Report on Asosan (Japan) — 17 November-23 November 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
17 November-23 November 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Asosan (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 November-23 November 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA lowered the Alert Level for Asosan to 2 (on a scale of 1-5) at 1100 on 18 November and decreased the restricted area to a radius of 1 km, noting that no eruptions had been recorded since the 21 October eruption. The sulfur dioxide emission rate remained elevated in November and was 2,100 tons per day on 16 November. The amplitudes of volcanic microtremors fluctuated for a period after the eruption, though they were generally small beginning on 1 November.
Geological Summary. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.