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  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 37.601°N
  • 140.072°E

  • 1816 m
    5956 ft

  • 283160
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Bandaisan.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Bandaisan.

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.

06/1987 (SEAN 12:06) Earthquake swarm

11/1988 (SEAN 13:11) Increased seismicity

08/2000 (BGVN 25:08) Unprecedented increase in seismicity during 14-16 August

09/2012 (BGVN 37:09) Mild, 45-second volcanic tremor in June 2012

Contents of Monthly Reports

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

06/1987 (SEAN 12:06) Earthquake swarm

An earthquake swarm began 16 June, with 155 events recorded that day by the seismograph 2 km SSE of the summit (table 1). Epicenters were mainly concentrated 10 km SW. Seismicity decreased to <5 events/day by the end of June.

Table 1. Daily number of felt earthquakes at Wakamatsu Observatory, 10 km W of the epicentral area of the Bandai swarm, June 1987.

    Felt Events

    16 June        7
    17 June        2
    18 June        1
    21 June        2
    23 June        2

Information Contact: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

11/1988 (SEAN 13:11) Increased seismicity

Seismicity increased toward the end of November. A total of 188 events were recorded by the seismometer 1.8 km NNW of the summit, up sharply from the background level of ~20/month (figure 1).

Figure 1. Monthly number of recorded earthquakes at Bandai, 1965-88. Courtesy of JMA.

Information Contacts: JMA; AP; UPI.

08/2000 (BGVN 25:08) Unprecedented increase in seismicity during 14-16 August

The last increase in seismicity at Bandai (located in the Fukushima prefecture about 20 km N of Tokyo) occurred in November 1988 (SEAN 13:11) when a total of 188 seismic events was recorded, up sharply from the background level of ~20 events/month. In contrast, at the same site up to 416 seismic events were recorded in one day when seismicity increased during 14-16 August 2000.

On the afternoon of 16 August the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a volcano advisory for Bandai. An abnormally high number of earthquakes, including felt earthquakes and volcanic tremor, was recorded at the A site seismometer 1.8 km SSE of the summit. The increase began on 14 August when 179 seismic events were recorded; this was the greatest seismicity to occur at the volcano since seismic monitoring began in 1965. On 14 August two of the four M 2 earthquakes that occurred were felt, and a volcanic tremor event lasted for 31 seconds. On 15 August the level of seismicity increased to 416 events, and two volcanic-tremor events lasted 40 and 55 seconds, respectively. At 2304 on 15 August a M 2.9 earthquake occurred, which was the largest event in the series. As of 1400 on 16 August there were 41 events. On 18 August a climbing ban was placed on the volcano. Due to the abnormally high level of seismicity, scientists monitored closely for signs of an impending eruption. Scientists observed no large change in GPS data or images from the monitoring camera. On 28 September officials lifted the climbing ban but warned climbers that an eruption could still occur.

Information Contacts: Volcano Research Center - Earthquake Research Institute (VRC-ERI), University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0032 Japan (Email:, URL:; Maki Kazuo, JMA-Sendai, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan (Email:; The Japan Times.

09/2012 (BGVN 37:09) Mild, 45-second volcanic tremor in June 2012

Our previous report on Bandai (also called Bandai-san) discussed a significant increase in seismicity during 14-16 August 2000 (BGVN 25:08). However, no eruption resulted and no large change in GPS data was noted. The volcano is located in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, about 220 km N of Tokyo (figure 2). This report notes that volcanic tremor was recorded in June 2012.

Figure 2. A map of the major volcanoes of Japan. Bandai is just N of Tokyo. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Recent monthly reports of volcanic activity from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), translated into English, resumed in October 2010; the only recent report on Bandai was in June 2012. Thus, in this report, we lack JMA reports between January 2005 and May 2012 and only summarize activity during June 2012.

According to JMA, on 25 June 2012 volcanic tremor with a duration of 45 seconds was recorded, the first since 9 June 2009. No change in volcanic earthquakes, ground deformation, or fumarolic activity was observed. Volcanic earthquakes have remained at a low level at least through September 2012. A camera located at Kengamine (~7 km N of the summit) showed that gas emissions remained low, rising less than 100 m in height.

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

One of Japan's most noted volcanoes, Bandaisan rises above the north shore of Lake Inawashiro. This complex is formed of several overlapping andesitic stratovolcanoes, the largest of which is Obandai. Kobandai volcano, which collapsed in 1888, was formed about 50,000 years ago. Obandai volcano was constructed within a horseshoe-shaped caldera that formed about 40,000 years when an older volcano collapsed, forming the Okinajima debris avalanche, which traveled to the SW and was accompanied by a plinian explosive eruption. The last magmatic eruption took place more than 25,000 years ago, but four major phreatic eruptions have occurred during the past 5000 years, two of them in historical time, in 806 and 1888. Seen from the south, Bandaisan presents a conical profile, but much of the north side of the volcano is missing as a result of the collapse of Ko-Bandai volcano during the 1888 eruption, in which a debris avalanche buried several villages and formed several large lakes.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1888 Jul 15 1888 Jul 15 Confirmed 4 Historical Observations Kobandai, RE1 tephra
1808 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Numanotaira
1787 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1767 ± 16 years ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Mt. Hanzawa (Bandai foothills)
[ 1719 (in or before) ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
[ 1611 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
0806 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations O-Bandai, RE2 tephra
0550 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Numanotaira, RE3 tephra
1800 BCE ± 1250 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Numanotaira, RE4 tephra
3850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology HA-1.5 tephra
4650 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology HA-1.6 tephra
5050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology HA-1.7 tephra
6350 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology HA-1.8 tephra
7450 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology HA-2.01 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.

