Report on Asosan (Japan) — 14 August-20 August 2002
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 August-20 August 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Asosan (Japan). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 August-20 August 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 5 August to at least 15 August, isolated volcanic-tremor events occurred at Naka-dake, Aso's historically-active intra-caldera cone. The maximum number of events (335) was recorded on 12 August. Scientists found that the temperature of the southern crater wall remained high (307 ºC on 14 August) as it has since April 2002. There were no changes in water-pool temperature in the crater, nor had changes occurred in water level, sediment content, or fumarolic activity in the crater. The last time over 300 isolated volcanic-tremor events per day had been recorded at Aso was during 19 June-2 July 1992.
Geologic Background. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.