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Report on Asosan (Japan) — May 1977


Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 5 (May 1977)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Asosan (Japan) Gas emissions increase; minor tephra ejections

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1977. Report on Asosan (Japan) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 2:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197705-282110



32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Normal fumarolic activity in [Crater 1] began to increase on 31 March. Slight rumbling on 4 April was succeeded on 11 April by heavy rumbling, further increase in gas emission, and ejection of some grayish ash. On 12 April, the grayish [plume] contained many fist-sized cinders, which fell on the floor of Naka-dake's crater. Glow was seen 21 April but the [plume] had turned white and contained only a little ash. There was slight [ash] emission from the crater bottom, which had contained a small hot water pool.

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.