No matter how advanced technology can be in 2016, it cannot stop the intensity of some forces in nature.
Mount Pavlof, a highly active volcano on the Alaskan Peninsula, erupted suddenly this weekend, resulting in an ash cloud that was almost 20 thousand feet high. This enormous ash cloud prompted a Red Aviation alert, which had pilots re-routing their flight patterns to avoid the ash. At least three thousand Alaska Airlines were affected by the cancellation of the 41 flights after the eruption.
Pavlof had been on a low alert status since its most recent eruption in November 2014. Scientists had no recorded data of lava or ash emissions since 2014, but this sudden eruption is no surprise to University of Alaska Geophysical Institute Coordinating Scientist Jessica Larsen.
"Pavlof is known to us for having pretty quick onset of eruptions," Larsen explained. "It doesn't always give us long precursory signals. If you look at some of the seismic data we have, the intensity really ramped up pretty fast."
According to the U.S Geological Survey, the volcano's eruption has declined significantly in intensity. Although the current volcano alert level has decreased to watch, there is still a possibility of a significant eruption coming from Pavlof.
Pavlof is one of the most active volcanoes in North America, with at least 24 eruptions in the last century. The volcano's location provides a constant concern for flights, as many planes travel above the volcano regularly. Scientists are constantly monitoring the status of Pavlof through daily satellite monitoring and use of instruments located around the volcano due to the safety concerns of any flight that might be in the area.
The volcano's structure makes it unclear where exactly the eruption took place, due to the many closely formed vents. Most of Pavlof's eruptions have resulted in low amounts of ash and lava released, similar to this recent eruption. There have only been a handful of times the volcano was significantly more explosive than usual, with the most recent being in 1983.