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Report on Aira (Japan) — May 1982


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 5 (May 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Aira (Japan) Incandescent tephra, ashfall

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Aira (Japan) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198205-282080



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The number of recorded explosions from the summit crater of Minami-dake was 24 in May. After mid-May, most explosions ejected incandescent tephra, but no damage was reported. In late May activity gradually changed to continuous ash ejection without recorded explosions. Wind carried ash toward the W, causing heavy ashfall in and around the city of Kagoshima, on 25-26 May. The explosion on 19 May, at 0727, produced an eruption column higher that 2,500 m and was associated with 30 seconds of rumbling. Incandescent columns were observed on several occasions: 400 m high for 8 seconds on 4 May; 200 m high for 3 seconds on 5 May and for 5 seconds on 24 May.

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: JMA, Tokyo.