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Report on Aira (Japan) — 28 March-3 April 2018


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
28 March-3 April 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 March-3 April 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (28 March-3 April 2018)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

JMA reported that there were 16 events at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 26 March-2 April, 12 of which were explosive. Tephra was ejected as far as 900 m from the crater. At 1541 on 26 March an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 3.4 km above the crater rim. An explosion recorded at 0740 on 1 April produced an ash plume that rose 3 km. Crater incandescence was visible the morning of 27 March and at night during 30 March-1 April.

During 30 March-2 April there were three events at Showa crater. An event at 1611 on 1 April ejected tephra 300-500 m from the crater, and produced a very small pyroclastic flow (the first since 3 June 2016) that traveled 800 m E. A plume rose 1.7 km above the crater rim, up into weather clouds. The previous eruption at Showa crater occurred on 8 January. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

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.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)