29 comments on “What’s up at Sakurajima?

  1. Thanks agimarc and Mike for reminding us! Although most of us have got sort of “used” to the almost continuous eruptions of Sakurajima, we should not forget that this volcano is one of the most interesting/dangerous/beautiful on Earth and is still capable of surprising us all in a more or less or even very little enjoyable fashion!

    The weather in southern Kyushu has been horrible for the last weeks and not much could be seen of Sakurajima. Yet, yesterday I sat down in front of my webcam page with the determination to catch some activity no matter how long I would have to wait – it was no longer than 10 minutes until I was able to capture this image, through all the fog and vog billowing around the crater

    So, I guess, there is a lot going on, hope the weather will be clearing up a bit soon. I can’t say what the webcam is called, probably Sabo xxx cam, it’s one of the many on this page: http://www.qsr.mlit.go.jp/osumi/camera_sabo.htm (Google doesn’t translate the page for me). On my webcam page it is Cam No. 9 of the four live cameras. http://volcams.malinpebbles.com/pubweb/Japan2.htm The Kyoto camera (SVO 2 on my page) showed it too, but very faint, unfortunately it is not light sensitive enough for small eruptions at night.

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  2. Aaand… a new batch of NtV images is up, hopefully you find them somewhat easier! 🙂

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  3. Howdy all – asked AVO about the activity at Augustine over the weekend. Turns out there was no activity. Text of their e-mail follows:

    Saturday morning our seismometers at Augustine had some telemetry issues, and the active-looking webicorder was really showing fairly quiet seismic activity and some signal difficulties. Augustine has active fumarole fields and steaming is part of its normal background state.
    Feel free to say this on your blog, but please don’t publish my email address.
    We do try to answer all Alaska volcanism questions via the ‘contact us’ form on our website.
    Thank you,
    Cheryl

    And the AVO contact form is here: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/contact.php

    They are pretty good about responding quickly to queries. Cheers –

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      • Indeed it is, most times these days it goes like this…

        Hello, thank you for calling the Emergency Volcanic Event Contact Center, please choose one of the following options.

        To report a bit of a wobble on a seismo in your area please press 1.

        Press 2 for reports of ash fall or funny smells and you’re sure it isn’t your husband

        To report an imminent threat of eruption press 3

        If you are about to be engulfed in a pyroclastic flow from a VEI8 please redial on 0800 YR-FKINDEAD-ALRDY

        To hear these options again, press 11, thank you.

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  4. Interestingly, there has been inflation over the last few decades at the Wakamiko caldera, in the Northeast corner of the Aira caldera, beneath the bay. This is the site of a previous caldera forming eruption, and will almost certainly be the site of a future eruption. This could be devastating for Kirishima, and perhaps the entire Kagoshima prefecture, depending on how bad it is. 1.7 million live in the prefecture.

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    • This area is probably one of the highest-risk areas in the world based off population density and the propensity for a volcanic disaster (along with Italy and a few other areas). Where did you see information about the inflation in Wakamiko? Do you have any links?

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  5. TV news video (24 Horas, Peru) of the Ubinas eruption. This must be a horribly ashy affair! Some villages in the 5 km zone have been evacuated.

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    • What sort, earthquakes, tremor? Sorry, right now I can’t look it up myself, have to leave shortly. But what I have learnt about Hekla, she is never on the go, if anything, she is on the RUN! 😀

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  6. Four quakes 10 km south of Hekla this morning. between 3 and 4 km down. Nothing remarkable on tremor graph.. On the run? Well, maybe just turning around for some more sleep?

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  7. Sakurajima update: I’ve just been speaking to a friend in Japan, who has relatives in Kagoshima. They state that even locals, who live with the volcano and are usually very blasé about it, are becoming distinctly concerned. Inflation is continuing quite strongly, I’m told, and I’m trying to get more details – where exactly, how much, maybe an interferogram. Volcanologists are being fairly restrained and tight-lipped, in public at least, so far.

    Visual observations at the webcam have been difficult due to the weather over the last few days, but during those times when visibility has existed, the volcano has been in virtually continuous eruption.

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    • Thanks mike – please keep us up to date. SakuraJima / Aira is a volcano that warrants lots of concern.

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  8. Thanks!

    And just as a reference to other readers, Sakurajima has been nearing the level of inflation it had before the early 1900’s VEI-4 eruption, and that was prior to this current level of inflation (which we’re still awaiting details). Many volcanologists are expecting a decent sized explosive eruption of Sakurajima within the next 50 or so years as a result of the ongoing inflation as well as the overall history of the volcano.

    And while the frequent explosions are fun to watch on the webcam, they are not particularly large or productive. I believe the cumulative ejecta from the explosions over the past 4-5 years it not even equivalent to a VEI-2 eruption in total, so while it is degassing slightly, there isn’t as much pressure being relieved as you would perhaps think.

    Before the VEI-4 eruption in the early 1900’s, there was a lot of rapid inflation that occurred, as well as some significant earthquakes. If Sakurajima decides it wants to do more than the daily puff, it will likely become readily obvious without needing to be a volcanologist that something is “up” at the volcano.

    As for me, I find the southern Kyushu region of volcanism one of the most interesting areas in the world. It’s an area that is a developing volcanic rift in a subduction zone, with a history of large-scale caldera volcanism. And while the 5-6 caldera eruptions that have occurred have been huge, current evidence suggests that the Kagoshima graben region could still be in its infancy overall.

    The region as a whole is actually very comparable to the Taupo Volcanic Zone. They’re both active extensional regions in a subduction arc, with very thin crust, and very similar extension rates (7-8 mm/yr). Additionally, many believe slab rollback is occurring in these zones, which creates conditions for large-scale silicic volcanism.

    Call me morbid, but the thought that some time in the geological future, the people of Kyushu WILL undergo a massive volcanic disaster is a little surreal. If you lived in a city that had 10,000 nuclear warheads buried beneath the ground with a timer set to detonate at an undisclosed time within the next 5000-10,000 years, would you still choose to live there?

    Given, 10,000 years is a long period of time (and just a very rough gauge), but it’s still a weird thought, akin to knowing the future inevitable cause of your own death, just not knowing when it will occur.

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    • Just a little bit curious about the 1914 eruption; what was the evidence of inflation there? I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but instrumentation was much less advanced then -no recourse to GPS systems, for one thing- and it would surely have had to have been on a fairly large scale (like St Helens?) to be noticeable

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      • Yes, it was similar to St. Helens. I’m going off memory right now, but I believe there were a few large earthquakes, and the shoreline around the volcano became noticeably uplifted prior to eruption.

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    • Okay, I understand it’s fairly normal and in the range of more or less energetic continuous activity, but it’s still impressive to see these almost constant outbreaks, and for sure it;s a constant nuisance to the people in the area.

      Kyoto cam at 20.42 UTC.

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      • Lending weight to ebus05.s comment, it’s noticeable that the cone around Showa crater hasn’t grown dramatically in the years it has been going…come to that, the main cone didn’t see much growth despite continuous activity since 1955…

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  9. According to Jon’s blog deflation at Bardarbunga has stopped and activity is slowing down in the new hydrothermal vents that formed due to the recent activity.

    I guess that means the show is over for now, at least at Bardarbunga. Makes me wonder what is going to happen next. 😀

    Just thought I’d mention this here as well. 🙂

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