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Report on Asosan (Japan) — November 1992


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 11 (November 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Asosan (Japan) Renewed block ejection; gas plume

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Asosan (Japan) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199211-282110



32.8849°N, 131.085°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

No eruptions have been observed since a brief episode on 26 October from Crater 1. Ejections of mud, blocks, and water to 30 m height continued n the crater lake through November. Steam was steadily emitted to 500 m, reaching 1 km on 27 November (figure 22). Volcanic tremor and earthquake activity ere low. The area within 1 km of the crater . . . was re-opened on 12 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Steam-plume heights from Aso, May 1991-13 December 1992. Arrows mark explosive episodes. Courtesy of JMA.

Surface activity increased in December. Continuous low rumblings were heard beginning on 1 December, and on the 3rd, blocks were ejected to 200 m from the crater floor. An area of 1-km radius was again closed at 1400 on 3 December. Observations the following day revealed that a new vent (named 921) about 5 m across had developed in the central part of the crater floor, producing flames 10 m high and ejecting incandescent blocks to 5 m height. The ejections continued the next day, but activity was unconfirmed after 6 December. The continuous steam plume included minor ash 4-7 December but was white again on the 8th. The highest steam plume rose 1 km on 5 December but the plume was only a few hundred meters high after the 6th. Seismicity was relatively low, unchanged from November.

Geological Summary. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

Information Contacts: JMA.