Report on Asosan (Japan) — 10 December-16 December 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Asosan (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that, based on seismicity and infrasound data, the eruption from Asosan’s Nakadake Crater that began on 25 November continued during 8-12 December; inclement weather often prevented observations of the crater. A webcam recorded tephra being carried by high winds and deposited in an area 1 km W. During a field survey on 10 December volcanologists observed 20-cm-wide blocks near the crater and 5-10-cm-wide blocks within 1.2 km SW of the crater. Plumes rose 600 m above the crater and incandescent material was sometimes ejected onto the crater rim. During 12-15 December the plume rose 1 km above the crater rim. Ashfall was reported E in Hanoi Aso (Kumamoto Region). Incandescent material was occasionally ejected onto the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).
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.