Report on Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — 22 January-28 January 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 January-28 January 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Kuchinoerabujima (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 January-28 January 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Very small eruptive events recorded at Kuchinoerabujima on 20, 23, and 24 January produced grayish-white plumes that rose 500 m above the crater rim. Ashfall 2 km NE of the crater was confirmed during aerial observations on 23 January. The number of volcanic earthquakes increased during 25-26 January. An eruptive event was recorded at 0148 on 27 January, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation; volcanic tremor, changes in tilt data, and infrasound signals accompanied the event. Sulfur dioxide gas emissions were 200-1,000 tons per day during 20-27 January; JMA characterized emissions of 600-1,000 tons per day as high.
Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shindake, formed after the NW side of Furudake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.