Saturday, February 28, 2009
Japan and Russia: Two volcanic eruptions
Seven minor eruptions occurred at Mount Sakurajima on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, throwing rocks up to 2 kilometers, the agency said. Eruptions at Mount Asama in central Japan and Karymsky Volcano on the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka were also reported. There were no reports of damage or injuries.
“I woke up after midnight to the sound and shake of the eruption,” Daisuke Tanaka, 24, a convenience-store attendant, who lives about 20 kilometers away from Asama, said by telephone today. “The sound was as if an airplane was taking off nearby and it continued for 30 minutes.”
The eruptions occurred in a region where four tectonic plates, the Eurasian, Philippine, North American and Pacific, meet, causing seismic activity.
Japan has 108 active volcanoes representing about 10 percent of the world’s total. Forty-three people died in 1991 after Mount Unzen erupted on the southern island of Kyushu, while 15,000 people were evacuated after Mount Usu erupted on the northern island of Hokkaido in 2000.
The 2,568 meter Asama, which last had a minor eruption in August last year, is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. A major eruption in 1783 killed more than 1,000 people.
The meteorological agency raised its alert levels for both Asama and Sakurajima, prohibiting people from entering the area around the volcano.