Nishinoshima

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  • 27.247°N
  • 140.874°E

  • 25 m
    82 ft

  • 284096
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Most Recent Weekly Report: 10 September-16 September 2014


The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume from Nishinoshima that rose to an altitude of about 3,000 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S on 16 September.

The University of Hawaii reported that satellite data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) resulted in frequent MODVOLC alerts for Nishinoshima, as recently as 11 September.

Sources: University of Hawaii MODIS, Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


Most Recent Bulletin Report: November 2013 (BGVN 38:11)


November 2013 submarine flank eruption spurs island growth

A new island emerged on 20 November 2013 out of the ocean as the result of a Surtseyan eruption on the S flank of Nishinoshima, a small volcanic island in the Izu-Bonin arc, ~940 km S of Tokyo (figure 1). The new island, originally called Niijima ('new island') by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), eventually merged with Nishinoshima on 24 December 2013. We continue to describe the now merged islands under the name 'Nishinoshima.'

Figure 1. Location of Nishinoshima island shown on an annotated topographic map of the Izu-Bonin arc; the insert shows the area of the main map and the larger regional geography. The map highlights the location of Nishinoshima (Nsi). Other features located respectively from N to S are: Os–Oh–shima; Nij–Nii–jima; Myk–Miyake–jima; Mkr–Mikura–jima; Krs–Kurose hole; Hcj–Hachijo–jima; Shc–outh Hachijo caldera; Ags–Aoga–shima; Myn–Myojin knoll; Sms–South Sumisu; Ssc–South Sumisu caldera; Tsm–Torishima; Sfg–Sofugan; G–Getsuyo seamount; Ka–Kayo seamount; S–Suiyo seamount; Kn–Kinyo seamount; D–Doyo seamount; Nsi–Nishinoshima; Kkt–Kaikata seamount; Ktk–Kaitoku seamount; and Kij–Kita Iou-jima. After Kodaira and others (2007).

Niijima emerges. Niijima emerged by 20 November 2013 from the ocean surface at an area ~0.5 km SSE off the coast of Nishinoshima. The latter is a small (700 m2), uninhabited volcanic island that last erupted and expanded in during 1973-74. Additional background information is included at the end of this report.

Based on satellite images, the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that at 0717 UTC on 20 November 2013 a plume rose 600 m over a new island which emerged ~500 m S of Nishinoshima (figure 2). At 0630 UTC on 22 November, a plume rose 900 m. MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts were measured almost daily from 1635 UTC on 23 November and continued through the latest alert noted at 0120 UTC on 7 April 2014.

Figure 2. Niijima produces a plume as it emerges from the ocean to form a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima on 20 November 2013. Courtesy of Kurtenbach (2013); image from the JCG.

On 21 November JCG and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) noted that the island formed was by then ~200 m in diameter. A warning of dense black emissions from the eruption was issued by JCG on 20 November, and television footage (Frisk, 2013) showed on 21 November ash and rocks exploding from the crater as steam billowed out of the crater (figure 3). On 24 November, JCG reported lava flows coming from the newly-formed crater. They extended to the coastline of the island, and bombs continued to be ejected.

Figure 3. A photograph of Niijima from 21 November 2013 shortly after it emerged from the ocean . Note the large airborne rock erupting from the crater. Courtesy of Kurtenbach (2013); picture provided by JCG.

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured a natural-color image on 8 December 2013 (figure 4). JMA reported that by early December the area of the new island had grown to 56,000 m2, about three times its initial size, and was 20 to 25 m above sea level.

Figure 4. NASA Earth Observatory satellite image acquired on 8 December 2013 from the EO-1 ALI sensor. The discolored water around the island was attributed to material included volcanic minerals, gases, and seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing volcanic eruption. The faint white puffs above the center and SW portion of the island are likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory web site.

Niijima merges with Nishinoshima. NASA's EO-1 ALI satellite again captured a natural-color image of Nishinoshima and Niijima islands on 24 December 2013 and shows only a narrow channel of water appearing to separate the two (figure 5). The water around the islands continued to be discolored by volcanic minerals and gases, as well as by seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing eruption. A faint plume, likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption, drifted SE. Infrared imagery from the same satellite on the same date showed intense heat from the fresh lava, which continued to build the new island. A strip of isolated, discolored (orange) seawater appeared at the junction of the two islands (figure 6).

Figure 5. NASA Earth Observatory satellite image acquired 24 December 2013. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; satellite image by Jesse Allen using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team.
Figure 6. An aerial photograph just prior to the merger of the two islands, taken on 24 December 2013, with Niijima on the right and Nishinoshima on the left. Seawater trapped at the junction has been discolored to orange, attributed to the presence of particulate matter and biochemical activity of organisms in the water. Courtesy of the JCG.

Figure 7 is a drawing by the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) showing the location of the coastline and the growth of the new island (Niijima) from 20 November 2013 to 26 December 2013. It is striking how much of the island expanded during 13-24 December 2013.

Figure 7. Scale drawing of the merged islands showing the changing coastlines as the new island grew. Colored enclosing lines during the current eruption of Nishinoshima as shown for the following dates: 20, 21, 22, 26, and 30 November 2013, and 1, 4, 7, 13, 24, and 26 December 2013 (note legend translated from Japanese for dates and color of mapped shorelines). Image and interpretation courtesy of JCG.

According to JCG's aerial observation on 20 January 2014, the new part of Nishinoshima island had an area of 0.3 km2 (750 m E to W, and 600 m N to S) (figure 8).

Figure 8. An aerial photograph, looking W, of Nishinoshima island taken on 20 January 2014. The newly merged island, Niijima, on the left, continued to expand NW. White and brown plumes rose from vents on the new land, and the water around the SW portion was discolored. Photo courtesy of the JCG.

New images from an overflight on 3 February (figure 9) confirmed that the activity on the former new island continued steadily. Over the past weeks, the vent fed several active lava flow fronts that enlarged the land in more or less all directions. In particular, there are two active flows relatively close to the vent which had been traveling E and formed a small, almost closed bay with green-orange discolored water inside. The previous shorelines for 20 January 2014 (yellow enclosing line) and 21 November 2013 (white enclosing line) are superimposed over the image to show the growth of the island.

Figure 9. Aerial photography of the island on 3 February 2014. For comparison, the previous shorelines on 20 January 2014 (yellow enclosing line) and 21 November 2013 (white enclosing line). Image courtesy of JCG.

According to Pfeiffer (2014), the island continued growing with lava flows traveling in several directions (figure 10). Its highest peak, formed by the most western of the two active vents, was measured at 66 m. The new addition has more than doubled the size of the island by 16 February. A black-sand beach formed on the NE shore of the old part of the island, as a result of lava fragments washed up by currents and waves.

Figure 10. Direction of lava flow from the western side of two active vents is show by vectors superimposed on the image of the island. North is to the top of the photo. The flow arrows were drawn by JCG over an aerial photograph of the island taken 16 February 2014. Courtesy of JCG.

In summary, the new addition to Nishinoshima grew ~500 m SSE of the island's S flank, beginning ~20 November 2013, from a depth of ~50 m to a height of ~65 m from an originating time no earlier than 1974, the time of the latest addition to the island. Based on continued emissions and satellite-based thermal alerts, it is apparent as of 13 March 2014 that Niijima was still expanding outward in all directions from the vents, and that Nishinoshima had grown to over three times its original size.

Further background. The new island was located in the Volcano Islands, a group of three Japanese active volcanic islands that lie atop the Izo-Bonin-Mariana arc system (Stern and Bloomer, 1992) that stretches S of Japan and N of the Marianas (figure 1).

According to the Geological Survey of Japan, Nishinoshima was an emerged submarine volcano in 1974 with a height of ~3,000 m from the surrounding ocean floor and ~30 km wide at its base.

For further details on earlier Nishinoshima activity refer to our earlier reports in predecessor publications, CSLP 93-73 (eight cards issued during 1973-1974), SEAN 04:07, and BVE 25. The latter (BVE 25) is a 1985 Smithsonian report called the Bulletin of Volcanic Eruptions noting that aerial observations on 2 December 1985 disclosed pale green water SW from the island.

The Geological Survey of Japan reported that Nishinoshima is of andesite to basaltic-andesite composition; Aoki and others (1983) classified the volcano's rocks as high-alkali tholeiite. Nishinoshima is surrounded on all sides by cones, vents, pillars, and parasitic seamounts, and its local bathymetry from surveys in 1911 and 1992 are shown in figure 11.

Figure 11. Comparison of bathymetric maps (depths in meters) around Nishinoshima before and after 1973 eruption. The emerged island is shown in green. Depths of 0-100 m are in white, 100-400 m in light blue, 400-700 m in medium blue, and 700-1,000 m in darker blue. The map on the right shows a survey conducted in 1992, after the eruption, based on 1:50,000 basic map of "Nishino-shima" by the Japan Coast Guard (1993). The map on the left shows a survey conducted prior to the eruption, based on mapping in 1911 (Ossaka, 1973). The new island of Niijima first appeared above the sea surface ~500 m SSE of the S coast of Nishinoshima island shown in the 1992 map. Courtesy of the Geological Survey of Japan (2013).

From the 1992 bathymetric map seen at right on figure 11, it is apparent that the ocean depth from which Niijima erupted in 2013, was ~50 m. A sketch of the setting showing a cross sectional view (roughly NNW-SSE) appears in figure 12.

Figure 12. A sketch depicting an approximately NNW (to the left) to SSE (to the right) cross-section across Nishinoshima (blue indicates sea water) portraying some historical stages of growth. The label "Current Nishinoshima" refers to the pre-existing island prior to and in the early stages of the 2013 eruption. Other labels indicate (a) "Nishinoshima before 1973" (also see 1911 bathymetric map in figure 11), (b) flanking material added to Nishinoshima as it "Emerged during the 1973-74 eruption" (also see 1992 bathymetric map in figure 11), and (c) Niijima "Emerging during ongoing eruption" (red area emerging from the sea early in the 2013 eruption). Original drawing courtesy of The Asahi Shimbun (2013).

References. Aoki, H., and Tokai University Research Group for Marine Volcano, 1983, Petrochemistry of the Nishinoshima Islands, La mer, v. 22, pp. 248-256.

Earth of Fire: Actualité volcanique, Article de fond sur étude de volcan, tectonique, récits et photos de voyage [Volcano News, Feature Article on study of volcanos, tectonics, travel stories and photos], 2013, Evolution of Nishino-shima's eruption, Earth-of-Fire web site (URL: http://www.earth-of-fire.com/page-8837676.html).

Frisk, A., 2013 (21 November), WATCH: Incredible video, photos show new island forming off Japan after volcanic eruption, Global News (URL: http://globalnews.ca/news/981245/watch-incredible-video-photos-show-new-island-forming-off-japan-after-volcanic-eruption/ ).

Geological Survey of Japan, 2013, Nishinoshima (URL: https://gbank.gsj.jp/volcano/Quat_Vol/volcano_data/G22.html).

Japan Coast Guard, 1993, 1:50,000 basic map of "Nishino-shima."

Kodaira, S., Sato, T., Takahashi, N., Miura, S., Tamura, Y., Tatsumi, Y., and Kaneda, Y., 2007, New seismological constraints on growth of continental crust in the Izu-Bonin intra-oceanic arc, Geology, v. 35, no. 11, pp. 1031-1034 (doi: 10.1130/G23901A.1).

Kurtenbach, E., 2013 (21 November), Volcano raises new island far south of Japan, AP (Associated Press) (URL: http://news.yahoo.com/volcano-raises-island-far-south-japan-054228644.html).

Ossaka, J., 1973, On the submarine eruption of Nishinoshima, Bulletin of the Volcanological Society of Japan, v. 18, no. 2, p. 97-98, 173-174.

Pfeiffer, T., 2014 (21 February), Nishinoshima volcano (Izu Islands, Japan): island has doubled in elevation, Volcano Discovery web site (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/nishino-shima/news/42781/Nishino-Shima-volcano-Izu-Islands-Japan-island-has-doubled-in-elevation.html).

Shun, N., 2014, Kaitei chikei (bottom topography), Nishinoshima Kazan (in Japanese), Geological Survey of Japan web site (URL: https://gbank.gsj.jp/volcano/Act_Vol/nishinoshima/page3.html).

The Asahi Shimbun, 2013 (22 November), Japan counts on survival of new island to expand territorial waters (URL: https://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201311220084).

Information Contacts: Japan Coast Guard (JCG) (URL: www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp); MODVOLC, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program web site (URL: http://www.volcano.si.edu); ANN (All Nippon News Network) (URL: https://www.youtube.com/user/ANNnewsCH); VolcanoCafe web site (URL: http://volcanocafe.wordpress.com); Earth of Fire web site (URL: http://www.earth-of-fire.com/); Demis web site (URL: http://www.demis.nl/home/pages/Gallery/examples.htm.).

Index of Weekly Reports


2014: January | April | June | July | September
2013: November | December

Weekly Reports


10 September-16 September 2014

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume from Nishinoshima that rose to an altitude of about 3,000 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S on 16 September.

The University of Hawaii reported that satellite data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) resulted in frequent MODVOLC alerts for Nishinoshima, as recently as 11 September.

Sources: University of Hawaii MODIS; Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


9 July-15 July 2014

Tokyo VAAC reported volcanic ash from Nishinoshima at 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. at 2203 on 30 June; the plume extended NE. However, ash was not visible in satellite images. The University of Hawaii reported that Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data detected thermal anomalies and issued MODVOLC alerts during 25 June-13 July with the exceptions of 8, 11, and 12 July.

