Between two Japanese volcanoes found underground communication

For the first time in history, scientists have found evidence that a radical change of a volcano in southern Japan were a direct result of the eruption of another volcano 22 kilometers away. Monitoring these two volcanoes, Aira, and Kirishima – showed that they were associated with a single source of subsurface magma before the eruption of Kirishima in 2011.

The Japanese cities of Kagoshima and Kirishima are right on the border of the Caldera, Ira, one of the most active, dangerous and carefully monitored volcanoes in the South of Japan. Determining the interplay between these volcanoes, it will be important to understanding whether an eruption is of one to influence the activity of a distant volcano, or to raise the threat of a new powerful events of the eruption.

Scientists from the School of marine and atmospheric science of the University of Miami and Florida International University analyzed data on deformation with 32 permanent GPS stations in the region and identified the existence of a common reservoir of magma that connected the two volcanoes.

Before the eruption of Kirishima, which lies in a densely populated region of Kagoshima, Aira Caldera has ceased to swell, and the experts considered this a sign that the volcano has calmed down. However, the opposite occurred: the chamber with the magma inside the Ira temporarily blown away, and the Kirishima erupted magma immediately after ceased activity within the Kirishima.

“We have seen a radical change in the behavior of the Ira before and after the eruption of its neighbor Kirishima,” says Elodie Botland, lead author of the study. “The only way to explain this interaction is the existence of a relationship between the two systems of volcanoes on the deep.”

To determine to what extent magmatic system, it will be important to assess the risk of eruption. If underground a lot of magma, can one eruption can trigger another volcano? Still in evidence were few. Forecasting volcanic eruptions in densely populated areas is very important.

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