News & updates
Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014
The island continues to grow as lava flows slowly spread into several directions. This is shown nicely by the latest aerial survey pictures the Japanese Coast guard took on 28 Feb. The most active flow fronts are currently at the southern shore while advance on the northern and eastern margins of the flow field has slowed down. ... [more]
Monday, Feb 24, 2014
Activity has been higher today. The volcano had several smaller explosions today. Plumes rose to altitudes of approx 2,000 ft (1.8 km). [more]
Sunday, Feb 23, 2014
The volcano has increasingly strong explosions. A vulcanian eruption this evening around 23:10 local time (see video) produced an ash column rising approx 3 km and was accompanied by abundant eruption lightning and ejections of lots of incandescent material. Constant ash emissions constant ash emissions (probably from deep-seated strombolian activity) has been following the explosion. ... [more]
Activity has declined a lot over the past weeks. Sporadic smaller explosion still occur from time to time, such as this morning at around 11am (local time): ... [more]
Friday, Feb 21, 2014
The island continues to grow by progressing lava flows into several directions, as the latest images by the Japanese Coast Guard from 16 Feb show. Its highest peak, formed by the western of the 2 active vents, was measured at 66 m, i.e. it now reached almost twice the height of the peak of the old island. The new addition has more than doubled the size of the island so far. ... [more]
Volcanoes of Japan (118 volcanoes)
Hokkaido (20 volcanoes): Oshima-Oshima | E-san | Komaga-take | Nigorigawa | Kuttara | Usu | Shikotsu | Shiribetsu | Yotei | Niseko | Shikaribetsu | Akan | Tokachi | Nipesotsu-Maruyama | Mashu | Kutcharo | Daisetsu | Rausu | Shiretoko-Iwo-zan | Rishiri
Honshu (47 volcanoes): Mutsu-Hiuchi-dake | Hakkoda | Iwaki | Towada | Osore-yama | Akita-Yake-yama | Hachimantai | Megata | Kanpu | Iwate | Akita-Komaga-take | Chokai | Kurikoma | Onikobe | Narugo | Hijiori | Zao | Azuma | Adatara | Bandai | Numazawa | Nasu | Hiuchi | Niigata-Yake-yama | Takahara | Myoko | Nikko-Shirane | Omanago | Nantai | Shiga | Kusatsu-Shirane | Tate-yama | Akagi | Haruna | Washiba-Kumonotaira | Asama | Yake-dake | Oki-Dogo | Haku-san | Norikura | Kita Yatsuga-take | On-take | Mt Fuji | Hakone | Sanbe | Izu-Tobu | Abu
Kyushu (9 volcanoes): Tsurumi | Kuju | Aso | Unzen | Fukue-jima | Kirishima | Sumiyoshi-ike | Sakurajima | Ibusuku
Izu Islands (17 volcanoes): Oshima | To-shima | Nii-jima | Kozu-shima | Miyake-shima | Mikura-jima | Kurose Hole | Hachijo-jima | Aoga-shima | Myojin Knoll | Bayonnaise Rocks | Smith Rock | Tori-shima | Sofugan | Suiyo | Mokuyo | Doyo
Ryukyu Islands (10 volcanoes): Kikai | Kuchinoerabu-jima | Kuchino-shima | Kogaja-jima | Nakano-shima | Suwanose-jima | Akuseki-jima | Yokoate-jima | Iwo-Tori-shima | Iriomote-jima
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).