News & updates
Friday, Apr 18, 2014
The volcano has been unusually calm recently. No significant explosion was recorded since 12 April. [more]
A possible explosive eruption occurred this morning; VAAC detected an ash plume at estimated 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude drifting east from the volcano. This could have been caused by a stronger phreato-magmatic explosion (sea water coming in contact with magma). [more]
Monday, Apr 07, 2014
The ongoing eruption continues to add new land to the island with what seems a relatively steady effusion of lava flows. A new overflight by the Japanese Coast Guard shows that at least the second vent that appeared in late January is still active, feeding lava flows that continue to spread and currently have active fronts all along the eastern coast. ... [more]
Monday, Mar 24, 2014
The volcano has been more productive again compared to most of this year so far. During the past 48 hours, VAAC Tokyo reported 8 explosions which ejected ash plumes to maximum of 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude. [more]
Friday, Mar 07, 2014
Explosions have been becoming more frequent again. During the past 48 hours, VAAC Tokyo counted 8 eruptions of small to moderate size (ash plumes rising up to between 5-9,000 ft altitude). [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).
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