Mount Pavlof began spewing a mountain of ash last week, and that cloud, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, shows no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future. Now according to a new report, Mount Pavlof has disrupted regional airline carriers.
The volcanoe’s ash cloud has already reached 6.7 kilometres (4.16 miles) into the sky, and experts warn that it could erupt further and with little to no warning.
While commercial airliners, which fly at much higher altitudes, have not yet been affected, Alaska’s smaller regional airlines have been forced to stop flights. Halted flights mostly involve rural fishing towns and native villages that do not have access to roads.
One such company, PenAir, has already stopped flights to four of its destinations. The company says it will closely monitor ash levels and determine future routes as airspace becomes safe for flying.
Danny Seybert, the carrier’s chief executive, says the carrier has cancelled dozens of flights because of the volcano. PenAir flights at heights of 4,500 to 6,000 meters.
It’s not just airline carriers on the ground who should be concerned. Health officials warn that the ash plume can cause respiratory problems. Volcanic ash is a fine material that can easily enter the body and poses serious health risks, especially following prolonged exposure.
The last major eruption for one of Alaska’s most active volcanoes occurred in 2007.
According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory Mount Pavlof has erupted two dozen times between 1901 and 2007.
Despite airline delays the Mount Pavlof eruption still pales in comparison to the Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, which erupted in 2010 and caused delays all the way to Ireland.