Report on Kirishimayama (Japan) — 7 March-13 March 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 March-13 March 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Kirishimayama (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 March-13 March 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
31.934°N, 130.862°E; summit elev. 1700 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
According to news articles, ash plumes from Shinmoedake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, caused the cancelation of about 80 flights in and out of Kagoshima airport on 6 March. JMA reported that daily explosions during 6-13 March generated ash plumes that generally rose 3 km above the crater rim, though an ash plume on 10 March rose as high as 4.5 km. Explosions also ejected tephra that fell 700-1,800 m from the vent. Ashfall was reported in a wide area including in the prefectures of Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. An explosion at 1558 on 9 March rattled structures in the Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures. Satellite images showed an increase in the crater diameter from 550 m on 7 March to 650 m on 9 March. During overflights on 9 March observers noted white plumes rising from the margins of the lava covering the crater floor, from lava flows on the S flank, and from newly forming lava flows on the NW flank. The volume of erupted lava was an estimated 14 million cubic meters. The NW lava flow had advanced 226 m by 13 March. A high number of volcanic earthquakes continued to be recorded, in addition to many low-frequency earthquakes with shallow hypocenters. Volcanic tremor was continuous from 1 March until 1536 on 8 March; afterwards the signals had small amplitudes and were intermittent. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).
Geologic Background. Kirishimayama is a large group of more than 20 Quaternary volcanoes located north of Kagoshima Bay. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene dominantly andesitic group consists of stratovolcanoes, pyroclastic cones, maars, and underlying shield volcanoes located over an area of 20 x 30 km. The larger stratovolcanoes are scattered throughout the field, with the centrally located Karakunidake being the highest. Onamiike and Miike, the two largest maars, are located SW of Karakunidake and at its far eastern end, respectively. Holocene eruptions have been concentrated along an E-W line of vents from Miike to Ohachi, and at Shinmoedake to the NE. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.