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Report on Asosan (Japan) — 8 January-14 January 2014


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 January-14 January 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Asosan (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 January-14 January 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (8 January-14 January 2014)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On 27 December 2013 JMA raised the Alert Level for Aso to 2 (on a scale of 1-5) because volcanic tremor amplitude had been increasing since 20 December. However, on 2 January 2014 the amplitude rapidly decreased. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 1,200 tons per day during 2-9 January and 1,500 tons on 10 January. Volcanic tremor amplitude increased between 0800 and 1900 on 12 January. At 1215 on 13 January a very small eruption from Naka-dake Crater generated a grayish white plume that rose 600 m and drifted S, producing ashfall downwind.

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.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)