Report on Aira (Japan) — 3 March-9 March 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
3 March-9 March 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 March-9 March 2021. 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 1-8 March incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. An explosion at 1810 on 1 March ejected bombs 600-900 m away from the crater; an eruption plume was not confirmed. That same day the sulfur dioxide emission rate was high, at 2,900 tons per day. An explosion on 5 March produced an eruption plume that rose 2.7 km above the summit and ejected bombs 800-1,100 m away. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).
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.