Logo link to homepage

Report on Aira (Japan) — May 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 5 (May 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Aira (Japan) Explosive activity continues, decreased activity in May

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Aira (Japan) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199605-282080



31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During April, Miniami-dake crater produced 14 eruptions, including five that were explosive. Seismic station B, 2.3 km NW of Miniami-dake crater, recorded 364 earthquakes and 120 tremors. On 28 April an ash plume rose 3,500 m above the summit crater. This was the highest ash plume observed during the month. A monthly ashfall total of 8 g/m2 of ashfall was measured at the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory (KMO), 10 km W from the crater.

During May, Minami-dake crater produced one explosive eruption. Station B recorded 64 earthquakes and three tremors. The highest ash plume of May rose 3,500 m above the summit crater. The ashfall total at KMO was 6 g/m2.

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 Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan.