in mid-October. Incandescent rocks and spatter were reportedly continuing in early November. Ash deposits were last reported on 4 September (SEAN 12:09).

Table 4. Reports of activity at Pavlof, 16 October-27 November 1987, compiled by John Reeder and M.E. Yount from the following observers: Steve Hakala (Canoe Bay); Dan Coy (Sand Point Air); Scotty Gibbens and John Sarvis (USFWS); Deedee and Tom O'Malia (Cold Bay); Marsha Brown, Theresa Dubber, Chuck Taylor, Jim Yakal (FAA Flight Service, Cold Bay); Steve Shivers (USGS, Anchorage); James Gibson, George Wooliver, Chuck Nickerson, Gary Lintner, Harding (Reeve Aleutian Airways); Guy Morgan, Bryan Carricaburu, Doug Ruberg (Peninsula Airways); Harold Johnson Sr. (Nelson Lagoon); Will Gould (NOAA/NESDIS); John Sarvis (USFWS); Sand Point Air pilot; James Fredenhagen (Reeve Aleutian Airways);Coast Guard pilot. Unattributed reports were compiled by M.E. Yount.

Date Time Activity Reported Observers
16 Oct 1987 1646 Thin gaseous plume on NOAA 9 satellite image. --
17 Oct 1987 1130 Loud explosions (continued through the night); incandescent flow feature on NE flank. SH
18 Oct 1987 0800 Incandescent material flowed 800 m from vent. SH
18 Oct 1987 0950 Ash to 3,200 m altitude, drifting 16 km NW; lava spatter to 30 m above vent. DC
18 Oct 1987 afternoon Rain, very black with ash near volcano. SG
18 Oct 1987 1200-1600 Nearly continuous black ash emission to 3,050 m altitude, then clouds obscure volcano. DO, TO
18 Oct 1987 1830 Volcano still very active. SH
19 Oct 1987 1101 Plume on NOAA 10 satellite image drifting 200 km E. SS, WG
19 Oct 1987 1138 Ash rising to 3,000 m altitude, drifting ESE. JG, GW
19 Oct 1987 morning Coarse black tephra fell at Canoe Bay. SH
19 Oct 1987 1210 Ash to 4,250 m altitude, drifting E at least 90 km; ash pulses every 30 seconds and rocks (some incandescent) ejected to 180 m above the vent, landing about 800 m down the flank. BC
19 Oct 1987 1300 Plume to over 3,350 m, extended at least 100 km E. GM
19 Oct 1987 afternoon Black, steaming, flow feature on NE flank, melted snow; incandescent material ejected. BC
19 Oct 1987 1600 Nearly continuous ash emission formed a plume, drifted SE. FAA
19 Oct 1987 1700 Mushroom-shaped plume rose to 1,220 m above summit. FAA
19 Oct 1987 2000 Ejection of incandescent material. JY, CT
19 Oct 1987 evening Incandescent glow from summit. HJ
25 Oct 1987 -- Red glow from vent; ash to 900 m above vent, drifting NE; incandescent rocks ejected. MB
26 Oct 1987 1828 Ash to 460 m above volcano. CN, GL, H
26 Oct 1987 1907 Incandescent material ejected 30 m; ash to 300 m above volcano, drifting E. JS
26 Oct 1987 1940 Ash to 4,600 m altitude, drifting SSE; incandescent material ejected. DR
27 Oct 1987 morning Ash to 60 m above volcano, drifting NE. SH
29 Oct 1987 1608 Ash to 30 m above volcano, drifting ESE. CT
29 Oct 1987 1742 Plume to 4,600 m altitude, driftin ESE; ash fell from plume 1 km from vent. CT
30 Oct 1987 -- Ash plumes reached 4,500-5,800 m altitude. --
01 Nov 1987 -- Volcano obscured. --
05 Nov 1987 0921 Dark ash rose about 250 m above summit, drifting NE. JS
06 Nov 1987 1657 Dark ash was blown down SE flank, then drifted 20-25 km WNW. JF
07 Nov 1987 1238 Dark ash rose 150-300 m above summit. TD
07 Nov 1987 1450 Ash plume rose to 3.6 km altitude; some ash drifted 20-25 km WNW. JF
07 Nov 1987 1600 Dark ash to 3.6 km altitude, drifted 35 km NW. JF
09 Nov 1987 0900 Ash plume rose to a maximum of 3.6 km altitude. TD
09 Nov 1987 1000 Ash blown down S flank. MB
09 Nov 1987 1210 No eruptive activity. CG
10-16 Nov 1987 -- Poor visibility. --
16 Nov 1987 0931 White steam rose to summit. MB
27 Nov 1987 0934 Steam rose 60 m above the summit. JY

Geological Summary. The most active volcano of the Aleutian arc, Pavlof is a Holocene stratovolcano that was constructed along a line of vents extending NE from the Emmons Lake caldera. Pavlof and Pavlof Sister to the NE form a dramatic pair of symmetrical, glacier-covered stratovolcanoes that overlook Pavlof and Volcano bays. Little Pavlof is a smaller cone on the SW flank of Pavlof volcano, near the rim of Emmons Lake caldera. Unlike Pavlof Sister, eruptions have frequently been reported from Pavlof, typically 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 recorded 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; M.E. Yount, USGS Anchorage.