Report on Aira (Japan) — 29 April-5 May 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 April-5 May 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 April-5 May 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that 12 explosions from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano ejected tephra as far as 1,300 m during 27 April-1 May. Incandescence from the crater was visible at night. An explosion at 0720 on 27 April generated a large ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater. The next day an explosive eruption was detected by the seismic network for 40 minutes. A very small pyroclastic flow traveled 500 m down the SE flank of Showa Crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5). Based on JMA notices, the Tokyo VAAC reported that explosions during 29 April-5 May generated plumes which rose to altitudes of 1.8-3.4 km (6,000-11,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.
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.