Report on Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — 28 June-4 July 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 June-4 July 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 June-4 July 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The number of shallow volcanic earthquakes gradually increased at Kuchinoerabujima, with a total of 100 events recorded during 17-26 June, prompting JMA to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-5). During late on 26 June until 1834 on 27 June a total of 50 shallow volcanic earthquakes were recorded, an increased rate of events. At 1930 JMA raised the Alert Level to 3. Earthquakes continued to be recorded during the rest of the week; there were 41, 18, 9, and 9 events respectively recorded each day during 27-30 June, with most epicenters located near Furudake Crater, and some near Shindake Crater (just N of Furudake). Sulfur dioxide emissions remained at low levels and no changes were visible to the gas-and-steam emissions which rose as high as 100 m above the crater rim. No obvious changes at the geothermal area near the fissure on the W side of the Shindake were visible during daily field surveys during 28 June-1 July; weather clouds obscured views during 29-30 June. SAR radar data from 30 June revealed inflation within an area extending several hundred meters around the Furudake crater. The public was warned that ejected blocks and pyroclastic flows may impact areas within 2 km of Shindake.
Geological Summary. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.