Fuji-san, or Mount Fuji as it is called by the world outside Japan, may be about to erupt.
Following the massive magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake that generated the devastating tsunami on March 11 2011, and magnitude 6.4 aftershock that occurred four days later, Japan’s National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) studied the effect this may have had on Mt Fuji.
(Public Domain photo)
|The last major eruption of Mt Fuji started on December 16, 1707 and ended about January 1, 1708. The result of that eruption was the formation of a new crater and a second peak (named Hōei-zan) halfway down its side. It rained cinders and ash over a wide area burying homes and farmland to a depth of 2 metres. Even at 100km away, Tokyo was covered in an ash layer 8cm thick.|
With their farms gone, many people starved to death in the year following this eruption. The change in the landscape caused local rivers to flood for 80 years following the eruption with a loss of more lives. (Ref: The 1707 eruption of Fuji)
Earthquakes that exert a pressure of 0.1 megapascals have been sufficient to trigger eruptions in volcanos similar to Mt Fuji. The NEID researchers mentioned earlier have estimated that the recent earthquakes placed about 1.6 megapascals of pressure on Mt Fuji’s magma chamber. This is much more pressure that caused the 1707 eruption and is “not a small figure,” according to Eisuke Fujita, a senior researcher at NEID. (Ref: Japanese Times)
Some people are calling for action to be taken to save lives now before a disaster strikes. Others are less concerned. Mure Dickie writes, the “good news is that fears of immediate danger appear unwarranted as seismic activity in the Fuji area has subsided. A 20m-long crack that appeared halfway up the volcano last year was deemed to be a normal side effect of the tremors.” (Ref: Mount Fuji locals worry after Fukushima)
What do you think? Should people take action? If not, why not? If so, what should they do and when? Add your comment!