Sakurajima rains ash on Kagoshima city, Japan

Sakurajima rains ash on Kagoshima city, Japan

Another powerful eruption took place at Japan's Mount Sakurajima at 18:20 UTC on May 1, 2017 (03:20 JST, May 2). The eruption ejected ash up to 4.9 km (16 000 feet) above sea level toward Kagoshima city where it caused significant ash fall.

Sakurajima blew its top again in a spectacular fashion, Asahi Shimbun writes. "With more eruptions following, residents in the prefectural capital of Kagoshima, whose center is about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the volcano across the bay, awoke to find their outside surroundings covered in ash."

Some pedestrians wore surgical masks or opened an umbrella to avoid the falling volcanic particles, Asahi added.

According to the Tokyo VAAC, Sakurajima erupted at 18:20 UTC on May 1, sending ash up to 4.9 km (16 000 feet) but the cloud was not immediately identifiable on satellite imagery.

 

A post shared by Kensaku Nakata (@cyb3rmonk3y) on

At 02:01 UTC on April 28, a powerful explosive eruption occurred at the Showa crater of Sakurajima volcano, the first such eruption this year and the first of such strength since July 2016. According to the Tokyo VAAC, the volcanic ash cloud produced by the eruption at 02:01 UTC reached an altitude of 4.3 km (14 000 feet) above sea level and drifted southeast.

JMA maintains Level 3 (orange alert), signifying the volcano is active and should not be approached. 

Geological summary

The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km 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 Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake.

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: Sakurajima eruption on May 1, 2017. Credit: holoholo_ayami521

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