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Report on Aira (Japan) — March 1982


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 3 (March 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Aira (Japan) Frequent explosions; B-type earthquakes

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Aira (Japan) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198203-282080



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The rate of explosions from the summit crater of Minami-dake declined in early and mid-February, then increased late in the month. Frequent explosions continued through March. Recorded explosions numbered 15 in February, 47 in March.

On 26 February, an explosion at 1044 produced a 1,600-m-high eruption column, then a continuous ash cloud was observed until 1150, and from 1430 until sunset ended visual observation from the JMA's Kagoshima Observatory. A 1,500-m-high eruption column was ejected at 1731. On 28 February a continuous ash cloud was observed 0620-1230, and three explosions were recorded the next day. On 24 March a 100-m-high incandescent column was observed for 15 seconds, and on the 28th a 200-m-high incandescent column lasting 30 seconds was accompanied by rumbling. Local seismicity was active in the first half of February, when explosive activity had declined. JMA scientists have observed that a swarm of B-type earthquakes, which they interpret as possibly caused by magma rising to a shallower depth, is often followed by increased explosive activity. In March local seismic events and continuous ash clouds were frequently observed, but only rarely did an explosion with a large amount of ejecta occur. There was some damage to nearby farm products.

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, Tokyo.