Report on Aira (Japan) — 22 March-28 March 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 March-28 March 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 March-28 March 2017. 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 an explosion at Minamidake summit crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) detected at 1803 on 25 March generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1.1 km down the S flank. An explosion at 2228 produced an ash plume that rose 1.4 km above the crater rim. Ash fell in the vicinity of the volcano and as far as 4.5 km E. Based on JMA notices and satellite-image analyses, the Tokyo VAAC reported that ash plumes drifted SE and E that same day.
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.