Japan’s Sakurajima volcano due for major eruption within 30 years, say scientists

The Sakurajima volcano on Japan’s Kyushu island poses a “growing threat”, researchers at the University of Bristol say.

The volcano, located 49km (30 miles) from the Sendai nuclear plant, is also close to Kagoshima, a city of 600,000.

Sakurajima’s last deadly eruption was in 1914, when 58 people died.

The Japanese archipelago, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of fire”, has more than 100 volcanoes. Sakurajima regularly spews ash and there are many small explosions there each year, with the latest eruption being in February.

It is closely monitored by Japanese authorities and one of two volcanoes at Level 3 out of 5 levels in Japan’s volcanic warning system, which means that people are warned not to to approach the volcano.

“The 1914 eruption measured about 1.5km cubed in volume,” said the study’s lead author Dr James Hickey, who has now joined the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines.
“From our data we think it would take around 130 years for the volcano to store the same amount of magma for another eruption of a similar size – meaning we are around 25 years away.”

A report on the activity of the volcano was published on Tuesday and teams from Bristol University and the Sakurajima Volcano Research Centre took part.

One of Japan’s most active volcanoes is due for a major eruption within the next 30 years, say scientists who have studied a build-up of magma there. (BBC)

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