Hotspot volcanoes

Three erupting Alaskan volcanoes spewing lava or ash clouds


Three remote Alaskan volcanoes are in various erupting states, one producing lava and the other two blowing steam and ash.

So far, none of the small communities near the volcanoes have been affected, said Chris Waythomas, a geologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory on Thursday.

Thursday’s webcams clearly showed low-level episodic ash emissions from the Pavlof volcano, prompting the observatory to increase the volcano’s threat level from yellow, or showing signs of unrest, to orange, indicating that a eruption is in progress with emissions of minor volcanic ash.

Clouds of ash rose just above the volcano’s 8,261-foot summit, drifting about 6 miles south before dissipating, Waythomas said.

Pavlof is a “very devious volcano,” Waythomas said. “It can start without too much warning. “

He described the peak as an open system volcano, meaning that its “magmatic plumbing system is open and magmas can rise to the surface very quickly and it can begin to erupt almost without warning.”

Pavlof is a snow and ice covered stratovolcano at the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula, nearly 600 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The closest community is Cold Bay, about 35 miles southwest of Pavlof, which is considered one of Alaska’s most active volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands Arc of active and dormant volcanoes.

Pavlof last erupted in 2016, dropping ashes on another community, Nelson Lagoon.

The observatory received reports from people in the Adak community on Thursday about a lava fountain atop the Great Sitkin volcano. The reports were then confirmed by webcam.

“The fact that they walk around outside and see it’s really awesome,” Waythomas said.

He said if activity increased, Adak could get ashes from Great Sitkin, located on an island about 27 miles away.

“This lava fountain is quite unusual for Great Sitkin, but it’s been pretty passive at this point,” he said.

Great Sitkin, a stratovolcano with a caldera and a dome, is located approximately 1,150 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The Semisopochnoi volcano, about 150 miles away on an uninhabited island at the western end of the Aleutian Islands, erupted intermittently and produced an ash cloud that rose about 10,000 feet into the air on Wednesday. , said Waythomas.