Monday, January 2, 2012

Mount Sakurajima sees record high 996 eruptions in 2011, Southern Japan

Mt. Sakurajima, an active volcano in southwestern Japan, explosively erupted 996 times in 2011, the most since record keeping began in 1955, the local meteorological observatory said Sunday.

At the 800-meter Showa crater, which erupted in June 2006 for the first time in 58 years, 994 eruptions were observed last year. Two eruptions were observed at the Minamidake vent, at about 1,000 meters elevation, the Kagoshima Meteorological Observatory said.

The observatory warned the volcano in the middle of Kagoshima Prefecture is becoming increasingly active. But eruptions at the Showa crater are relatively small and no signs of imminent large eruptions have been observed, it added.

Mt. Sakurajima erupted 548 times in 2009 and 896 times in 2010, breaking the previous record of 474 times in 1985 for three consecutive years through 2011.

The Japan Meteorological Agency defines an explosive eruption as one accompanied by an explosive release of gas, ash or rock. Source