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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
White steam plumes were observed during the past week. JMA reports seismic activity remained low, but maintains alert level 3, as sudden phreatic explosions could occur again. [more]
Steam plume from Aso's Nakadake crater this morning
The strombolian eruption continues from Nakadake crater. ... [more]
Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014
Japanese authorities raised the alert level of the Tokachidake volcano to 2, as signs of volcanic unrest have recently increased. An access restriction is in place of 1 km radius around the crater left by the violent eruption in 1962 ("62-2 crater"). ... [more]
Strong, lava-rich explosion of Sakurajima on Friday
Monday, Dec 15, 2014
The volcano has been relatively active recently. Lava-rich explosions can often be seen even on webcams as the screenshot from an explosion on Friday shows. (see timelapse on facebook / Sakurajima volcano 桜島昭和火口) [more]
Ash emission from Aso's Nakadake crater
Friday, Dec 12, 2014
Strombolian activity and low ash emissions are near continuous at the Nakadake crater. [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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