Logo link to homepage

Report on Suwanosejima (Japan) — 9 May-15 May 2001


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
9 May-15 May 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Suwanosejima (Japan). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 May-15 May 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (9 May-15 May 2001)



29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Beginning on the morning of 9 May volcanic activity increased at Suwanose-jima when a tremor event commenced. The tremor increased at 1100 and became more violent at 2100. Around noon on 11 May an eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 1-1.5 km above the crater. The Suwanose-jima Branch of Toshima village, ~4 km NNW of the active Otake crater, reported that abundant ash fall was observed in the village on 11 May. Vigorous eruptions on the evening of 12 May and the morning of 13 May deposited up to 3 cm of ash in the village. At 0900 on 14 May the eruption seemed to have stopped. The Sakurajima Volcano Observatory reported that plumes associated with volcanic tremor events have been observed at Suwanose-jima since the new crater was formed during the December 2000 eruption.

Geological Summary. The 8-km-long island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. One of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, it was in a state of intermittent Strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, between 1949 and 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest recorded eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed, forming a large debris avalanche and creating the open Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

Sources: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Volcano Research Center-Earthquake Research Institute (University of Tokyo)