The abrupt eruption of Pavlof Volcano in Alaska has sent ash plumes rising as high as 20,000 feet. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the eruption began Sunday afternoon at 4:18 p.m. local time. Tremors were also felt on the ground. The Alaska Volcano Observatory said seismic activity started increasing from background levels at 3:53 p.m. with “quick onset of continuous tremor.”

Alaska's Pavlof Volcano Erupts Abruptly, Sends Ash 20,000 Feet Up

Pavlof Volcano has erupted 40 times in known history

The ash plumes could be seen moving northward from the volcano. The Pavlof Volcano is located on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, about 600 miles from Anchorage. The USGS has raised the aviation warning to “red,” the highest level, and the volcano alert level to “warning.” The alert warning remained in effect early Monday morning. According to, a few airplanes could still be seen flying nearby on Monday morning.

The USGS noted that the volcano was 4.4 miles in diameter and was “one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc.” It has had 40 recorded eruptions in history, with the last eruption taking place in November 2014. Past eruptions have sent ash plumed as high as 49,000 feet. An eruption in 2013 saw ash rising up to 27,000 feet.

PenAir passenger captures photo of volcanic eruption

Fortunately, the area is not densely populated. The community closest to the Pavlof Volcano is Cold Bay, which has a population of about 100 people. It is located about 37 miles southwest of the volcanic region. The Aleutian Arc consists of several dormant and active volcanoes resulting from subduction along the Aleutian Trench. The USGS is keeping a close watch on the eruption. No casualty has been reported due to the Pavlof Volcano eruption.

A passenger traveling on a PenAir flight from Dutch Harbor to Anchorage captured a stunning image of the volcanic eruption. The passenger told the Daily Mail that he had heard that the Pavlof Volcano had started erupting ash, so the pilot flew the airplane closer for passengers to take a closer look at the eruption.