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Report on Aira (Japan) — October 1993


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 10 (October 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Aira (Japan) Explosions resume after 201 explosion-free days

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Aira (Japan) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199310-282080



31.5772°N, 130.6589°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During September, a white plume weakly rose ~200 m above the crater, similar to the plume observed in July and August. A small amount of ash was contained in the steam plume in late September. Seismicity and volcanic activity remained low through mid-October. Volcanic activity resumed on 20 October when non-explosive eruptions ejected ash 2.1 km above the crater.

An explosive eruption on 26 October ended the sequence of 201 explosion-free days, the second longest quiet period since the current eruption began in 1955. The longest such period lasted for 307 days, from April 1971 until March 1972. Eight more explosions had occurred by 13 November, bringing the total number of explosions in 1993 to 65. The last explosion, on 10 November, ejected ash up to 1.4 km. No damage was caused by any of the eruptions. Earthquake swarms on 5 and 9 November lasted 8 and 13 hours, respectively.

Geological Summary. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim and built an island that was joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent eruptions since the 8th century have deposited ash on the city of Kagoshima, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest recorded eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: JMA.