Report on Aira (Japan) — 2 August-8 August 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 August-8 August 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Aira (Japan) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 August-8 August 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
31.5772°N, 130.6589°E; summit elev. 1117 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported ongoing activity at both Minamidake Crater and Showa Crater (Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 31 July-7 August. Nighttime incandescence at Minamidake was occasionally observed. Sulfur dioxide emissions measured during a field visit on 3 August averaged 1,800 tons per day. An eruptive event at Showa at 0542 on 4 August produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and drifted N, and ejected blocks 400 m from the crater. An explosion at the same crater at 2150 produced an ash plume that rose 2.3 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, and ejected blocks as far as 800 m from the vent. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and the public was warned to stay 2 km away from both craters.
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 caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim and built an island that was joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent eruptions since the 8th century have deposited ash on the city of Kagoshima, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest recorded eruption took place during 1471-76.