Japan: Kyushu and Tokara Islands

Volcanos: Sakurajima, Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanosejima

 Japan, Sakura Jima, Flash Eruption Japan, Sakura Jima, Strong Eruption  From 25thof Dec.09 to 9th of Januar 2010  Japan, Suwanose Jima, Vulkan Mt.Otaka, Ash Lapilli Eruption Japan, Suwanose Jima, Vulkan Mt.Otaka, Ash Lapilli Eruption

 R.Roscoe, M.Rietze, Th.Boeckel

in deutsch

Volcano Sakurajima, Kyushu-Kagoshima

Japan 2010, Sakurajima  

Map of Kyushu, South Japan

 Symbols of the Kagoshima and Sakurajima region photographed at a bus stop. You will discover every symbol in real through this report !


Cinema, ash & pressure waves  

Video Sakura Jima, Suwanose Jima


At the beginning of this tour, I thought at least that two moderately active volcanoes will expect us, and if we were lucky we’ll see volcanoes which blow only ash into the sky. Probably, we see something glowing but only when you come close to the crater rims. The reason was, we had no informations and only a little pictorial material. Nevertheless it was the first visit to Japan, and if the volcanoes were not active, you have evenly more time to discover this interesting country. So I had my expectations about this journey, - however everything should come contrary.


Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions    Japan 2010, Sakurajima

Kagoshima city before the nearby volcano Sakurajima

Japan 2010, Sakurajima    Japan 2010, Sakurajima    Japan 2010, Sakurajima

Favourite free time activity, the Pachinko game.

First we got in trouble with the simplest communication. Except one employee in the “Bank of Kagoshima” no English was spoken in principle. Due to the pitiless confrontation with characters, we had however one trump card in the sleeve, our own sign language. At the end of the journey, this form of communication by using infantile sounds was perfected by us in such a way, that we archived 70% at least of what we ordered. But this was only possible, because the Japanese people had been were very cooperative, friendly and helpful at each place to every situation. Thank's a lot.

Japan 2010, Sakurajima   

The hope to see a momentarily active volcano was destroyed by only one man before we reached the peninsula Sakura Jima. We regarded postcards which showed high ash columns from the summer. Also the lightning eruptions from past days were extremely impressive. But the innkeeper made us clear that we have to expect non-red-eruptions. This confirmed my expectations that this volcano seemed to be an “ash blower”, - frustration!

Japan 2010, Sakurajima  Japan 2010, Sakurajima  Japan 2010, Sakurajima

     

Aerial photo and explanation of our observation points. Photo with friendly permission of the SABO CENTER. Right our car-GPS friend.

   Volcano,Sakurajima, Richard Roscoerr   Japan: Volcano Sakurajima, Eruptionstb   Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb

Rapidly ascending ash column (estimated height of 2-3 km) which drifted southward over the landscape (parking place)

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions      Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb

  Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr Volcano,Sakurajima, Richard Roscoerr  Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr

But the photos upon already make clear that the program was changed a little. At first we took the well known western position, the so-called ‘parking place’, an official lookout point for tourists. From here we observed strong ash discharges for the first time, but they did not refer a glow ejection. With the evening search for a good position on the eastern side of the peninsula a weak red shining in the east crater was noticeable. Later, glowing ejections up to 300 meters height confirmed the activity, - joy!


    Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb

Eruption with a dense ash cloud observed from the east position

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions     Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions  tb

Positively attuned, characteristics such as pressure waves and flash eruptions could be seen, and unexpected observations could be made in the further days. At New Years Eve during the dawn a lightning could be already photographed during an eruption. With an exposure time of three seconds it was not completely simple. Further eruptions during the day did show pressure waves, which  were rushing spherical nearly over the whole mountain accompanied with a dry sharp bang. Even in a distance of 2500m the tent wall was shaken-through by the pressure waves sometimes. 

Concerning to New Year's Eve, here an ominous story of a China cracker of the Z-class 5. Already during the day we noticed that the volcano had changed the rhythm. Constantly eruptions of 400-600m height were to be observed with since the first visit, then the volcano had become inconspicuously calm. We hoped to get a special show to New Year's Eve no arrive with a super bang in the year 2010. The whole evening no reaction in the crater, not a tiny red at all, and this before the change of year. The 3200er ASA exposure of Martin confirmed this condition still in addition. Had the Sakura Jima stopped the activity? - Well, no fireworks.

