Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued an Alert Level 4 (Prepare to Evacuate) for residents living near the Sakurajima Volcano located in the Kagoshima Prefecture on the southwest tip of Kyushu Island. According to the agency, the number of earthquakes in Sakurajima begun to rise and instrumentation shows deformation suggesting a large eruption may be immanent.
The volcano has been under a heightened alert (level 3 – do not approach) since July.
Sakurajima was responsible for Japan’s largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, when it produced a large Peléan eruption in 1914. Erik Klemetti posted an excellent overview of the Sakurajima volcano this morning on his Wired Blog (see Sakurajima in Japan Might Be Headed Towards a Large Eruption).
Being located only 10 kilometers from a major population center (Kagoshima City pop. 680,000), this volcano has an unusually high number of webcams trained on it, and its surroundings, 24/7. While a truly massive eruption is not currently expected, the impacts could be substantial .
You’ll find a large assortment of webcams available at http://www.mbc.co.jp/web-cam/
There are 108 active volcanoes in Japan, and on average, they see about 15 volcanic events (including eruptions) every year, so Japan heavily promotes seismic and volcanic awareness and holds drills often.
(Credit Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA))
(Credit JMA Volcano Warning pamphlet)