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Ash plume from an explosion at Suwanose-jima volcano (Tokara Islands, Japan)
Sunday, Aug 31, 2014
The volcano has entered a more active phase again. Several (strombolian-type) explosions and phases of constant ash venting have occurred since yesterday, producing ash plumes of 1-2 km height. [more]
The activity has picked up significantly at the volcano. During the past 30 hours, at least 10 vulcanian-type explosions were recorded. Some of them produced ash plumes rising to 13,000 ft (4 km) altitude, i.e. approx. 3 km above the volcano's Showa crater. [more]
Steam plume with possibly some ash from Aso-san volcano (Jpaan) this morning
A small eruption at the volcano was reported from Tokyo VAAC this morning. An ash plume rose to approx. 6,000 ft (1.8 km) altitude. [more]
View of the Nishino-Shima island from the west on 26 Aug (Japanese Coast Guard)
The island remains active and continues to grow as lava flows add new land to it. The Japanese Coast Guard made another survey flight on 26 August and observed ongoing effusive and explosive activity in the main crater. ... [more]
Thursday, Aug 21, 2014
JMA reported that during 8-15 August volcanic earthquakes continued at Kusatsu-Shiranesan’s crater, although they had decreased from early August and tremor was absent. The Alert Level remains at 2 (on a scale of 1-5). ... [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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