The Sakurajima volcano on Japan’s Kyushu island that last erupted in 1914 could be close to a major violent eruption, says a research team led by the University of Bristol. They have used new techniques to identify a buildup of magma there.
The volcano, located 49km (30 miles) from the Sendai nuclear plant, is also close to Kagoshima, a city of 600,000.
According to the scientists, the build-up of magma inside the volcano could see a repeat of its deadly eruption of 1914, which killed 58 people and caused a massive flood in the nearby seaside city of Kagoshima.
A report on the activity of the volcano was published on Tuesday and teams from Bristol University and the Sakurajima Volcano Research Centre took part.
Their research showed that the volcano is being supplied with around 14 million cubic metres of magma each year.
At the current rate, Sakurajima could erupt catastrophically in about 25 years, according to the study.
“The 1914 eruption measured about 1.5 km cubed in volume – a massive event,” Dr James Hickey, the lead author of the stud 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.”
Last year, Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted unexpectedly, killing 63 – the worst volcanic disaster for nearly 90 years.
“Kagoshima city office has prepared a new evacuation plan from Sakurajima.”