Report on Aira (Japan) — 31 May-6 June 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 May-6 June 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, 31 May-6 June 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 29 May-5 June. On 29 May sulfur dioxide emissions were high at 2,900 tons per day. Crater incandescence was observed nightly at both craters during 29 May-2 June, and very small eruptive events periodically occurred. Eruptive events at Minamidake at 0237 and 0454 on 4 June produced ash plumes that rose about 1.1 km above the crater rim. An explosion at 0012 on 5 June generated an ash plume that rose 1 km and drifted SE, and ejected blocks 500-700 m from the crater. At Showa, eruptive events at 0211, 0352, 0440, and 1436 on 5 June generated ash plumes that rose 1.3-1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SE and E, or rose straight up; blocks were ejected as far as 300 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 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.