The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded an eruption on Mount Furudake on Kuchinoerabujima, an island about 130 km south of Kagoshima, at about 12.25 pm local time on Sunday 3 August 2014. The eruption consisted of a single powerful explosion followed by the generation of a 1.5 km high ash plume. This ash column lasted for about 10 minutes, then collapsed forming a pyroclastic flow (avalanche of hot gas and ash), but fortunately leading to no injuries or damage. The nearby town of Yakushima has been partially evacuated as a precaution. This is the first eruption on the volcano since 1980.
Pyroclastic flow on Kuchinoerabujima on 3 August 2014. Volcanic News Eruptions.
Japan has a complex tectonic environment with four plates underlying parts of the Islands; the Pacific in the east and the Othorsk in the North, there are the Philipine Plate to the south and the Eurasian Plate to the West. All of these plates are moving in different directions, and some subducting beneath the islands, leaning to a complex tectonic situation where earthquakes and volcanoes are common.
Kuchinoerabujima lies at the northeast end of the Ryukyu Island Arc, which sits on top of the boundary between the Eurasian and Philippine Plates. The Philippine Plate is being subducted beneath the Eurasian Plate, in the Ryukyo Trench, to the Southeast of the Islands. As it is drawn into the interior of the Earth, the tectonic plate is partially melted by the heat of the Earth's interior, and liquid magma rises up through the overlying Eurasian Plate to form the volcanos of the Ryukyu Islands and Kyūshū.
The location of Kuchinoerabujima Island. Google Maps.
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