Schunday Schummary: Sakura-Jima.

So Sakura-jima has had a busy week, she’s always busy; but produced a 5km plume on Sunday the 18th.

First some essential back ground reading from our very own Karenz:

Luisport found these movies on youtube:

Granyia found thisn’:

Here is a list of the 600+ (!) eruptions of Sakura-jima this year from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA):

Talla (I think) linked:

Sakurajima on the BBC News Page.

Found by Mike Ross ;with a hat-tip to Boris B:

Some stunning pics here:

Granyia again:

There is a very good archive on the page Karen linked to:

Translate the page, set date on the right, chose an image from the thumbnails below. Then click auto play (centre button below webcam). It will show a pic for every minute / 1 per sec. The eruption started at 16.30 local time.

I am not sure if the translated page comes over properly:

Schteve Edit: Seems okay…

With 600+ eruptions already this year Sakura-jima is worth watching and well monitored.

Here’s a selection of cameras courtesy of Pyter, Renato Rio and Mike Ross:

And to round off an interesting comment and link from Cbus20122:

I think the worry you would have with SakuraJima is if it ever becomes blocked up for a significant portion of time, then you start to worry about a legitimate pressure buildup in that system.

Apparently the center of the Aira Caldera system has been seeing inflation since roughly 2011, so that could possibly explain the reasoning behind the increased activity.

The question is how much the vulcanian activity has contributed towards depressurizing the overall system. From what I’ve heard, the cumulative VEI release of the SakuraJima eruptions over the years is actually incredibly small, although that doesn’t really show how much pressure has been relieved by the activity. I would believe that SakuraJima has actually benefited from what seems to be a constant flow of magma, since it’s kept the piping hot and moving, instead of allowing the conduits time to cool, henceforth preventing depressurization (although this is just conjecture).

With that said, I personally believe that most of the larger eruptions will simply occur when a big wad of magma ascends from Aira’s primary magma chamber regardless of how open the system is or isn’t. The VEI-4 1914 eruption had a lot of precursor earthquakes, and similar to St. Helens, the volcano started to bulge on it’s flank and inflate incredibly rapidly in the days prior to the eruption.

Finally, there seems to be some evidence to believe that the volcanoes in the Kagoshima Graben are still in the process of becoming more active, as the delamination process below the Kagoshima Graben continues. I can’t find the source, but supposedly the sinking rate of the graben has actually increased over the course of the last 10,000 years.

“Considering the estimated volume increase at the inflation sources, it is indicated that the total of about 1.2[1] x 10^8 m^3 magma is inferred to have additionally stored beneath Aira caldera during the period from 1991 to 2012. The ground uplift around the northern part of Sakurajima at the time of December 2012 caused by the progressing magma storage recovers and further exceeds the height level in around 1973, when the intense summit eruptions during the 1970s and the 1980s started. These results suggest the immanent potential of the next intensive eruptive activity of this volcano.”

Courtesy of:

Cheers Schteve, and many thanks to our loyal commentatorsx

P.S. added 27 8 13;

Cryphia’s plot of EQs centred on Sakura-jima:

Cbus provided this link to a useful, not too technical PDF:

And everyone’s favourite Volcanologist Erik Klemmeti had this to say:

62 thoughts on “Schunday Schummary: Sakura-Jima.

    • Agreed!

      Side note for anyone interested.

      1 x 109m³ = 1 km³.

      Distractions… the web is full of em. I was going to point out that Aira was one of the systems studied by Kiyoo Mogi in the development of the Mogi Model (based on work by Yamakawa in 1955), and went to verify it. I ran across this while doing so…

      Existing models envisage that the shallow magma chamber beneath Santorini is recharged by many small batches of andesitic melt, which fractionate within this reservoir to yield the more silicic magmas that finally erupt (for example, refs 3,7). Recently, it was argued12 that the magma charging the shallow reservoir immediately before the Minoan eruption was predominantly silicic: a dacite-to-rhyolite magma formed by fractional crystallization at greater depths. We suggest that this also holds true for the present magmatic system. The erupted products of the Kameni domes consist almost entirely of homogeneous dacites3,5

      Evolution of Santorini Volcano dominated by episodic and rapid fluxes of melt from depth” Michelle M. Parks et al (2012)

      Click to access ngeo1562.pdf

      And yes, it does have InSar plots in the paper!

      Mogi has been part of, or chaired several geophysical and geological organizations in Japan. Generally coming to loggerheads about the location of nuclear power plants.

      Following the passing of the Large-Scale Earthquake Countermeasure Act, in 1978 Mogi was appointed to the newly created Earthquake Assessment Committee (EAC) for the expected Tokai earthquake, charged with warning the government if the quake was imminent. He went on to chair the ECA from 1991 until he resigned the post in 1996 after failing to persuade the government of the need to take uncertainty into account when issuing warnings

      And, since I am a fan (of Nicholas Taleb)… Fukashima turns out to be a prime example of what Mogi was concerned about. Fukashima was a true Black Swan. It was outside the expected probability, and it was explained away after the fact. “If only we had known”

      • “If only we had known”
        sort of like stick head where sun shines seldom if ever then cry woe woe i’m covered in shit

        • At least the japanese did not throw Mogi into prison… like they do in a country starting with the letter I. Problem is that you can’t predict earthquakes reliably yet, if it even ever will be possible. But politicians try to forget that.

        • My mom grew up during the Great Depression. Most countries had a depression, but America’s was “great” because our government kept fiddling with the economy, making things continually worse. Now, many many years later, they are fiddling with it again, and in some cases, eliminating rules that checked the over exposure of depositors to banks with enormous risk.

          Anyway, she had a philosophy about shit.

          “If you are walking across the pasture and you step in a pile of shit, don’t stand there wailing about it, keep walking.”

          About that “if only we had known” phrase. What Taleb meant was that Black Swan events are explained away after the fact. “If we had known that the Gaussian Cupola was crap at predicting delinquency in housing markets(A)… or If only we had known that a subduction zone having a mag 9.0 quake could make a wall of water that high… we could have done something about it.

          (A) Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street

          David X. Li’s paper was published April 2000, eight years later, the market exploded.

          Nassim Nicholas Taleb, hedge fund manager and author of The Black Swan, is particularly harsh when it comes to the copula. “People got very excited about the Gaussian copula because of its mathematical elegance, but the thing never worked,” he says. “Co-association between securities is not measurable using correlation,” because past history can never prepare you for that one day when everything goes south. “Anything that relies on correlation is charlatanism.”

          As Li himself said of his own model: “The most dangerous part is when people believe everything coming out of it.”

          But bankers, not being the most erudite people on earth, were lazy and assumed that it was telling them the truth. Hell, they were making money hand over fist selling the derivatives with their snake oil. ‘See? The formula predicts this, you can’t loose!

          • When I was a kid it was “if you step in a cow pat, try not to crash the model plane you’re flying in the cow paddock” 🙂

            I have experimentally determined that cows and control-line model planes don’t mix particularly well, especially when you are allergic to using mufflers on your engines.

    • Extending out the “Slope Distance Change” plot on page three, indicates that the current inflation of Kirishima Volcano Complex will reach 0.4 on or about 5/13/2013. Previously, Shin-moedake went sub-plinian on 26 Jan 2011 when it reached that point.

      This will be a decent experiment to see if it does the same. (personally, I don’t put a lot of faith in that, it is a volcano, and they do what they want, when they want.)

  1. Sakurajima gives me pause for thought.
    I am wary of volcanoes that increase both in eruptive cycle speed (amount of eruptions per given time unit) and that also increase in size of eruptions.
    In Sakurajimas case it is increasing both at a logarithmic rate. That is often a sign of a volcano getting ready for something rather nasty.

    So, I am keeping my eye on Sakurajima:
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    • Aww….. you know good and well that if she did anything like that, most people would forget about Fukashima.

      Personally, I sort of want to get a Geiger counter to check the tuna at the market.

    • The thing about volcanoes like this is that it’s so easy to get lulled into a false sense of security, and assume nothing but small-scale eruptions come about. You only have to see pictures of Sakurajima, and there are quite a few residents living directly on the slopes of the summit. Why anybody would consider that a good Idea, I have no idea, but I would wager most of it is a sense of complacency related to the frequent small-scale eruptions, and a broad assumption that nothing larger will occur down the line.

      I’ve recently found volcanoes like this rather interesting, as I had previously been of the opinion that “it’s the volcano that you don’t hear from that will blow the biggest”. In a lot of ways, this is still true as it indicates a volcano is better plugged up, and has had a longer time to evolve magma into more explosive varieties. The thing is, this isn’t always the case, and I believe there have been a few instances of volcanoes showing a vulcanian style eruptive process for years, yet somewhere mixed in, they erupt in a much more dangerous or violent fashion.

      I don’t know much about Etna, but I believe the basaltic shield volcano Etna may be a decent example of this, as it has a pretty decent large sized caldera structure on one of it’s slopes that was associated with a much larger and atypical eruption. I may be completely off-base on this regarding Etna, but if true, I think it’s one of the better examples out there.

      • As Boris wrote a couple of days ago, most of Etnas structure has been built during the last centuries. It gived pause for thought. It is quite some time since the caldera formation. First few and far between eruptions, and slowly both scale and frequency has increased up untill where we are today.

        Actually the Silent Go Big meme is looking more and more off to me. As I delve deeper into volcanoes a pattern is emerging that most volcanoes seem to be quite the opposite. Increasing size and frequency as they get nearer the last cataclysmic event. I think this is brought on by Pinatubo and Mt Saint Helens eruptions.

        Take Krakatau for instance, it erupted often before the last big one. Same goes for Vesuvius and if I got things right Tambora. Just a thought. So, for those kind of volcanoes it is more accurate to keep track of the scale and frequency increase to try to predict when they will go in a grander fashion.

        Grimsvötn is another good example of a volcano that has more frequent eruptions getting ever larger. Probably as a build up to a more cataclysmic event.

          • And it is also quite weird.

            in the middle of a roundabout close to the perimeter fence of Rome’s Fiumicino airport — less than 900 yards from the end of a runway.

            I found a roundabout at 41.775500°N 12.240682°E that fits the description.

            This is were it gets weird. I find the location to be a really odd spot, even for a fumarole. A few hundred years ago, this location was IN Rome’s main harbor… and fully underwater. (slap dab in the middle of Porto di Claudio) I found this out while looking into that octagonal lake nearby… Lago Traiano. Rather than a groomed natural caldera lake, it’s wholy artificial. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it never was a caldera related structure.


            What I find odd, is that where the fumarole is at, is fill material. Is there volcanic activity heating up what is essentially an ancient refuse dump? Has composting action generated enough heat to start cumbustion of the ancient refuse material?

            As always…. time will tell.


            And now.

            And despite the article stating:

            The area covers Mount Vesuvius, which buried the Roman city of Pompeii when it erupted in 79AD, to a number of lakes formed in extinct volcanoes north of Rome.

            The roundabout is roughly 213 km from Vesuvius.

            • So if a fumarole erupted between say 34L and 34C at Sea-Tac-it would be ah connected to
              St. Helens? (I won’t go into the Cascadia Subduction Zone..)
              I do think that the Italians are handling it better than the FAA would . They would close the
              Airport, set up a Temorary Flight Restriction , and then the News Media would be all over
              it like flies on a fresh Cow Pie…
              I shudder to think..

            • Might be a better connection with the SZ than Helen’s.

              As a young-un, I was totally fascinated by the Cobb seamount and hotspot as written about in the World Book™ Encyclopedia. It had transparency overlays where you could layer in the different structures. According to that article, it was feeding Mt Ranier. In reality it feeds all of the Cascadia range.

              The issue with SeaTac is that it probably is over a section of the subducting slab that is too shallow to generate much if any melt. From what I understand, the sweet spot is about 110 to 125 km depth. That’s why the Cascade volcanoes all line up where they do.

              …but, following their logic, a SeaTac fumarole might be evidence of activity at Yellowstone…

            • I read the article, I think you’re misinterpreted what they were stating. They were referring to the area of the Italian volcanic arc that runs along the italian coast. They were stating that the area of the volcanic arc covers Vesuvius.

        • St. Helens of course is familiar to me and what is very interesting about it was the old plug/dome, Goat Rocks . The mountain itself is only 40k years old. Goat rocks erupted at
          roughly 1480. and possibly a VE-5/6 then about 150 years ago…. others followed that rivaled 1980. The thing is never really quiet and goes big whenever it wants to.
          Here is a Wiki on it:

          Here is Mt. St. Helens institute:

    • You keep your eye on Sakurajima.

      I’m keeping my eye on the price of flights to Kagoshima.

      I have an earworm…

      # Is this the way to Kagoshima?
      # Every night I’ve been dreaming of lava

      (it goes on and gets worse)

      Earworm trying to tell me something…

  2. Wa-Bamm! → I’ve been known to try and replicate dishes that I’ve run across.

    Tonight, I made up a batch of Pico de gallo using fresh ingredients. The bizzare part is that the only place where I feel the heat… is under my tongue. The amusing part was watching the clerk try to find tomatillos on her price chart.

    The not so fun part was that I forgot to get coffee and had to go back. This was due to my wife’s directive. She said that I am hell to deal with without my coffee.

    So be it, she is the CEO.

    I can’t duplicate it, but there is an absolutely fantastic “shrimp soup” at the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain. It’s not a gumbo, it’s an actual broth like soup. Nearly clear. Had one lonely shrimp floating around in it. It not only impressed me, but one of the other chiefs I was with was a cook by specialty, even though we were all pretty well lit off, that soup kicked arse.

    • Coffee. wife and I have a pact: Nothing complex. Nothing immediate.No problems discussed until after #1 cuppa in the AM. Then oatmeal or omelet. Wife begins work tomorrow at a Daycare/Nursery school. No kids of our own but she’s good with Young’ns

    • I’ll be brutally honest. I am not fond of kids. The lack of logic just blows my mind. It’s not the kids fault, they just haven’t developed the concept of “cause and effect.”

      Despite my disdain, I would not hesitate to physically beat the ever loving crap out of someone trying to hurt a kid. Kids are important.

      With regards to the first “paragraph.” It did not take long for me to understand that a freshly sharpened pencil had a painful end and a not so painful end. You have to keep track of which end is which when you jab it into your leg to scratch an itch. Shortly after that, I learned that staplers have an improper method of being picked up. I found this out after having to pull a staple out of my finger.

      (crap… side story. Sorry for the OT) → Several years ago, a guy that I worked with had a prosthetic leg. He was very good with it and unless you knew, you would never detect it. One of his favorite drinking tricks was to jab a knife into the wooden part of his leg and let it sit there, wiggling back and forth to the amazement of the by then drunk companions. One day, a girl that he was dating said to the group, “wanna see something neat?” and then jabbed a knife into his leg… all the way through the artificial part to the person part. He was not happy… at all. I think he broke off with her after that…. or else asked her to marry him. He always was a glutton for punishment.

      • Well, birthday might have been the wrong term. So let’s call it “Bangday”. Unless of course it was already the term dedicated to the beginning of modern pornography… Don’t know…

    • got a half written blog about it, time is not on my side at the moment, the pups are growing, are a week old yesterday and winter is saying see you later for another year, so will wash/trim dogs for the next week or so, I am getting older things take a lot longer then they used to, but that is life

  3. Don’t you just love the Italian peninsula with all that evidence of, geologically speaking, recent volcanism on a scale ranging from VEI 6 caldera-forming eruptions that make Vesuvius’ worst seem like picnics up to the Vulsini Caldera complex (last registered activity 104BC) of four calderas with Lake Bolsano (16 km dia, 370 kA) the largest? That the 8 km Latera caldera is nested in the 11 km Vepe caldera gives a few indications (repeated large eruptions on a subsequently smaller scale).

    Here’s the link to a nice overview;

    (Nappi, Valentini, Matteoli 2004)

    Click to access P09.pdf

    The potential for disaster is not inconsiderable should one of the Vulsini or Colli Albani volcanic complexes enter an active period… …but the chance of any of us being gratified by such an event is so small that even Spica couldn’t pick up a trace of it with her SEM! 😛

      • Come now GeoLoco! It cannot have escaped your Argus eyes that many have, on these pages, expressed what may be generously termed an intellectual interest in seeing the effects of a very large eruption second-hand. and that the location is of less importance than the actuality of one. 😉

        • Ha – generously termed an intellectual interest… No, of course. But don’t count me in for that description of that interest. Mine is pretty primary, guts based, emotional. And then I have this great excuse to have kind of a “professional”, intellectual, interest too… 🙂

  4. Paracutin spring to mind about Rome’s newest …there has been a lot of activity in Italy over the last few years, so it is not really a surprise, apparently not the only one around the Rome area, me I don’t like the look of it

  5. Here is a 3D plot of seismicity of southern Kyushu with Sakurajima in the center. It sits on top of where the subducting plate bends (Wadati–Benioff zone).

    • Thanks- they are not anything new.Just the nature of big fires, wind and low humidity.
      Saw them on just about every major fire I’ve flown on. We now have the technology to easily report them. What I don’t like is an old growth Douglas Fir exploding like a 155mm round
      as you are on final approach to drop…

      • No sweat, the media is just as inept in reporting fire news as they are Volcanoes.

        This morning, the bobble head stated that one of the dangers of the large fires is when you get a “croan” fire. That was they way they pronounced “crown.”

  6. Afternoon all,
    Just back from 24hours at work, nice to see all the comments, I will probably add a few to the post to satisfy my need for completeness…
    The plan is to make this a regular feature, focusing on the “hot” volcano of the week, hopefully it will make a nice reference each time for a notable event… This weeks came out rather well, but I’m no google fu master; I will be relying on you lovely people to do the digging… So keep those cams, plots,papers, movies and even tweets coming; just think of the publicity 😀

    • My “hot” volcano is having to go back to a prison training facility. They have a dead UPS (which won’t be dead when I get done with it). I was there last week and when I was going to the server room, I ran across about 40 corrections officers taking a test. I have a few years experience as an instructor, and have seen a lot of tests. After a while, you pick up the knack of being able to tell from the body language just how a student is doing on a test.

      There were some unhappy campers in that classroom.

      The part about the trip that I don’t like, is that I am probably going to have to drill out the rivets in the lower frame assembly since the batteries are swollen in tight.

      Amply opportunity to ruin a good pair of pants from the acid. (even the dried out dusty flakes of it will turn right back to acid when it gets moist. If you have a flake of it on your pants, and it gets moist… instant hole)

  7. New post will be up in a while…
    I really need some coffee before I do the final editing on it. Otherwise it might end up being a post about bean driven flying rodents or something such. And I think Lurking might chase me down the road if that happened…

  8. Thanks, Schteve for the interesting update on Shakurajima.
    And please, I have just acquired a ticket from Salzburg to Rome in January. Let me know more about this “volcano”. I can only think of lake Bolsena, which is not far from the spot!

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