New Volcanic Eruption Reported At Nishinoshima Volcano, Japan

A new eruption has started at Nishinoshima volcano on April 20, 2017, the Japan Meteorological Agency reports. It was characterized by the ejection of white smoke from the vicinity of the crater in the center of the island and a lava flow. The last eruption of this volcano took place in November 2015.

The eruption was spotted by Japanese Coast Guard aircraft about 05:25 UTC (14:25 JST) on April 20, 2017, prompting authorities to issue an alert to vessels passing nearby.

According to the Tokyo VAAC, the volcanic ash was reaching 2.4 km (8 000 feet) by 08:00 UTC. At the time, the plume was not visible in satellite imagery and the Aviation Color Code was not raised.

Nishinoshima eruption on April 19, 2017

Nishinoshima erupting on April 20, 2017. Credit: Japan Coast Guard

JMA said there is a possibility the eruption will continue and warned everybody not to approach within 1.5 km (0.93 miles) of the crater.

Geological summary

The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since.

The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

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