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Kirishima Volcano Violently Erupts in Japan

January 26, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

credit: fnn-news.com

credit: 373news.com

The Kirishima Volcano, located in Japan, erupted violently this morning hurling rock bombs and plumes of ash up into the atmosphere. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.

The volcano is located in southern Japan, along the pacific ring of fire, and is uniquely situated directly above a tectonic plate boundary.

Kirishima has erupted 9 times during the past 100 years, 2 of which were classified as VEI-2 eruptions (Volcanic Explosivity Index). The last VEI-2 eruption was during 1959 when it pumped 3.2 million cubic meters of ‘tephra’ up onto the planet surface and into sky. Time will tell how this new eruption will be classified.

Volcanic Ash in the atmosphere will severely damage jet engines, and can cause global temperatures to decrease depending on quantity.

Preparedness for a volcanic eruption begins with having a supply of proper breathing masks. The American Lung Association states, “A dust mask with an N-95 rating is most highly recommended for ash protection.” Volcanic ash is actually fine, glassy fragments and particles that can cause severe injury to breathing passages.

As reported from dailymail.co.uk, the Kirishima eruption is the largest eruption recorded there since 1959.

Lightning at Kirishima
credit: Reuters

Billowing Ash Plume at Kirishima
credit: AP

Kirishima ash falling from the sky
credit: AP

Dramatic video of the eruption was captured from the air and displayed on fnn-news.com, and can be seen here. It is always amazing to see and realize the tremendous amount of ash that can explode from a volcano – such an incredibly powerful force – making it seem like all the things we do are insignificant in comparison.



Most recent webcam image of Kirishima Volcano
click here for the latest webcam image of Mount Kirishima (sporadic)

snip from www.volcano.si.edu
According to JMA, an eruption from Shinmoe-dake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishima volcano group, on 19 January produced a shock wave that was detected 12 km NE and an ash plume that drifted SE. Ashfall up to 5 mm thick was reported in Miyakonojo (30 km SE); ashfall was also reported as far as Nichinan City (60 km SE). An eruption on 22 January ejected material 200 m above the vent. Based on reports from JMA and pilot observations, the Tokyo VAAC reported that ash plumes rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

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