Report on Aira (Japan) — 22 February-28 February 2023
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
22 February-28 February 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, 22 February-28 February 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 and Showa Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 13-20 February and incandescence at both craters was visible nightly. Very small eruptive events occurred at Showa Crater. Three explosions and three or four eruptive events were recorded at Minamidake Crater during the week. Volcanic plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the Minamidake Crater rim and large blocks were ejected 600-900 m from the vent. During an overflight on 21 February scientists observed white plumes rising from a vent on the N inner crater wall at Showa Crater and they noted more voluminous emissions compared to the 12 October 2022 overflight. No notable changes at Minamidake Crater were observed. At 1230 on 26 February an eruptive event at Minamidake Crater produced a plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from both craters.
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.