           

Cheers New Year!! The Sushi plate (favourite food of Richard, he would change the domicile therefore, photo above) from the supermarket was excellent. The sparkling wine sickly-sweet. With guckly hands we sat in our Toyota mini car, Sushi stuck at the seats and we gazed through the windshield to the sleepy volcano. Nothing at all. We stepped out, and stationed ourselves as used to the cameras. Now the volcano appeared without ash- and damp clouds. Somehow suspiciously calm, - quiet as a mouse.

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions   Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions   Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb

Left: New Year eruption around 00:05:23 at 01.01.2010, two minutes later the next fontain.

The half massif of the Sakura Jima was maltreated vehement by the ejection bombs toward our side.

00:05:23 unexpected an enormous fontain climbed on a height of 700m, two minutes later the next large fontain. The volcanic massif was scattered on the eastern side with plenty of glowing ejection bombs. Only the extinct main crater lain north was spared. Due to volcanic surprise, I nearly lost my photo release out of my hand hand. We were astonished, how punctually such a volcano can be. In that way, the new decade can begin.

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb  Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr

Fontain height over 1000 meters!

Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze      Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze      Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr

Eruptive impressions observed from the east point

Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze     Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze   Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze     Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr

Lively it continues with violent explosions the next night, however the rhythm had actually changed again. In the average up to four hours now the eruptions were to be seen. In the further process breaks of 6-7 hours were no more rarity. The longest break took actually 17 hours. The era of the monotonous waiting at the volcano began. However the volcano could develop enough pressure in these dwelling phases, the eruptions in their strength increased therefore. Two eruptions at the 2.Januar showed this. The first and highest is represented above in the photo, and measured over 1000 meters. Even using a light telephoto lens with 100mm the plentiful selected screen window thitherto, the lava bombs nevertheless shot over the upper photo boundary. It  was very impressing, with which dynamics these oversize candles raised into the sky. Strong ash rain was crackling after each eruptions on us, and we changed increasingly the shape of dusty ash manikin and/or the environment. I could observe this violence of the eruption only at the Etna in the years 2000-2002 so far.

 
Japan 2010, Sakurajima    Japan 2010, Sakurajima


Also the next day brought news. Now the weather fits finally. No grey mist in the background, - clear air, - no rain or iced up objectives. After a six-hour break this eruption pointed itself out from the most beautiful side. Due to dryness the explosion in the crater did not show the the outgoing pressure wave in the condensate like used, yet it was present and dashed with full force to the left crater edge, so that small material was lifted out clearly. (Video comes). In the further process remarkable sized ash lances were shown.

Japan: Sakura-Jima, Eruptions    Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions    Japan: Sakura-Jima, Eruptions

      Japan 2010, Sakurajima 

The powerful ash cloud lowered itself down and passed over to us in the northern direction with vertical numerous dense ash bands. This had the consequence that we were exempted once from the used ash rain. The days before ash rains forced us regularly in the tent or in the car. Here also graphic works of art at various auto parts developed.

Ash impressions

     

 Sometimes the wind brought the ash directly in our direction. The fall out was up to 5mm, was adhesive on cameras and sleeping bags, ran in the smallest gaps but gave us a lot of chances for arty drawing insertions. For the mirror writing we'll practice of course patiently for the next time.

 

Advice: Our drawings were designed by free memory. Analogies with living persons are coincidental and not intended.

Japan: Sakura-Jima, Eruptions     Japan 2010, Sakurajima    

 Left: The scenario looks like a sandstorm. The ash was churned due to strong winds over the country. Up to a distance of ten kilometres the clouds were dragged over the landscape.

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions

Far eruptions could be observed also from the south side.

Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions     Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb

A powerful eruption to 5.1.2010 transformed the volcanic massif into a heap of glow

Sakurajima- High Voltage!

Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze         Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze

Incl. Astronomy picture of the day (M.Rietze)

         Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions   Japan: Volcano Sakura-Jima, Eruptions   Japan: Sakura-Jima, Eruptionstb

          Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze         Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze        Japan 2010, Sakurajima Martin Rietze mr

Toward the end a new condition of the eruption phases adjusted itself. The breaks had become shorter again now, and a nearly regularly flash lightning was added to the eruptions. Even with smaller eruptions this phenomenon could be observed. In the night to the 9.1.2010 lightings stroke behind the ash clouds toward to the volcano. Here we couldn't saw clearly the flashes. However, bright elucidations suggested numerous lightning strokes. On the last evening, this photography could be originated however. Because of the return of the borrowed car at the Kagoshima airport, we had specified the dismounting time of the cameras on 18:55. We hoped now for a parting performance. Because in the afternoon a strong eruption was to be observed, the hope to get a similar one ebbed again. After a five-hour waiting period it was clear, that we’ll probably see no more. Ominous, a further violent eruption started around 18:45. We ranked these as one of the most beautiful. A half dozen of lightings before and in the ash cloud was ‘served’ to us. So, and what a nonsense I made straight in this moment?!? After I was no longer sure whether the adjusted horizon fits, I saw the first half second of the eruption through the viewfinder moving up and down. In panic I lashed intuitively my tripod, and released. With enormous luck the shoot succeeded without detail loss.

