Friday, May 29, 2015

Mt Shindake volcano on Kuchinoerabu Erupts

Hot on the heels of the eruption of Mt Ontake, Japan has had another eruption from one of its many active volcanoes. Mt Shindake volcano on Kuchinoerabu island erupted just hours ago, sending ash high into the sky and forcing evacuations. Unlike the previous eruption, nobody is thought to have been injured, and the island itself is not highly populated.

Shindake is a highly active volcano, having just erupted last year.

Japan has frequent eruptions from many of its hundreds of volcanoes. Japan and its outlying islands lay across the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes that spans the Pacific tectonic plate, including Alaska and the West Coast of the US, down to the West Coast of South America. Japan's volcanoes, much like the ones that line the West Coast, and Alaska/Aleutian Islands, are composed of stratovolcanoes, which form due to subducting tectonic plates. Land dives under land, recycling sediments, and water into explosive magma, creating some of the most explosive volcanoes on earth.

Japan currently has several volcanoes either erupting or on high alert, or which have recently erupted. Sakura-jima (Aira), Nishinoshima (which started as an offshore eruption which later grew into a separate island, only to engulf its 'parent' and create a much larger land body), Ontake, and more have all erupted within the past year. Sakura-jima, Japan's most active in recent times, has frequent large explosions.

It is not known yet how long this current eruption will last, but it sounds like from the reports that it was a single explosion, and activity is not currently happening. This can change at any moment, so it is likely that the volcano will be heavily monitored in the next month or so.

I will update this post if anything further happens.

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