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Report on Aira (Japan) — 18 October-24 October 2023


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 October-24 October 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, 18 October-24 October 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (18 October-24 October 2023)



31.5772°N, 130.6589°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

JMA reported ongoing activity at Minamidake Crater (Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 16-23 October, with incandescence at the crater observed nightly. Sulfur dioxide emissions were extremely high, averaging 4,200 tons per day on 16 October. During the week, there were a total of 11 eruptive events and 20 explosions, with a daily average of 1-5 explosions recorded during 16-21 October. Ash plumes rose as high as 3.6 km above the crater rim and drifted E, SE, and S, and large blocks were ejected as far as 1.2 km from the crater rim. A period of inflation began at around 0600 on 21 October, but ceased following an eruptive event during 0346-0430 on 24 October; the event produced an ash plume that rose 2.3 km above the crater rim and ejected large blocks 1.2 km. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and the public was 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 caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim and built an island that was joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent eruptions since the 8th century have deposited ash on the city of Kagoshima, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest recorded eruption took place during 1471-76.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)