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Mild explosive activity from Sakurajima today
Saturday, Jan 24, 2015
An unusually strong explosion occurred yesterday at 20:36 local time. VAAC Tokyo reported an ash plume to 16,000 ft (5 km) altitude. Today, the volcano has been much calmer with only a few smaller eruptions and phases of ash emissions. [more]
Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015
Intermittent, probably strombolian activity persists at the On-take crater. JMA reported a small explosion from the volcano yesterday, but bad weather conditions don't allow clear webcam images. [more]
Ash plume from a strombolian explosion in Aso's Nakadake crater this morning
Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015
Ash-rich strombolian activity continues from the Nakadake crater with little changes over the past weeks. [more]
Ash column from an eruption at Sakurajima yesterday
The volcano remains in a comparably active phase (compared to most of past year), producing 1-5 vulcanian explosions per day. ... [more]
Thermal Landsat 8 image of Nishino-Shima from 12 Jan 2015 (GSI via Culture Volcan)
Monday, Jan 19, 2015
The island continues to grow with lava flows, which recently have been mostly active towards the east from the main vent, while most growth during Nov-Dec had been towards the north, where a vast plateau has been built. ... [more]
Map of volcanoes in Japan (USGS)
Map of volcanoes in Japan (USGS)

Volcanoes of Japan (118 volcanoes)

Japan has over 100 active volcanoes, more than almost any other country and accounts alone for about 10 % of all active volcanoes in the world. The volcanoes belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire, caused by subduction zones of the Pacific plate beneath continental and other oceanic plates along its margins.
Japan's volcanic arcs and tectonic setting
Japan is located at the junction of 4 tectonic plates - the Pacific, Philippine, Eurasian and North American plates, and its volcanoes are mainly located on 5 subduction-zone related volcanic arcs where the Pacific Plate descends under the North American Plate along the Kuril Trench and the Japan Trench and underneath the Philippine Sea Plate along the Izu-Bonin Trench. The Philippine Plate itself subducts beneath the Eurasian Plate at the western end, forming the Ryukyu Trench. The principal resulting volcanic ars are:
- Ryukyu Arc and Southwest Honshu Arcs in the south (Philippine plate subducting beneath between the Eurasian Plate),
- Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc (subduction of Pacific plate beneath Philippine plate)
- Northeast Honshu and Kurile Arc in the north (subduction of Pacific plate beneath the N-American plate)
(more info: www.glgarcs.net/intro/subduction.html)

Besides intense volcanic activity, Japan is one of the places in the world most affected by frequent, and sometimes devastatingly large earthquakes. Its oceanic setting makes it vulnerable for tsunamis as well, as the tragedy of the 11 March 2011 8.9 earthquake and tsunami terrifyingly illustrated.

Record in historically documented eruptions
Japan's first documented historical eruption was from Aso volcano in 553 AD , the year after Buddhism was introduced from Korea. It holds a record in the number of historically documented eruptions.
Japan's largest historical eruption (Towada, 915 AD), 17 Japanese volcanoes had been documented in eruption, more than the rest of the world combined (including 10 in Europe).

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