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Report on Miyakejima (Japan) — February 2001


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 26, no. 2 (February 2001)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Miyakejima (Japan) Continued high SO2 flux; volcanic tremor and eruption occur in mid-March

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Miyakejima (Japan) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 26:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200102-284040



34.094°N, 139.526°E; summit elev. 775 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Activity since October 2000 (BGVN 25:09) through 12 February 2001 has been characterized by high volumes of volcanic gas emission. Minor ashfall was reported only near the summit crater. The active crater's temperature increased to 400°C during late December 2000; slight incandescence of the crater was observed at night, but disappeared by late January 2001. Ground deformation of Miyake-jima, which began in July 2000, declined, but still continued. Seismicity was low during September 2000-early February 2001, although shallow low-frequency earthquakes occurred in late January.

During October 2000-early February 2001 the plume that rose from Miyake-jima varied in height from several hundred meters to as much as two thousand meters. The SO2 flux maintained high values in the range of ~18,000-45,000 metric tons/day during the period. An abundance of the gas was often observed around the volcano's flanks depending on weather conditions. As of early February 2001, there was no indication of any decrease in the SO2 flux.

On 16 March 2001 the largest volcanic tremor episode since 29 August 2000 was recorded at Miyake-jima. Three days later, on 19 March, an eruption produced a black ash cloud that rose 800 m above the volcano. The island has remained uninhabited since 1 September 2000 when officials ordered an evacuation due to the persistent volcanic activity that began on 26-27 June 2000 (BGVN 25:05).

Geological Summary. The circular, 8-km-wide island of Miyakejima forms a low-angle stratovolcano that rises about 1,100 m from the sea floor in the northern Izu Islands about 200 km SSW of Tokyo. The basaltic volcano is truncated by small summit calderas, one of which, 3.5 km wide, was formed during a major eruption about 2,500 years ago. Parasitic craters and vents, including maars near the coast and radially oriented fissure vents, dot the flanks of the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions have occurred since 1085 CE at vents ranging from the summit to below sea level, causing much damage on this small populated island. After a three-century-long hiatus ending in 1469, activity has been dominated by flank fissure eruptions sometimes accompanied by minor summit eruptions. A 1.6-km-wide summit caldera was slowly formed by subsidence during an eruption in 2000; by October of that year the crater floor had dropped to only 230 m above sea level.

Information Contacts: Setsuya Nakada and Hidefumi Watanabe, Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); Japan Meteorological Agency, Volcanological Division, 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); Kyodo News Agency (URL: http://home.kyodo.co.jp/).