Series of powerful explosions at Sakurajima volcano, Japan

Series of powerful explosions at Sakurajima volcano, Japan

After 13 days of weaker activity, Sakurajima volcano began to erupt more violently on November 23 with a series of powerful explosions. Near-constant ash emissions have been taking place from the Showa crater. Ash plume was sent up to 4.5 km (15 000 ft).

Latest advisory from the Tokyo VAAC, issued at 12:00 UTC today, said the eruption is still underway.

The Tokyo VAAC reported that during November 6 - 8 and 10 - 11, explosions from Sakurajima generated plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.8 - 3 km (6 000 - 10 000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NE, E, and SE. On November 8, a pilot observed an ash plume drifting at an altitude of 2.1 km (7 000 ft) a.s.l. ​

Video courtesy of VolcanoDiscovery

Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km wide Aira caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones.

The construction of Sakurajima began about 13 000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914.

Activity at the Kita-dake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minami-dake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76 (GVP).

Featured image: Tarumizu MBC webcam

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