Report on Asosan (Japan) — 13 April-19 April 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
13 April-19 April 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Asosan (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 April-19 April 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
JMA reported that no eruptions had been recorded at Asosan after the end of the last eruption in October 2021. Crater incandescence, which had been occasionally visible since December 2021, was absent beginning on 27 February. Deflation began around 27 February but stabilized in April. Observations of the crater from 17 March revealed that it had deepened, compared to pre-eruption conditions, and that water had returned. Sulfur dioxide emissions had increased to 1,600 tons per day on 25 March, but four observations made during 29 March-12 April showed values in the range of 800-1,200 tons per day. Though these values were higher than those measured in September 2021, before the eruption, they represented a decreasing trend. During a field visit on 7 April scientists observed white emissions rising from Nakadake Crater and gray pools of hot water on the crater floor. A hot spring was active on the S side of the pools. The area of the water represented about 40 percent of the crater floor and the water temperature was 71 degrees Celsius. JMA lowered the Alert Level to 1 (on a scale of 1-5) on 15 April, noting that the likelihood of an eruption affecting an area within a radius of 1 km had decreased.
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.