Mount Ontake is situated in central Japan and is the country’s second tallest active volcano. It erupted unexpectedly, raining ash and stones on hikers on the mountain slopes. Japan was hit by a massive earthquake in 2011 and is still recovering from its effects. Experts are predicting more volcanic eruptions in the coming months.
The eruption of the Mount Ontake has been described as Japan’s deadliest volcanic eruption in almost 90 years.
Toshitsugu Fujii, a volcanologist at the University of Tokyo said that Japan is facing a future of elevated volcanic activity as a result of the earthquake of March 11, 2011 which measured 9.0 in the Richter scale.
Fujii said, “The 2011 quake convulsed all of underground Japan quite sharply, and due to that influence Japan’s volcanoes may also become much more active.”
Japan has more than 110 active volcanoes some in remote islands and even undersea volcanoes. 47 volcanoes are being monitored full time.
Japan has 110 active volcanoes, with some on remote islands and some undersea volcanoes; 47 of them are monitored full-time. There has been shortage of Volcano experts leaving many peaks unmonitored. Monitoring of the volcanoes helps to predict future eruptions.
Exact predictions about volcanic eruptions are difficult. Nine of the major eruptions since 1977 most provided at the best a few hours of warning. Experts are particularly worried about the effects of such an eruption on the nuclear power plants across the country.
Fujii feels that any eruption from one of the several volcanoes in its vicinity could not only affect the reactor but can become a recipe for nationwide disaster. The active volcano Mount Sakurajima is located just 25 miles away from the Sendai Nuclear Plant.
Fujii further added, “It is simply impossible to predict an eruption over the next 30 to 40 years,” Fujii says. “The level of predictability is extremely limited. Scientifically, they’re not safe. If they still need to be restarted despite uncertainties and risks that remain, it’s for political reasons, not because they’re safe, and you should be honest about that.”