Nikko-Shiranesan

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 36.799°N
  • 139.376°E

  • 2578 m
    8456 ft

  • 283140
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: March 2013 (BGVN 38:03) Citation IconCite this Report


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 (see Caption) 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 (see Caption) 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 Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1 3 4, Chiyoda ku Tokyo 100 8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html).

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

Bulletin Reports - Index


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




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


March 2013 (BGVN 38:03) Citation IconCite this Report


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 (see Caption) 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 (see Caption) 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 Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1 3 4, Chiyoda ku Tokyo 100 8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html).

Eruptive History


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.

Photo Gallery


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).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


There are no samples for Nikko-Shiranesan in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites