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Report on Aira (Japan) — June 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 6 (June 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Aira (Japan) Explosive activity continues, but at decreased levels in June

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Aira (Japan) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199606-282080



31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption on 16 May sent an ash plume 3,500 m above the summit, to ~4,600 m altitude (BGVN 21:05). This higher than usual ash plume was estimated at 4,880 m altitude in aviation notices from Tokyo. However, the eruption was not detected on GMS satellite imagery. Ths Volcano Research Center also noted that this explosion threw large cinders to 2 km NW of the crater.

According to the Sakura-jima Volcanological Observatory (SVO), Kyoto University, since March there has been a decrease in the amount of air-fall tephra, the frequency of explosions, and earthquakes (including BL, surface, and shallow types).

The Japanese Meterological Agency reported that Minami-dake crater produced four explosive eruptions during June. The highest ash plume of the month rose 900 m above the crater on 22 June. Ashfall measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Station, 10 km from the crater, was 1 g/m2. The seismic station 2.3 km NW of the crater recorded 118 earthquakes and 63 tremors through 29 June. High seismicity began around 0800 on 30 June; 349 earthquakes were recorded that day, bringing the monthly total to 467.

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 Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA; Volcanological Division, Japan Meteorological Agency, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan.