The Alaska Volcano Observatory upgraded Pavlov’s aviation alert level from orange to red on Monday, signifying an increase in volcanic activity.
“Pavlov on Saturday began an extremely low-level eruption. It began with elevated surface temps at the summit of the volcano, lava at the surface. But then just in the past two to three hours the seismicity ramped up, and we were receiving pilot reports of an ash cloud to 22,000 feet,” said Matt Haney, a seismologist with the AVO.
“Taken together with the increase in seismicity and the higher ash cloud it warranted a step up to the next level, red,” Haney said.
Currently, the ash is moving in a southeasterly direction, which poses no threat to Kodiak, although the ash level could pose a concern to regional planes.
“Jets flying between North America and Asia would be flying in excess of 30,000 feet. This would be more likely to effect regional air traffic, 15,000 to 30,000 feet,” Haney said.
The AVO is a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.
Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Lake Clark National Park that erupted in 2009, also attained a red alert level, although it was shooting ash much higher up, causing more concern for volcanologists.