May 26, 2013 - Ash plume from Pavlof, Alaska (afternoon overpass)

Ash plume from Pavlof, Alaska (afternoon overpass)

In mid-May, 2013, Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano began a rumbling, steaming eruption. On May 18 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard the Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured this true color image of the narrow plume of steam, ash and gas pouring from the volcano and blowing southeast over the North Pacific Ocean.

On this day, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), at times the plume rose up to 20,000 feet above sea level, and Pavlof was emitting not only ash, but also was fountaining lava.

As of May 24, Pavlof’s eruption continued, but at a lower level of activity than earlier. At its peak, the ash plume had risen up to 22,000 feet above sea level, but mostly below 15,000 feet. A lava flow had been seen moving down the northwest flank. Although activity has diminished, this volcano has a history of waxing and waning-style eruption. The AVO warms that more energetic explosions could occur without warning.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 5/18/2013
Resolutions: 500m (212.4 KB), 250m (468.2 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC