Kuchinoerabu-jima Volcano | John Seach


Ryukyu Islands, Japan

30.43 N, 130.22 E
summit elevation 649 m

The island of Kuchinoerabu-jima in the northern Ryuku Islands contains three stratovolcanoes:  Furu-dake, Shin-dake and Sankakuten-yama (No-ike). The island contains approximately 140 residents and is located 130 km south of the city of Kagoshima.

The island is only 12 x 4 km in diameter and a few villages are located near Shin-dake and have been affected by eruptions. All eruptions the past 200 years have occurred at Shin-dake crater or its surroundings. Shindake crater is 250 m wide and 100 m deep. A NNE-SSW trending fissure extending 700 m is located on the eastern side of the crater.

There is a possible correlation between eruptions of Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano and tectonic earthquakes within 100 km.

2020 Eruption
An eruption occurred at Shindake crater on 3 February 2020. Pyroclastic flows travelled 900 m southwest of the crater. Rocks were ejected 600 m from the crater and ash emissions rose to an altitude of 7000 m. The laert level was raised to 3 (on a scale of 1 to max 5).

2015 Eruption
An explosive eruption occurred at Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano on 29th May 2015. Ash cloud 36,000 ft altitude. Pyroclastic flows reached the sea.

2008 Unrest
An increase in seismicity at the volcano, resulted in the hazard level being raised from from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-5) on 4th September 2008, and to level 3 on 27th October 2008. Inflation occurred below the summit crater, and fumarolic activity increased.

1999 Seismic Activity
Increased seismicity occurred at Kuchinoerabu-jima Volcano, with a maximum of 196 earthquakes measured in August 1999.

1996 Seismic activity
Earthquakes occurred at the volcano in 1996.

1980 Eruption
A 30-minute eruption occurred at Shin-dake on 28th September 1980 after 4 years of quiet. The eruption created a fissure 6 m wide and 750 m long, N-S near historically active Shin-dake crater. The eruption occurred without signs of volcanic earthquakes. The eruption of Kuchinoerabu-jima Volcano produced volcanic ash composed of alunite, cristobalite, and some clay minerals.

1976 Eruption
An eruption occurred at Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano on 2nd April 1976. The eruption produced an ash column 3000 m high, and tephra fell in a village 3 km from the crater. The eruptions lasted until 3rd June 1976.

1968-69 Eruptions
An eruption of Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano occurred 21st December 1968 after 2 years dormancy. Further eruptions occurred on 29-30 December 1968, 5 February 1969, and 10 March 1969.

1966 Eruption
Eruptions at Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano on 22nd November 1966 produced accessory blocks, lapilli, and ash.

1933-34 Eruptions
Eruption at Kuchinoerabu-jima in 1933-34 damaged a village on the eastern side of the volcano.

Older eruptions
A magmatic eruption occurred at Furu-dake several hundred years ago.

Further reading
Hotta, K. and Iguchi, M., 2017. Ground deformation source model at Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano during 2006–2014 as revealed by campaign GPS observation. Earth, Planets and Space69(1), p.173.

Ohminato, Takao, et al. "Observations using an unmanned aerial vehicle in an area in danger of volcanic eruptions at Kuchinoerabu-jima Volcano, southern Kyushu, Japan." Journal of Natural Disaster Science 38.1 (2017): 85-104.

Kuchinoerabu-jima Volcano Eruptions

2020, 2015, 1980, 1976, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1968-69, 1966, 1945, 1933-34, 1932?, 1931, 1914, ?1906-07, 1841, 1840, 4300 BC.