Sakurajima hits 996-eruption high

Kyodo

Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano in Kagoshima Prefecture, explosively erupted 996 times in 2011, the most since record-keeping began in 1955, the local meteorological observatory said.

At the 800-meter-high Showa crater, which erupted in June 2006 for the first time in 58 years, 994 eruptions were observed last year. Two eruptions were observed at the Minamidake vent, which is at an elevation of about 1,000 meters, the Kagoshima Meteorological Observatory said Sunday.

Mount Sakurajima’s previous record for eruptions was 474 in 1985. But after erupting 548 times in 2009 and 896 times in 2010, its most recent string of eruptions means the record has been broken for three consecutive years.

The Meteorological Agency defines an explosive eruption as one accompanied by an explosive release of gas, ash or rock.