Monday, February 9, 2009

JJNN: Mt. Asama

Welcome again to JJNN for February 9th, 2009. Today we will be talking about Mt. Asama.

Last Monday, February 2nd, at around 2AM yet another of Japan's volcanoes decided it was time to erupt. The name of the mountain is Asama and it is located on the boarder between Nagano and Gunma prefectures. In the recorded history this volcano has erupted not 10 times, not 30 times, no an amazing 86 times! Of course the records are a little sketchy when you are going back to the first eruption which scientists think was in 685AD.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency discovered that the volcano was going to erupt a day before it did. They brought the danger level of the mountain up from 2 to 3. A danger level of 2 means that people are not allowed to get near the caldera of the volcano and level 3 means people are not allowed to get within 4 kilometers of the caldera of the volcano and only special people can actually go up into the mountain. It is lucky they did that because the eruption last week was spectacular. It sent smoke and ash to about 2 kilometers into the air. The resulting ash cloud had effects as far away as Tokyo.

It turns out that the eruption event is not quite over. The Meteorological Agency has yet to bring the danger level back down because the volcano erupted again today. This time it was not as spectacular as the first time. Ash was only sent 400 meters into the air. On the bright side it seems that things are calming down for Mount Asama. The earthquakes around the volcano are getting fewer in number and the rate of magma expansion seems to be slowing. All in all a good thing.

I will leave you with images of Mt. Asama erupting.

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