Bulletin of Volcanology

, 76:862 | Cite as

The 2013 eruption of Pavlof Volcano, Alaska: a spatter eruption at an ice- and snow-clad volcano

  • Christopher F. WaythomasEmail author
  • Matthew M. Haney
  • David Fee
  • David J. Schneider
  • Aaron Wech
Short Scientific Communication


The 2013 eruption of Pavlof Volcano, Alaska began on 13 May and ended 49 days later on 1 July. The eruption was characterized by persistent lava fountaining from a vent just north of the summit, intermittent strombolian explosions, and ash, gas, and aerosol plumes that reached as high as 8 km above sea level and on several occasions extended as much as 500 km downwind of the volcano. During the first several days of the eruption, accumulations of spatter near the vent periodically collapsed to form small pyroclastic avalanches that eroded and melted snow and ice to form lahars on the lower north flank of the volcano. Continued lava fountaining led to the production of clastogenic lava flows that extended to the base of the volcano, about 3–4 km beyond the vent. The generation of fountain-fed lava flows was a dominant process during the 2013 eruption; however, episodic collapse of spatter accumulations and formation of hot spatter-rich granular avalanches was a more efficient process for melting snow and ice and initiating lahars. The lahars and ash plumes generated during the eruption did not pose any serious hazards for the area. However, numerous local airline flights were cancelled or rerouted, and trace amounts of ash fall occurred at all of the local communities surrounding the volcano, including Cold Bay, Nelson Lagoon, Sand Point, and King Cove.


Pyroclastic avalanches Spatter eruption Seismic Lahars Eruption-snow-ice interactions 



Numerous individuals assisted with the AVO response to the 2013 Pavlof eruption and although we cannot mention everyone by name, we gratefully acknowledge the AVO staff for all of their contributions and insight. We thank Kristi Wallace for keeping the eruption chronology complete and up to date. We also thank John Lyons, Tina Neal, Cheryl Cameron, Gert Lube, James White, and an anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments and suggestions that helped improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher F. Waythomas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew M. Haney
    • 1
  • David Fee
    • 2
  • David J. Schneider
    • 1
  • Aaron Wech
    • 1
  1. 1.Alaska Volcano ObservatoryU.S. Geological SurveyAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.Wilson Infrasound Observatories, Alaska Volcano Observatory, Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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