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Report on Asosan (Japan) — November 1989


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 11 (November 1989)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Asosan (Japan) Frequent tephra ejection continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1989. Report on Asosan (Japan) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 14:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198911-282110



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Eruptive episodes have been recorded on 36 days since 16 July, including 11 days in November (see table 4). Minor ash emission, without recorded explosions, occurred on most days in November, causing ashfalls around the crater. The month's ash accumulation at AWS was 1,409 g/m2. The 23 November eruptive episode, accompanied by lightning, ejected blocks to 300 m above the crater rim; blocks had begun to be thrown over the rim as recorded explosions became more frequent in mid-October. During a 24 November field survey, fist-sized blocks were seen 700 m SSW of the crater. Fieldwork on 26 November revealed that the cone on the crater floor had disappeared and the wall between craters 1 and 2 had been removed. Felt shocks of intensity I (JMA Scale) occurred on 19 and 26 November, centered under the summit crater. The number of isolated volcanic tremor episodes and the amplitude of continuous tremor, recorded by a seismograph near AWS, remained large. Rumbling was audible every day at AAWS and was strong on 4 and 25 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.