Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Mount Sinmoededake, which lies near the center of the southern island of Kyushu, woke back up again after a few weeks of rest. The newest eruption occurred on 13 March, two days after the 9.0 earthquake struck to the north off the shore of Honshu. The volcano had last erupted on January 19th after being dormant for 2 years. The eruption tossed a 2 mile high cloud of ash into the sky and forced authorities call for the evacuation of several hundred civilians around the radius of the volcano.
While it might be easy to find some correlation between the major earthquake and this eruption to do so would be pure speculation. At this point the tectonic and volcanic mechanisms of this eruption have not yet been looked into and serious research into the matter is probably months off at this point. Megaquakes (M8.0+) have been tied to volcanism in the past so it is a possibility here, but only time will tell.
Below are two videos of the ash plume. The second one is especially visibly striking, not only because of the glowing ash and lava bombs being tossed from the summit, but also because of he bolts of static discharge, sometimes called volcanic lighting or a dirty thunderstorm, caused by the eruption are clearly visible.