Intense activity at Nishinoshima volcano, summit crater extends as explosive eruptions continue, Japan


Nishinoshima has entered a period of intense volcanic activity, with frequent explosive eruptions and ash emissions observed in recent days. Its summit crater has extended in the southwest direction, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) reported on July 1, 2020

On June 12, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) recorded an ash plume up to 1 900 m (6 200 feet) above the summit, which drifted northeast.

JCG conducted flight observations days later, on June 16, reporting that explosions at the volcano generated dense ash plume up to 2 000 m (6 500 feet) above the summit.  Blocks were emitted as far as 2.5 km (1.5 miles) away from the crater.

Nishinoshima volcano, taken on June 15, 2020. Image credit: JCG

On June 25, JCG reported strong explosions again on the volcano, with dark ash plume reaching up to 2 600 m (8 500 feet) above the summit.

Volcanic ash extended about 330 km (205 miles) to the northeast.

At 18:00 UTC on June 27 (03:00 LT on June 28), JMA recorded strong eruption, with a dense dark ash plume up to 3 800 m (12 500 feet) above the crater, which drifted northeast.






Nishinoshima volcano, taken on June 29. Image credit: JCG

Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-3, Antonio Vecoli. Acquired July 1, 2020

The eruptions continued the following day as JCG confirmed active volcanic activity on June 29, noting that the central crater is extending to the southwest.

The volcano was emitting black smoke plume violently, as JCG described, reaching an altitude of more than 3 400 m (11 150 feet).

Lava flowed down the southwest coast and into the sea, it added.

Geological summary

The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previously exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since.

The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m (702 feet) of the sea surface 9 km (5.6 miles) SSE. (GVP)

Featured image credit: JCG


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  3. A really fantastic article about one of the lesser known Japanese volcanoes in the West. Great videos gathered from all different angles shows the immense seismic energy pushing the black plumes & pyroclastic flows up & out.
    This Earth is truly alive & kickin’. Grateful for your excellent reporting. (I am a follower of Dutchsinse, the only earthquake forecaster one can actually rely on! He reports volcanic eruptions when they are relevant to the waves of seismic energy that are always ongoing around this swiftly spinning planet! Check him out if you love things geophysical like volcanoes & equakes!) Again, thanks.

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