Around Sakurajima

  Japan 2010, Sakurajima  Japan 2010, Sakurajima  Japan 2010, Sakurajima  

Sakurajima is also famous for study Lahars (immense mud/lava/water evalances). At the left the SABO information center for Lahar technique. Very interessting to visit, because here you get the imagination how difficult it is to get this dangerous Lahars by huge constructions and civil works under control. Middle and right photos: Lahars constructions at the western side of the volcano.

Japan 2010, Sakurajima      Japan 2010, Sakurajima

  Sheltered phonebox and the cleaning and collecting of volcano ash???

Japan 2010, Sakurajima   Japan 2010, Sakurajima  

Phantasy rich formed garden trees and a unknown plant protection

Japan 2010, Sakurajima       Japan 2010, Sakurajima

The famous giant radish of Sakura Jima island. Some species brought it up to 26 kilograms.      

Sayonara Sakura-Jima

Japan 2010, Sakurajima

Volcano Mt.Otaka: Suwanosejima, Tokara Island

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island        Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island

Arrival on Suwanosejima with the Toshima ferry

The volcano Mt. Otaka rises with a height of 799 meters over the island Suwanosejima which is situated about 250 kilometres south of Kagoshima. This island belongs to the Tokara complex lain in the northern Ryukyu islands. Now you ask yourselves, where this island could probably lie. The same questions ask the most south Japanese too. This island is not only afield, the most people in Kagoshima did not even know this place. Thus we had the information that about 50-80 inhabitants live on the island, but over accommodation and supply we stood blank without informations. So we planned to take the complete provision for five days on the ferry.

The acceptance on the island was very cordial, and the helpful residents showed us immediately a small camping site, which was built probably for the solar eclipse 2009.

          Volcano Mt.Otaka,Suwanosejima, Richard Roscoe

 Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietze    Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietze    Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island

The curiosity to the view in the active caldera  of this so unknown volcano still pushed us on the same afternoon toward and through a for years not trespassed forest path, which was completely closed up in the upper region with ash-covered ferns. The ascent emerged as much arduous, and I placed myself the question whether I would ever arrive there above. Martin drew the corridor (thanks!) as the first, Richard and I rolled the remainder down. You can guess, who possessed the most gray patina after crossing the forest path. Finally arrived, the first view from the eastward open volcano caldera was accompanied with a loud jet noise.

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island      Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb  Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietzemr  tb

Also here, pressure waves could be observed and filmed during the last daylight. Lapilli ejection was to be recognized in the flat cantileverd crater from the center.  However the eruption mode changed after approximately one hour, and right at the beginning phase our hairs stood on end. The continuous jet tone tore off, and the volcano began with a deep eruption noise and  transported an enormous amount of ash. The ash column climbed up in an apprx. 250 meters distance before us, and piled up itself vertically estimated two kilometres over us. Not knowing the further developing I had to admitted a lightly fear. I began to vacated already my camera equipment to escape. If the Otaka would untwist still another more highly grade, then I thought in this moment, I would have set up a new world record on 100m. Richard noticed beside that an increasing of electrostatics at the edge of crater. Thus our hairs stood literally on end

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island      Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb  Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb  Volcano Mt.Otaka,Suwanosejima, Richard Roscoerr

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island      Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island      Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Islandtb  Volcano Mt.Otaka,Suwanosejima, Richard Roscoerr

The activity normalizes itself and the luminous cinder ejections came to appearance in the evening hour.

Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietzemr

Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietze      Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietze      Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietzemr

Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietze      mr

In an approximately 3 hourly cycle the strong ash eruptions repeated themselves during the whole night. These were announced with rich “shining material” at each new start. Occasionally outthrown material over the internal crater edge, could be observed.

Japan 2010, Suwanose-Jima Martin Rietze    Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island

Volcano Mt.Otaka on Suwanose-Jima Island   

Harbor of Suwanose Jima and backway with the ferry

Japan 2010, Sakurajima   Japan 2010, Sakurajima

The last volcano: Fuji at the right


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© 2010, Photos and text Th. Boeckel (tb), photos Martin Rietze (mr), Richard Roscoe (rr), last modification 24.10.2010