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Magma Build-up of Sakurajima Volcano in Japan Increases Chance of Major Eruption

Sep 14, 2016 04:25 AM EDT
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A devastating natural calamity might occur again in Japan. Due to magma accumulation of a volcano, an eruption is lurking in Japan reminiscent of the Sakurajima eruption in 1914 that caused earthquake, avalanches and tsunamis that left 58 people dead, injuring thousands and leaving many residents homeless.

A destructive volcanic eruption might occur in Japan in the next three decades, scientists predict. It might be so violent that it is threatening the safety of thousands of residents. The prediction is based on the accumulation of magma in Japan's active volcanoes.

Based on a recent study by experts from Bristol University and the Sakurajima Volcano Research Center, there is a noticeable growth in terms of magma reserve inside the Sakurajima, a volcano located outside Kagoshima city in the southwestern region of Japan. Their finding was published in the Scientific Reports journal. "This big reservoir is growing, and it's growing at quite a fast rate," James Hickey, a geophysical volcanologist and co-author of the study said in a statement.

Scientists fear that the growing magma reserve may trigger another devastating eruption similar to what occurred in 1914. During that time, 600,000 people were rendered homeless due to the tragedy. The results of the recent study shows a potential repeat of the recorded devastation.

The study was conducted using a new way to map the magma reserve "plumbing system" underground. This technique, as scientists claim, increases the ability predicting volcanic eruptions.

"What we have discovered is not just how the magma flows into the reservoir, but just how great the reservoir is becoming," James Hickey, lead author of the study said in a statement. "We believe that this new approach could help to improve eruption forecasting and hazard assessment at volcanoes not just in this area, but worldwide," Hickey added.

Scientists studied the surface of the caldera and the volcano to observe magma supply. The data is then used for forecasting and assessment of threats due to the possible volcanic eruption. The growing magma reservoir underneath the volcano causes the ground to swell and accumulate 14 million supply each year, according to a report.

Predictions play a big role in preparing the residents and in saving lives during natural disasters. Scientists were working on improving their capability to predict volcanic eruptions when they discovered the threatening magma growth underneath Sakurajima volcano.

 

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