Report on Aira (Japan) — January 1996
Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 1 (January 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.
Aira (Japan) Explosive eruptions and ashfalls continue
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://dx.doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199601-282080.
31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Minami-dake crater was slightly active throughout January. The monthly total number of eruptions was 60, including 42 explosive ones. At the seismic station 2.3 km NW of Minami-dake crater (Station B), 601 earthquakes and 684 tremors were recorded. The highest ash plume of the month rose 2,300 m above the summit crater on the 21st. Ashfall measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory, 10 km W form the crater, was 41 g/m2.
The VRC noted that there were more than 200 eruptions in 1995; total amount of erupted material was estimated at 3-4 million tons by the Sakurajima Volcanological Observatory, Kyoto University. The latter has been observing continuous uplift on the N side of the volcano, implying accumulation of magma beneath the volcano.
Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.
Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan; Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html).