Increased activity continues at Sakurajima volcano, Japan

Increased activity continues at Sakurajima volcano, Japan

Explosive eruption continues at Sakurajima volcano, with moderate to strong explosions on December 9 and 10 becoming nearly continuous.

An explosion at 19:30 UTC on December 9, produced a volcanic ash column up to 3.6 km (12 000 feet) above sea level, extending east.

After a few months of low-level activity, a strong explosion took place at Japan's Sakurajima volcano at 02:55 UTC on December 2, 2020.

Sakurajima's Volcanic Alert Level remains at 3 (do not approach the volcano) since February 5, 2016.

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 the formation of the 17 x 23 km (10.5 x 14.3 miles) 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 4 850 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 (5 miles) from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76. (GVP)

Featured image credit: Volcano Time-Lapse


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