Series of powerful eruptions at Nishinoshima volcano, Japan

Series of powerful eruptions at Nishinoshima volcano, Japan

Series of powerful eruptions were recorded at Nishinoshima volcano over the past couple of days. On August 3, 2020, the Tokyo VAAC warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to 4 900 m (16 00 feet) altitude.

Volcanic activity surged in June 2020, with recurring explosions and lava flow ever since.

On July 30, Nishinoshima spewed volcanic ash plume up to 5 500 m (18 000 feet) altitude, which moved at 19 km/h (12 mph) in a southwest direction. 

Explosive activity continued into July 31 as the volcano emitted ash up to 5 800 m (19 000 feet) high, which traveled at 19 km/h (12 mph) in a southern direction.

VAAC Tokyo recorded another explosive activity on August 2, with the volcanic ash plume reaching approximately 4 900 m (16 000 feet) altitude, moving at 19 km/h (12 mph) into the western direction.

nishinoshima-july-31-2020-1

Image credit: NASA/NOAA Aqua/MODIS, Acquired July 31, 2020.

nishinoshima-2020-aug-1-a

Image credit: NASA/NOAA Aqua/MODIS, Acquired August 1, 2020.

nishinoshima-2020-aug-3-b

Image credit: NASA/NOAA Aqua/MODIS, Acquired August 3, 2020.

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: NASA/NOAA Aqua/MODIS

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