Bandai-san | Aizu-Fuji | Aizu-yama | Bandai

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Akahani-yama Stratovolcano 1427 m
Kobandai Stratovolcano 1600 m
Stratovolcano 1636 m
Maruyama Cone 1359 m
Obandai Stratovolcano 1819 m

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Numanotaira Crater 1400 m
Lake Hibara in the distance was created in 1888 when collapse of Ko-Bandai volcano produced a massive debris avalanche that traveled 11 km, nearly to the far end of the lake. The forested ground in front of the lake and the islands in the lake are part of the debris-avalanche deposit. The steep wall in the foreground is part of the back headwall of the avalanche scarp.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (Smithsonian Institution).
Collapse of the summit of Ko-Bandai peak during a strong phreatic eruption at Bandai volcano in 1888 created the 1.5 x 2 km horseshoe-shaped caldera that is seen here. The pond in the foreground was formed on the irregular surface of a 1.5 cu km debris-avalanche deposit. The avalanche buried several villages and blocked river drainages, forming several new lakes. Ashfall from the eruption reached the Pacific coast of Honshu.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (Smithsonian Institution).
The steep escarpment at the right is the eastern rim of a horseshoe-shaped caldera created by the 1888 collapse of Ko-Bandai, one of a group of stratovolcanoes forming Bandai volcano. The two lakes in the distance, Onogawa (left) and Akimoto (right) were created when the resulting debris avalanche blocked river drainages. The caldera walls reveal the pre-failure structure of Ko-Bandai volcano, which consisted of a large pyroclastic core overlain by a thick veneer of lava flows.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (Smithsonian Institution).
One of Japan's most noted volcanoes, Bandai-san rises above rice fields north of Lake Inawashiro. Seen from this direction, Bandai has a conical profile, but much of the north side of the volcano is missing, leaving a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the north. This crater formed as a result of the 1888 collapse of Ko-Bandai volcano, north of the principal summit of O-Bandai, seen here. Akahani-yama (extreme right) is another Bandai stratovolcano. The forested ridge at the left foreground is part of an earlier Pleistocene debris-avalanche deposit.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (Smithsonian Institution).
This massive boulder (top photo) was carried down the Biwasawa valley on the east side of Bandai volcano in a mudflow during an eruption in 1888. The mudflow deposit covers the broad floor of the Nagase valley. In addition to this mudflow, the 1888 eruption included a pyroclastic flow on the east side and catastrophic debris avalanche that swept over villages to the north of the volcano. The bottom photo is taken from the same location a century later. The identical boulder now forms part of the landscaping of a house in the town of Inawashiro.

Top photo by Fukushima Minposha Newspaper, 1888; bottom photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (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.

Mimura K, Endo H, 1997. Repeated collapse and reconstruction of Bandai volcano as revealed in the large outcrop of debris deposits on the southwest foot. Bull Volc Soc Japan (Kazan), 42: 3321-330 (in Japanese with English abs).

Murayama I, 1987. Volcanoes of Japan (I). Tokyo: Daimedo, 315 p (2nd edition, in Japanese).

Nakamura Y, 1978. Geology and petrology of Bandai and Nekoma volcanoes. Tokyo Univ Sci Rpt, 14: 67-119.

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

Sekiya S, Kikuchi Y, 1889. The eruption of Bandai-san. J College Sci Imperial Univ Japan, 3: 91-172.

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.

Yamamoto T, Nakamura Y, Glicken H, 1999. Pyroclastic density currents from the 1888 phreatic eruption of Bandai volcano, NE Japan. J Volc Geotherm Res, 90: 191-207.

Yamamoto T, Suto S, 1996. Eruptive history of Bandai volcano, NE Japan, based on tephrastratigraphy. Bull Geol Surv Japan, 47: 335-359 (in Japanese with English abs).

Yamawaki T, Tanaka S, Ueki S, Hamaguchi H, Nakamichi H, Nishimura T, Oikawa J, Tsutsui T, Nishi K, Shimizu H, Yamaguchi S, Miyamachi H, Yamasato H, Hayashi Y, 2004. Three-dimensional P-wave velocity structure of Bandai volcano in northeastern Japan inferred from active seismic survey. J Volc Geotherm Res, 138: 267-282.

Volcano Types


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 Bandaisan 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.