Alaska and the Home of Mount Pavlof

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Alaska is the home of Mount Pavlof, an active volcano in the Aleutian Range of the state. It is one of the most active volcanos in the United States of America. It has erupted 13 times since 1980, twice in 2014, and again on March 27, 2016. It darkened the sky across Southwestern Alaska.

WBUR stated that earlier this week Mt. Pavlof threw a very thick cloud that was brown and grey, more than 35,000 feet up into the sky. Villagers in Nelson Lagoon, which is 55 miles North East of the volcano, were able to watch the volcanic eruption.

Fox News reported that the massive ash clouds from the eruption disturbed airline traffic. It erupted 625 miles South West of Anchorage on Sunday. The cloud of smoke had passed into neighboring Northern Canada by the following Tuesday. In different villages, many windows of cars and rooftops had turned black due to raining volcanic ash.

Alaskan airlines cancelled 41 flights on Monday and 28 flights on Tuesday. However, Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan stated in an email that normal service to six Alaskan communities resumed on Wednesday.

Egan stated that the airline had two extra sections; one between Anchorage and Nome, and the other between Anchorage and Kotzebue. The two additional sections were created to bring passengers and cargo safely away from those two areas of Alaska.

A geologist from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Chris Waythomas, declared that Pavlof is one of the state’s “most active volcanos.” However, because different eruptions have either ended suddenly or lasted for many years, “when it shuts off, it shuts off.”

Alaska Dispatch News reports that villagers close to the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pavlof had been advised to stay indoors. Although the volcano’s ash had threatened aircrafts this past Tuesday, it was at a low elevation and in a smaller amount. The eruption continued for 17 hours.

USGS geologist Kristi Wallace stated that a large amount of ash fell on Nelson Lagoon; a village inhabited by 39 residents. The residents of that village reported the ash was one-eighth to two-thirds of an inch thick.

Corporal Barret Taylor, who is a public safety officer for Nelson Lagoon, described seeing the ash falling early Monday. He said it was falling like rain but turned everything, such as fuel tanks, homes, and rooftops black.

Wallace said the fall of ash on Nelson Lagoon was significant; the village is approximately 1,000 km away from the volcano. Taylor also stated that the ash was more intense on Tuesday because of the rapidly moving wind from the ocean.

CBC News stated that the eruption continued to release new ash into the environment on Tuesday. The ash could have even threatened aircrafts in the area, although, according to the Alaskan Observatory, the ash came in smaller amounts and lower heights.

Officials warned that the ash was hazardous to breathing passages, skin, and eyes. Taylor hopes that the ash will be swept away by a strong wind or rain by Wednesday, so the health advisory can be lifted. He also stated he witnessed an eagle land on the grass, then “a big pile of ash came up,” and the eagle flew away.

The aftereffect of the eruption blew northeast toward Canada. However, the USGS geophysicist Dave Schneider, who is from the observatory, stated the activity has calmed from the eruptive phase. The airlines cancelled flights because the sharp and angular ash from the volcano would cause a jet engine to shut down.

By John A. Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne


90.9 wbur: Alaska Volcano Mellows After Wreaking Havoc
Fox News: Alaska air traffic resumes as volcano eruptions wane
Alaska Dispatch: Ash from Pavlof Volcano coats nearby village and drifts into Canada
CBS News: Ash coats village areas near erupting Alaska volcano

Featured Image Courtesy of MarculescuEugenIancuD5200Alaska’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License