Report on Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — 29 January-4 February 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 January-4 February 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, 29 January-4 February 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that at 0521 on 3 February an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater rim, based on satellite images, and ejected material 600 m away from the crater. A pyroclastic flow traveled about 900 m SW, the first one recorded since 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the northern part of neighboring Yakushima Island (a large amount in Miyanoura, 32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. According to a news article the eruption caused one flight to be diverted and one to be cancelled. The Alert Level remained at 3 (the middle level on a scale of 1-5).
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.