Japan’s Sakura-jima volcano continued erupting through September, 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of a volcanic ash plume rising from the caldera on September 17, 2013.
According to the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, during the week of 11-18 September explosions from Sakura-jima generated plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.8 – 4.3 km (6,000 – 14,000 ft) above sea level and drifted in multiple directions on most days. In the prior week, sixteen explosions rocked the Showa Crater, ejecting tephra as far as 1,300 m (4,265 ft). Incandescence from the crater was visible on some nights.
Sakura-jima volcano sits in the northern section of Kagoshima Bay, in Kyushu, Japan. Once an island, heavy lava flows from a major eruptive cycle in 1914 created a bridge between the island and the mainland, creating a peninsula. The volcano remains extremely active, and has a history of frequent historical eruptions. Records of the deposition of volcanic ash on Kagoshima, located only 8 km from the summit across Kagoshima Bay, have been found dating back to the 8th century. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-1476.