Report on Aira (Japan) — 24 May-30 May 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 May-30 May 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Aira (Japan) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 May-30 May 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 activity at both Minamidake Crater and Showa Crater (Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 22-29 May. Crater incandescence was observed nightly at Minamidake, and during 25-29 May at Showa; incandescence at Showa had not been visible since 5 March. The only eruptive event at Showa during this period was at 1125 on 22 May, when material was ejected 200-300 m from the crater and an ash plume rose 1.5 km above the crater rim. At 0610 on 24 May an explosion at Minamidake ejected material 300-500 m from the crater and generated an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted to the SW. An eruptive event at 1327 on 25 May produced an ash plume that rose 2.3 km. On 26 May two explosions (at 0647 and 1441) and an eruptive event (1311) generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.6 km and drifted N and S. The explosion at 1441 ejected blocks 500-700 m from the vent. An explosion at 1520 on 28 May ejected material 600-900 m from the crater and produced an ash plume that rose 2.3 km from the summit . 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.