Saturday, September 01, 2007
Alaska: Volcano eruption is near!
The volcano is below the path of hundreds of daily international flight paths, and an explosive eruption could interrupt those operations, said Steve McNutt, a volcano seismologist with the observatory. Volcanic ash can enter an engine and make it seize up, he said.
McNutt said seismic activity is high at the 8,262-foot volcano, with about one tremor recorded every minute. Lahars — mudslides caused when lava melts snow on the peak — have triggered some seismic activity, as well, he said.
He said hazards the volcano could present included light ash fall on nearby communities, mud flows, lava flows and hot debris avalanching on the volcano‘s flanks.
Josh Gould, co-owner of King Cove grocer John Gould & Sons Co. Inc., said people in town were preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. Sales of basic staples are up, he said, but there‘s no danger of running out of products like water, bread and milk.
Seismic activity was first picked up at the volcano Tuesday. Eyewitnesses aboard a fishing boat in the area Wednesday reported glowing lava on the volcano‘s southeast flank. Pilots have reported a weak plume of ash drifting 5 miles to the southwest and likely below 20,000 feet.
Pavlof, which has had about 40 eruptions since record keeping began in the area in the 1760s, is among the most closely monitored volcanoes in the state, with permanent monitoring equipment installed nearby.
A series of ash explosions and lava eruptions took place for several months after the last eruption. Ash clouds reached as high as 30,000 feet at the time. During a 1986 eruption, Pavlof spewed ash as high as 49,000 feet.