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Weak ash plume rising from Aso's Nakadake crater this morning
Saturday, Oct 03, 2015
After the strong explosion on 14 Sep, the volcano has been rather calm, but continues to emit dilute ash plumes. The volcano remains at level 3 (out of 5) and access to the Nakadake crater closed. [more]
Glow from strombolian activity at Suwanose-jima volcano (JMA webcam on Toshima)
Thursday, Oct 01, 2015
Strombolian activity has picked up from the Ontake crater during the past week. Glow from the eruptions can often be seen from neighboring Toshima island, where one of the JMA webcams is installed. [more]
Eruption of Aso volcano this morning
Monday, Sep 14, 2015
A powerful explosion occurred this morning from the Nakadake crater, producing a dense ash cloud that collapsed into several pyroclastic flows and rose approx. 2 km above the crater. ... [more]
Eruption from Sakurajima volcano this morning
Friday, Sep 04, 2015
After 3 weeks with almost no or no significant explosions, the volcano seems to be back in its typical state of activity that has been going on for years (but been quite elevated during the past years in comparison): intermittent small to moderately sized vulcanian-type explosions from the Showa crater have resumed since 1 Sep, producing ash plumes that rose to heights of 5-9,000 ft (1.5 - 2.7 km) altitude. ... [more]
Thursday, Sep 03, 2015
The alert level was downgraded back to 3 (out of 5) last Tuesday as signs of unrest and the risk of a sudden major explosion have decreased. ... [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:

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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