Report on Suwanosejima (Japan) — 15 December-21 December 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 December-21 December 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Suwanosejima (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 December-21 December 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that crater incandescence at Suwanosejima's Ontake Crater was visible nightly during 13-20 December. The number of explosions increased on 15 December; there were 152 explosions during 13-17 December. Eruption plumes rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater rim and bombs were ejected 800 m from the vent. There were 288 explosions recorded during 17-20 December. Resulting plumes rose as high as 1.9 km above the crater rim and bombs were ejected as far as 800 m from the vent. The Alert Level remained at 3 and the public was warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.
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.