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400 explosions and counting!

November 7, 2009

Many thanks to Wes for passing on information that “explosive eruptions” at Sakurajima passed the 400 mark earlier this week: should Kagoshima start preparing for the big one?!

As the article states, this year has seen the greatest number of explosions for 24 years and activity is very similar to that which preceded the large Showa eruption in 1946. That time lava spewed out from the Showa crater covering much of the eastern flank of the volcano. If this were to happen again, well dear visitors of Kagoshima, you’re in for a treat! Despite damage to local agriculture – and there is a farmer who currently grows broad beans in that vicinity – the prospect of viewing live lava flows would provide a huge boost to local tourism.

However, if explosivity was to increase…

Sakurajima from space (NASA Earth Observatory, via the Eruptions blog)

A recent image of Sakurajima from space (NASA Earth Observatory, via the Eruptions blog). Spot the ash plume in the centre, although much of the haze is from the Asian continent.

Elsewhere, JMA have also published a nice report on their website (in Japanese). The ever-changing colour of the lake at Naka-Dake (中岳), Mount Aso (阿蘇山) has always lured volcanologists, but recent pictures also show a red glow to the side of the crater:

Naka-dake (中岳) crater and area of red glow (from JMA)

Naka-dake crater, Aso and area of red glow (from JMA)

Red glow at Naka-Dake (JMA)

Red glow at side of Naka-Dake crater (from JMA)

What this means I do not know, but there are around nine craters up at Naka-dake and the magma source has shifted activity from one to the next over the years. One outrageous suggestion could be that this is the start of a new shift? We shall have to see – for now the activity remains ‘normal’ and no doubt the glow will provide an extra attraction for the bus tour groups that continue to ride the horrible tarmac all the way to the top.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2009 6:58 am

    Thanks for this warning: I’m glad that I left Sakurajima well alone on this year’s trip ….

  2. March 4, 2010 9:21 pm

    Is this blog extinct? Or what?

  3. tsubakuro permalink
    July 24, 2010 12:01 pm

    This looks like a very interesting blog. I got to know about it from Hana’s site. The latest post is a bit dated. Any new posts coming anytime soon?

  4. May 29, 2018 12:11 am

    Though this post is old, it was very exciting to read this. Volcanos of Japan are really interesting. Thanks for sharing the experience.

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