Report on Suwanosejima (Japan) — 1 March-7 March 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 March-7 March 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Suwanosejima (Japan) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 March-7 March 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that the number of explosions at Suwanosejima's Ontake Crater began to increase on 2 February and further increased on 2 March. Activity intensified and a total of 25 explosions were recorded during 1-5 March. Ash plumes rose as high as 1.4 km above the crater rim and large blocks were ejected as far as 500 m from the vent. Crater incandescence was visible at night. Occasional ashfall and rumbling noises were reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW). Since large blocks could be ejected further than the restricted zone of 1 km, JMA raised the Alert Level to 3 (on a 5-level scale) at 0640 on 5 March and warned the public to stay 2 km away from the crater. Explosions continued during 5-7 March. Ash plumes rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim and large blocks were ejected as far as 500 m.
Geological Summary. The 8-km-long island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. One of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, it was in a state of intermittent Strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, between 1949 and 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest recorded eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed, forming a large debris avalanche and creating the open Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.