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Report on Asosan (Japan) — December 1992


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 12 (December 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Asosan (Japan) Mud/water ejection from crater lake; steam plumes; new vent

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Asosan (Japan) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199212-282110



32.8849°N, 131.085°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

No eruptions have been observed since . . . 26 October . . . . Ejections of mud and water to 20 m height continued in the crater lake through December. Steam was steadily emitted to 500 m, reaching 1,000 m on 5 December. The steam plume contained minor ash 4-7 and 26-27 December. [Vent 921] emitted ash until 7 December, then became inactive and was no longer visible a few days later. Observations on 26 December, following an increase in rumbling the previous day, revealed that a new vent (named 922) about 30 m across had developed near the site of Vent 921, and was emitting ash and steam. Seismicity was relatively low, with tremor amplitude gradually increasing after the middle of the month. The area within 1 km of the crater, closed to the public on 3 December, was reopened on the 30th.

Geological Summary. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

Information Contacts: JMA.