Report on Aira (Japan) — 25 January-31 January 2023
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
25 January-31 January 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Aira (Japan). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 January-31 January 2023. 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 ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 23-30 January and crater incandescence was visible nightly. Two explosions were recorded on 24 January, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation. Sulfur dioxide emissions were high at 2,800 tons per day on 26 January. An explosion at 2342 on 28 January produced an ash plume that rose 2.2 km above the crater rim and ejected large blocks as far as 700 m from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.
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.