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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 36.799°N
  • 139.376°E

  • 2578 m
    8456 ft

  • 283140
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Nikko-Shiranesan.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Nikko-Shiranesan.

Index of Monthly Reports

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

03/2013 (BGVN 38:03) Felt earthquakes nearby during April-September 2011

Contents of Monthly Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

03/2013 (BGVN 38:03) Felt earthquakes nearby during April-September 2011

This is our first report on Nikko-Shirane (also known as Nikko-Shiranesan). The volcano is located in the Nikko National Park in central Honshu, the main island of Japan (figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1. A photo and a sketch map highlighting the Nikko-Shirane's morphology and location. The volcano sits ~124 km NNW of Tokyo. Courtesy of JMA.
Figure 2. Photo of Nikko-Shirane taken on 8 October 2012 with Goshikinuma Pond in the foreground. Courtesy of futurelight(*busy*) on Flickr.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), after the massive 11 March 2011 MW 9.03 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku (38.297°N, 142.372°E), seismicity briefly increased 5-10 km E and SE of Nikko-Shirane at a depth of about 5 km W and NW. On 9 April 2011, an M 3.5 earthquake occurred about 5 km W of the summit, followed by several aftershocks. On JMA's earthquake intensity scale, the M 3.5 earthquake ranged from 1 (felt slightly by some people in quiet environments) to 3 (felt by most people in buildings and some people walking; many people awoken). (JMA's earthquake intensity scale is explained on their website.)

In May, two small earthquakes occurred NW of the volcano. Afterward, seismicity gradually declined through December 2011, although several additional small earthquakes through September 2011 were felt in nearby Nikko city, about 4-5 km E of the summit. No volcanic tremor or fumaroles were observed. No changes were also noted during a 2 November 2011 field survey.

The next JMA-translated report on Nikko-Shirane, in February 2013, noted that volcanic seismicity remained low. However, on 25 February an M 6.3 earthquake occurred, the hypocenter of which was 10 km NNE of the summit and 3 km below sea level. The earthquake's maximum seismic intensity on JMA's scale was 5+ in Nikko City (scale of 5 indicates that many people find it hard to move and walking is difficult). Aftershocks with maximum seismic intensities between 1 and 4 on the JMA scale continued until 28 February, when seismicity declined. This seismicity was not accompanied by volcanic tremor, fumarolic activity, crustal deformation, or any other volcanic activity.

Information Contact: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1 3 4, Chiyoda ku Tokyo 100 8122, Japan (URL:

Nikko-Shiranesan is a relatively small, 2578-m-high andesitic volcano consisting of a group of four lava domes resting on a shield volcano that rises to the NW of scenic Lake Chuzenji in Nikko National Park. All historical eruptions, recorded during the 17th-20th centuries, have consisted of phreatic explosions from Shiranesan, the youngest lava dome. Viscous lava flows with prominent levees from the underlying shield volcano Keizukayama were responsible for the formation of several scenic lakes north of the volcano.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1952 Jul 1952 Sep Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Shirane-san
1890 Aug 22 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Shirane-san
1889 Dec 4 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Shirane-san (west flank)
1873 Mar 12 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Shirane-san
1872 May 14 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Shirane-san (SW flank)
[ 1871 Apr ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Shirane-san
1649 Feb Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Shirane-san
1625 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Shirane-san
0800 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Nks-1 tephra
0400 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Nks-2 tephra
2000 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Nks-3 tephra
4150 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Nks-4 tephra

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Nikko-Sirane | Ara-yama | Nyotai-san | Nikko-Shirane

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Keizuka-yama Shield volcano 1885 m

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Konsei-zan Dome 2242 m
Dome 2578 m
Zazen-yama Dome 2320 m
Nikko-Shirane is a relatively small volcano consisting of a group of four lava domes resting on a shield volcano in Nikko National Park. The summit lava dome, cut by an E-W-trending fissure, is seen here from Mae-Shirane, east of the summit. Goshiki-numa forms the depression between Shirane and Mae-Shirane. All historical eruptions, from the 17th-19th centuries, have consisted of phreatic explosions from Shirane-san, the youngest lava dome.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1964 (Smithsonian Institution).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Japan Meteorological Agency, 1996. National Catalogue of the Active Volcanoes in Japan (second edition). Tokyo: Japan Meteorological Agency, 502 p (in Japanese).

Japan Meteorological Agency, 2013. National Catalogue of the Active Volcanoes in Japan (fourth edition, English version). Japan Meteorological Agency.

Kudo T, Hoshizumi H, 2006-. Catalog of eruptive events within the last 10,000 years in Japan, database of Japanese active volcanoes. Geol Surv Japan, AIST,

Kuno H, 1962. Japan, Taiwan and Marianas. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 11: 1-332.

Nakano S, Yamamoto T, Iwaya T, Itoh J, Takada A, 2001-. Quaternary Volcanoes of Japan. Geol Surv Japan, AIST,

Suzuki T, 1996. Discharge rates of fallout tephra and frequency of plinian eruptions during the last 400,000 years in the southern Northeast Japan arc. Quat Internatl, 34-36: 79-87.

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Nikko-Shiranesan Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.