Monday 28 December 2020

Eruption on Mount Otake, Japan.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has reported an eruption on Mount Otake, a 979 m high stratovolcano (cone shaped volcano made up of layers of lava and ash, in the Tokara Islands, part of the Ryukyu Archipelago, on slightly before 2.50 am local time on Monday 28 December 2020. The eruption is reported to have thrown rocks up to 1.5 km from the volcano's crater, with a small ash column rising to about 300 m above the volcano's summit. There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with the eruption, although people have been warned not to approach it to closely.

Eruption on Mount Otake, Japan, on 28 December 2020. Japan Meteorological Agency/Kyodo News.

The Tokara Islands lie 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 volcanoes of the Ryukyu Islands and Kyūshū.

The movement of the Pacific and Philippine Plates beneath Japan. Laurent Jolivet/Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans/Sciences de la Terre et de l'Environnement.

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