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Major volcanic eruption predicted within 25 years, near Japan’s Sendai nuclear station

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanNew data points to major eruption of Japanese volcano Buildup of magma could trigger a repeat of Sakurajima volcano’s deadly eruption of 1914, scientists say, Guardian,  in Tokyo, 15 Sept 15 A major volcanic eruption in Japan threatening the safety of tens of thousands of people is possible within the next three decades, say experts who have used new techniques to identify a buildup of magma in one of the country’s most active volcanoes.

In a study published on Tuesday in the Scientific Reports journal, a team that included experts from Bristol University and the Sakurajima Volcano Research Centre in Japan said the new techniques showed a “substantial growing magma reserve” inside Sakurajima, located just off the coast of Kagoshima city, in south-west Japan.

The team said the magma buildup could trigger a repeat of the volcano’s deadly eruption of 1914, which killed 58 people and caused widespread flooding in Kagoshima, home to more than 600,000 people.

Dr James Hickey, the lead author of the study, said the team had found a new way to map the natural “plumbing system” inside volcanoes that could improve authorities’ ability to predict eruptions and issue earlier evacuation guidance.

“What we have discovered is not just how the magma flows into the reservoir, but just how great the reservoir is becoming,” Hickey said. “We believe that this new approach could help to improve eruption forecasting and hazard assessment at volcanoes not just in this area, but worldwide……

Sakurajima is about 30 miles from two nuclear reactors that were restarted last year, as Japan resumed its nuclear power programme after the March 2011Fukushima meltdown……..

The magma is entering the volcano at a faster rate than it can be released through small, frequent eruptions, leading the researchers to conclude that a much bigger eruption is possible within the next three decades.

“The 1914 eruption measured about 1.5 km cubed in volume – a massive event,” Hickey said. “From our data we think it would take around 130 years for the volcano to store the same amount of magma for another eruption of a similar size – meaning we are around 25 years away.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/13/new-data-points-to-major-eruption-of-japanese-volcano

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September 16, 2016 - Posted by | Japan, safety

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