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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 41.805°N
  • 141.166°E

  • 618 m
    2027 ft

  • 285011
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Esan.

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

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.

09/2012 (BGVN 37:09) Minor steam plumes in March 2012

Contents of Monthly Reports

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

09/2012 (BGVN 37:09) Minor steam plumes in March 2012

E-san is located in S Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s 47 prefectures (figure 1). Recent monthly reports of volcanic activity from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), translated into English, resumed in October 2010. The only recent JMA report on E-san was in March 2012. This is the first BGVN report discussing E-san.

Figure 1. A map showing a few of the major volcanoes of Japan, with their respective Alert Levels in March 2012. E-san is in the northernmost prefecture of Japan, Hokkaido. Courtesy of JMA.

According to JMA, in March 2012 steam plumes rose to heights of <100 m above the crater rim. Aerial visual and infrared observations coducted in cooperation with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation, and Tourism, and the Japan Coast Guard on 16 and 23 March, repectively, found no changes.

A small-amplitude and short-duration volcanic tremor occurred on 30 March. After that, the number of small volcanic earthquakes increased until early on 31 March. No steam plumes could be observed on 31 March due to cloud cover; however, JMA reported no change in air vibrations or crustal deformation data. Field surveys on 2 April found no change in either the steam plumes from the crater or crustal deformation (GPS).

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

Esan, a small andesitic stratovolcano capped by a 618-m-high lava dome, is Hokkaido's southernmost active volcano. Esan occupies the eastern tip of the double-pronged Oshima Peninsula across the Tsugaru Strait from Honshu. Another lava dome is located to the NW. Both the Esan lava dome, which formed about 9000 years ago, and the NW dome have been active during the Holocene. A minor phreatic eruption in 1846 produced a mudflow that caused many fatalities. The latest activity was a small eruption in 1874. Active fumaroles occur at a thermal area on the upper NW flank.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1874 Jun 8 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Es-6 tephra
1846 Nov 18 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Es-5 tephra
1350 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology NW E-san, Es-4 tephra
0550 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Es-3 tephra
1050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology NW E-san, Es-2 tephra
3900 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) NW E-san, Es-1 tephra
7050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected)

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.

A 618-m-high lava dome tops E-san, a small stratovolcano at the eastern tip of the Oshima Peninsula. E-san is Hokkaido's southernmost active volcano. A minor phreatic eruption in 1846 produced a mudflow that caused many fatalities. The latest volcanic activity at E-san was a small eruption in 1874. Active fumaroles occur at a thermal area on the upper NW flank.

Photo by Ken-ichi Arai, 1996 (Hokkaido University).

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.

Katsui Y (ed), 1971. List of the World Active Volcanoes. Volc Soc Japan draft ms, (limited circulation), 160 p.

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,

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

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
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Within 100 km

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Esan 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.