Check Out Drone Footage of Kirishima’s Largest Eruption Since 2011

By Erik Klemetti | March 7, 2018 9:02 am
The eruption plume from Kirishima's Shinmoedake crater during a March 7, 2018 eruption. Image by James Reynolds, used by permission.

The eruption plume from Kirishima’s Shinmoedake crater during a March 7, 2018 eruption. Image by James Reynolds, used by permission.

Yesterday, Shinmoedake in Japan produced its largest eruption in almost 7 years. The volcano, which is part of the large Kirishima complex of volcanoes, sent ash and volcanic debris to over 3.5 kilometers (12,000 feet) over the volcano. The volcano was last restless in October 2017, when it produced some smaller ash plumes that reached up to a couple kilometers over the volcano, but this blast was much more akin to the 2011 eruption. Recent reports from Japan say that the volcano “has been erupting since March 1”, so my guess is smaller plumes, possibly steam-and-ash, may have preceded this larger blast. James Reynolds (Earth Uncut TV) happened to be able to film some of this new eruptive activity at Kirishima with a drone an it is impressive!

You can really see the pulsation of the eruption in this video as new waves of explosions come from the vent, sending the volcanic debris and ash (also known as tephra) up into the sky. James also caught some impressive volcanic audio as well, with the roar from the eruption echoing around Kirishima.

Planet caught the eruption as it was happening and the satellite views show the plume clearly and as Dr. Carn points out in the tweet, the “pancake dome” can barely be seen – likely a new dome of andesite lava similar to what occurred during the 2011 eruptions at Kirishima.

The gif below shows the eruption plume, which is distinctly grayer than the clouds, spreading to the south and west as the eruption progressed.

The JMA webcam images from Kirishima tonight show no plume but the glow from the new lava dome is clear on the low and high clouds above the Shinmoedake crater.

Webcam image of Kirishima seen on the evening of March 7, 2018. The glow from the new lava dome is clearly visible. JMA.

Webcam image of Kirishima seen on the evening of March 7, 2018. The glow from the new lava dome is clearly visible. JMA.

The ashy nature of the eruption meant that dozens of flights in and out of the Kagoshima airport were briefly cancelled. Many cities and towns around the volcano were blanketed with ash from the blast as well (see below).

Currently, the Japanese Meteorological Agency has Kirishima on alert level 3, meaning not to approach the volcano and a 3-km exclusion zone has been established around the volcano. With a new lava dome in the crater (see above), there is a significant likelihood that more explosions could follow as pressure builds under the dome.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs
ADVERTISEMENT
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Rocky Planet

Rocky Planet covers all the geologic events that made and will continue to shape our planet. From volcanoes to earthquakes to gold to oceans to other solar systems, I discuss what is intriguing and illuminating about the rocks beneath our feet and above our heads. Ever wonder what volcanoes are erupting? How tsunamis form and where? What rocks can tell us about ancient environments? How the Earth might change in the future? You'll find these answers and more on Rocky Planet.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar
+