Report on Suwanosejima (Japan) — 17 May-23 May 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 May-23 May 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, 17 May-23 May 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 eruption at Suwanosejima's Ontake Crater continued during 15-22 May. Incandescence was visible nightly, and seismicity remained elevated during 15-19 May. On 16 May an ash plume rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and caused ashfall in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW). On 17 May, an ash plume rose to 1.1 km and drifted NW. Four eruptive events were observed during 21-23 May. On 21 May an eruptive event ejected volcanic blocks up to 200 m from the crater and produced an ash plume that rose 1.8 km above the crater and drifted E. On 22 May an ash plume rose to 1 km above the crater and drifted SE. Two eruptive events on 23 May generated ash plumes that rose 600 m above the crater and drifted SE and S. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale) and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.
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.