Japan's Sakurajima Volcano Provides a Big Blast

©NASA

Sakurajima volcano.

Although Japan's Sakura-jima Volcano is one of the most active in the world, it rarely makes headlines. One or two small explosions typically occur every few days, with effects no greater than a light dusting of ash in the surrounding cities.

On August 18, 2013, a large eruption sent ash 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) above Kagoshima Bay, breaking the established pattern. It was possibly the largest eruption ever from the Showa Crater, which formed in 1946.

These natural-color satellite images, collected by Landsat 8, compare Sakura-jima on August 19 (a day after the eruption) to the volcano on April 13, 2013. The most visible change is a field of pyroclastic flow deposits that stretch up to 760 meters (2,500 feet) from Showa Crater. On the eastern (right-hand) slopes of Sakura-jima light-colored, intertwined channels are visible on an older flow deposit. These are likely either from erosion that revealed light, unweathered material; or fresh ash deposited by short-lived streams.

- Larger images.

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