Report on Aira (Japan) — 12 March-18 March 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
12 March-18 March 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 March-18 March 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that during 10-14 March two explosions from Showa Crater at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano ejected tephra as far as 1,300 m. Incandescence from the crater was detected at night. Volcanologists conducting a field survey on 10 March noted that sulfur dioxide emissions were 190 tons per day, lower than the 1,900 tons per day they measured on 4 March. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).
The Tokyo VAAC reported explosions during 12 and 15-17 March. On 12 March pilots observed ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.2-1.8 km (4,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. During 15-18 March plumes rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.7 km (6,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E, SE, and S. Pilots observed ash plumes drifting SE at an altitude of 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l. on 16 March, and drifting SE at an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. on 18 March.
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.