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Report on Aira (Japan) — July 1992


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 7 (July 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Aira (Japan) Occasional seismically recorded explosions and frequent quiet ash emissions

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Aira (Japan) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199207-282080



31.5772°N, 130.6589°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Six explosions . . . occurred in July, but caused no damage. Although explosions detected by seismic instruments, sounds, and air shocks have been infrequent since May, 31 quiet ash emissions were seen in May, 14 in June, and 19 in July, comparable to previous months. Ground observers reported that July's highest ash cloud rose 3.5 km (to ~4.5 km altitude) on the 29th. Captain Greg Wolfsheimer (Northwest Airlines) reported that a moderately dense, light-gray cloud was rising to more than 5 km altitude when his aircraft passed Sakura-jima at 1735 that day. No volcanic earthquake swarms were recorded in July.

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.

Information Contacts: JMA; G. Wolfsheimer, Gig Harbor, WA.