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News & updates
Small explosion at Sakurajima this morning
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016
It seems that the volcano is back to its typical activity of intermittent explosions at irregular intervals mostly ranging between few hours or even days. Following the explosion on 5 Feb, several others, mostly weaker ones, have occurred during the past days. Ash plumes recorded rose to 5-10,000 ft (1.5-3 km) altitude. ... [more]
Eruption of Sakurajima volcano this morning (NHK)
Friday, Feb 05, 2016
After several months of unusual calm, the volcano had a moderately strong vulcanian explosion from the Showa crater this morning. An ash plume rose to approx. 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude. ... [more]
Nishimashima island seen from the air on 19 Jan 2016 (Japan Coast Guard)
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016
An aerial survey on 19 Jan showed that no activity occurred recently. The eruption can now be regarded as over. [more]
Nishinoshima island as of 27 Dec 2015 (Japan coast guard)
Wednesday, Jan 13, 2016
The eruption seems to have ended in mid December. During the past two visits of the Japanese Coast Guard on 27 Dec and 3 Jan 2016, no more eruptive activity has been noted. ... [more]
Thermal imagery and photo of the new fumarole field at Kirishima (JMA)
Wednesday, Dec 16, 2015
New fumaroles have been detected on the SW flank of the Iozan Ebino crater and a strong sulfur smell was reported. ... [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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