Sakurajima Volcano | John Seach


Kyushu, Japan

31.58 N, 130.67 E
summit elevation 1117 m

Sakura-jima volcano is located in southern Kyushu, Japan. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Kagoshima city with a population of half a million is located 10 km west of Sakurajima Volcano. Sakurajima has been called the Vesuvius of the east.

Sakurajima volcano contains two main cones, Minamidake and Kitadake, and
several parasitic domes.

Explosive vulcanian eruptions have occurred regularly at the volcano every year since 1955. Infrasound waves accompany the explosions and have been measured with low-frequency microphones.

2020 Activity
On 29 Dec 2020 an explosive eruption at Sakurajima volcano sent ash to an altitude of 11,000 ft. The volcano is at level 3 alert.

2013 Eruptions
Eruptions continue daily at Sakurajima volcano during January 2013.

2009 Eruptions
Eruptions on 10th March 2009 at Sakurajima volcano send debris 2 km from the crater.

2006 Eruption
First eruption outside of the summit crater in 58 years.

1995 Eruptions
Ashfall closes a road in August 1995 near Sakurajima volcano.

1993 Eruptions
Explosions resume after 201 explosion-free days.

1991 Eruptions
An explosion on 29 June ejected blocks and lapilli that damaged house roofs and two car windshields. Ejecta from an explosion on 5 August hit the windshield of a Boeing 737 airliner 13 minutes later as it flew at an altitude of 1.2 km, 10 km N of the volcano. A crack 50 cm long was created the outer surface of the windshield, but the plane landed its 122 passengers and five crew safely.

1990 Eruptions
An air shock from one explosion broke 21 windows on the island and in the city of Kagoshima.

1987 Eruptions
Large explosions broke windows and ejected blocks which burnt cars.

1986 Eruptions
At 1602 on 23 November an explosion ejected a 2.5-m-diameter block onto a one-story concrete building at the foot of Sakurajima volcano, 3 km S of the crater. Six people in the building were injured as the block, estimated to weigh 5 metric tons, broke through the roof and ground floor of the hotel and landed in the basement. Two other large blocks (1-1.5 m diameter) that landed near the hotel created a depression and started a grass fire.

1985 Eruptions
An explosion at the summit crater of Minami-dake on 24 February ejected a plume to 4 km height. Lapilli 4-5 cm in diameter fell as far as 5 km SE of the crater, damaging 43 cars at the S foot and in Tarumizu City (5 km SE). Brush fires were started by hot tephra. Bombs fell on roads and farms, producing large craters. A bomb from an explosion on 8 June at 1316 made a 1-m-diameter crater in a road near a residential area. On 13 June lapilli up to 3 cm in diameter fell on the S foot, cracking windshields and solar water heaters on rooftops. Ash fell heavily that day at Kagoshima and closed railway crossings.

1983 Eruptions
Large eruptions in May 1983. The activity was accompanied by thunder and temporary interruption of electric and telephone service. A large amount of ash fell SSE of the volcano; more than 20 car windshields were broken, and the roof of a primary school cracked.

1981 Eruptions
Lapilli from an explosion on 21 November 1981 broke windshields on cars passing 3 km S of the summit crater of Minami-dake.

1980 Eruptions
Lapilli from an eruption in November 1980, broke five car windshields. The air shock from a 28 November 1980 explosion broke two windows in a hotel at the base of the volcano.

1979 Eruptions
The windshields of two domestic airliners were cracked as they flew into an eruption cloud near Sakura-jima at 0801 and 0805 on 18 November 1979, about 20 minutes after a recorded explosion. In both cases, damage was restricted to the outermost of three sheets of glass, and the planes landed safely. The windshield of a domestic airliner was cracked by tephra at 1.5 km altitude on 24 December 1979, 9 minutes after an explosion from Sakura-jima. The plane landed safely at Kagoshima airport 7 minutes later.

1978 Eruptions
Lapilli ejected on 4 December 1978 cracked 2 windshields of All Nippon Airways airplanes. Similar damage to aircraft above Sakura-jima occurred 8 April 1975 and 25 December 1977.

1977 Eruptions
Grass fires were started by eruptions in August 1977. Explosion air shocks broke about 100 windows 3 km south of the summit in December 1977.

1976 Eruptions
Explosions from the summit damaged car windows in December 1976.

1972 Eruptions
Eruption on 2nd October 1972 was the largest since November 1957.

1971 Eruptions
Lava lakes were visible in two craters at Sakurajima.

1955 Eruption
The eruption of Sakurajima volcano in 1955 occurred on the southern flank for the first time in history.

1946 Eruption
The eruption of Sakurajima volcano in 1946 produced a crater on the eastern flan k at 800 m elevation. About 80 million cubic metres of lava was erupted.

1914 Eruption
Earthquakes were felt near Sakurajima volcano on 10th January 1914. They increased in frequency and magnitude over the next two days. The largest earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and had an epicentre 8 km southwest of the volcano. On 12th January the eruption began on the west flank of the volcano. Ten minutes later an eruption began on the eastern flank. Lava flows began 35 hours after the beginning of the eruption and continued for about a year. Large vertical deformations occurred at the volcano during the eruption.

1779 Eruption
This was the largest eruption in the volcano's history.

Further reading
Biass, S., Todde, A., Cioni, R., Pistolesi, M., Geshi, N. and Bonadonna, C., 2017. Potential impacts of tephra fallout from a large-scale explosive eruption at Sakurajima volcano, Japan. Bulletin of Volcanology79(10), p.73.

Todde, A., Cioni, R., Pistolesi, M., Geshi, N. and Bonadonna, C., 2017. The 1914 Taisho eruption of Sakurajima volcano: stratigraphy and dynamics of the largest explosive event in Japan during the twentieth century. Bulletin of Volcanology79(10), p.72.

Uhira, K. and Takeo, M., 1994. The source of explosive eruptions of Sakurajima volcano, Japan. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth99(B9), pp.17775-17789.

Sakurajima Volcano Eruptions

1955-2022, 1954?, 1950, 1948, 1946, 1942, 1941, 1940, 1939, 1938, 1935, 1914-15, 1899?, 1860, 1799, 1797, 1794, 1792, 1791, 1790, 1785, 1783, 1782, 1779-81, 1756, 1749, 1742, 1706, 1678, 1670?, 1642, 1478, 1471-76, 1468, 778, 766, 764, 716-18, 712?, 708.