38/365: Sakurajima’s southern peak awakens

February 7th, 2011 in Daily

Minami-dake (南岳, lit. “South Peak”), Sakurajima’s massive, semi-active crater came to life for the first time since October 3rd, 2009. Note that this is still classified as an active crater, it has just remained silent as it’s neighbor, the Showa Crater, has handled business for the past two years.

Sakurajima… incredible timing today, really. Just last night, NNN showed a documentary on the current monitoring status and disaster prediction by Kyoto University professor, Masato Iguchi. He noted that a few months prior to the 1914 (Taisho) eruption of Sakurajima, Kirishima’s Shinmoedake experienced activity not unlike what we have been watching for the past two weeks. Also, he said that his warnings make it to the advisory committee that issues alert levels far before they actually raise the level. For example, he notified them of forthcoming activity in 2008 into 2009, but Level 3 was issued only after the initial eruptions began. They closed with the question about what the next year will bring in terms of activity in the Kagoshima area.

No less than 4 hours later, the Osumi peninsula felt a M3 quake (woke me up at 4:45 this morning), then at 8 A.M. Sakurajima went off with contrasting twin plumes from two craters. I understand that the earthquake does not necessarily have a direct relationship with the volcanic activity, but it makes one curious to find out… Last Friday we had a similar quake but I was out walking and did not notice it.

Local fisherman unfazed by the activity in the background.

Ash from the previous photos floating SE towards Kanoya.

...the same ash you saw exploding out of Sakurajima ends part of its journey at my apartment building

As always, I’ll be keeping an eye on it whenever possible. It’s not often that we get the opportunity to witness such powerful nature first-hand. I plan to document it as regularly as possible out of some form of bizarre, civic duty which, as a photographer and volcano-enthusiast-by-proximity, really only makes sense in my own head.

Again, a lot on film today so there will be a follow-up in the next week or so.

Tags: , , , , , , ,