Sources: University of Hawaii MODIS; Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


11 June-17 June 2014

Photographs and video taken from a Japanese Coast Guard helicopter on 11 and 13 June revealed continuing eruptive activity at Nishinoshima. Steaming along the shoreline indicated at least two locations with active, or recently active, lava ocean entries, possibly tube-fed since no surface incandescence was visible. Night video clearly showed an active lava flow and ocean entry being supplied from lava fountaining out of a cinder cone. A significant steam plume was rising from the center of the lava shield from hot tephra deposits over a broad area rather than a crater. However, pulsating tephra ejections and distinctly brown ash plumes were rising from two smaller craters. An incandescent lava lake was visible in one of the small craters on both days.

Similar Coast Guard photos taken on 21 May showed a large ash-bearing plume and Strombolian activity from a larger cinder cone in the center of the island. Minor steaming from two central cinder cones was photographed on 15 April, and incandescent lava could be seen in the crater of one.

Source: Japan Coast Guard


16 April-22 April 2014

Based on satellite images, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 18 April a possible eruption from Nishinoshima produced a plume that rose 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E.

Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


22 January-28 January 2014

A photo and video posted by the Japan Coast Guard showed that on 20 January the Niijima portion of Nishino-shima was larger than the original island; the two islands had merged on 24 December 2013. White and brown plumes rose from Niijima and the water to the SW was discolored.

Source: Japan Coast Guard


15 January-21 January 2014

Based on satellite analysis, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 21 January a possible ash plume from Nishino-shima rose 0.9 km (3,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. An image acquired a few hours later showed that ash had dissipated.

Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


25 December-31 December 2013

According to a news article, since mid-December lava flows from the newly formed Niijima island expanded NE towards Nishino-shima, and on 24 December the two islands joined. The Niijima area was about 500 m long and 450 m wide.

Source: The Japan News


27 November-3 December 2013

The Japan Coast Guard reported that the eruption at Nishimo-shima, that generated a new island called Niijima continued on 1 December. The crater remained very hot and lava flows continued to expand.

Source: Japan Coast Guard


20 November-26 November 2013

The Japanese Coast Guard reported that a Surtseyan eruption 500 m SE from the coast of Nishimo-shima generated a new island called Niijima on 20 November. The island was about 300 x 200 m, and developed a crater 150m wide. Discolored water surrounded the island. Based on satellite images, as well as accounts from the Japanese Coast Guard and JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that a plume rose 600 m. On 22 November the eruption continued and incandescence within the crater was observed. An ash plume rose 900 m and drifted SE. On 24 November lava flows from the crater extended to the coastline of the island, and bombs continued to be ejected.

Sources: Japan Coast Guard; Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


Index of Bulletin Reports


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

07/1973 (CSLP 73-93) Submarine eruption breaks the ocean surface starting in late-May

09/1973 (CSLP 73-93) Eruption builds new island; vigorous eruptive activity

11/1973 (CSLP 73-93) Fissure eruption has formed a chain of cinder cones above the sea surface

01/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Eruption continuing in mid-December; island was 700 m long

02/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Aerial observations in mid-January show continued lava flows and explosions

03/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Island has five cinder cones; lava flows entering the ocean

05/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Large lava flow on 1 May stretched to the W side of the new island

07/1979 (SEAN 04:07) Water discoloration seen on 15 November 1978

12/1985 (BVE 25) Discolored water observed in April 1982 and December 1985

11/2013 (BGVN 38:11) November 2013 submarine flank eruption spurs island growth




Bulletin Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.


07/1973 (CSLP 73-93) Submarine eruption breaks the ocean surface starting in late-May

Card 1678 (18 July 1973) White plume, discolored seawater, and floating pumice

A small submarine volcanic eruption near Nishino-shima Island was reported to have occurred at about 1100 on 30 May 1973. The crew of the fishing boat Daini-Ebisumara reported white smoke reaching a maximum height of 100 m. The smoke was rising from the surface of the sea east of the island at intervals of a few minutes. During an aerial inspection by the Japan Maritime Safety Agency on 31 May, the point of eruption was determined to be about 400 m E of Nishino-shima. A whirlpool was noticed around the site, and yellowish-green sea water and floating pumice were seen about 5 km N of the site. According to Tokiko Tiba, The National Science Museum, Tokyo, the crew of the Tokai-Daigaku-Maru 2 of Tokai University observed two black rocks protruding 1-1.5 m above the sea surface 600 m S of Nishino-shima at 1830 on 1 July 1973. A fan-shaped yellow belt of water about 3 km long was moving at a rate of 3 knots.

Card 1687 (30 July 1973) Active bubbling under the surface; water discoloration caused by ash and pumice

The submarine volcanic eruption near Nishino-shima is rather small, but the activity is continuing. The eruption site is located about 550 m E of Nishino-shima Island. According to aerial observation on 5 July by the Maritime Safety Agency, active bubbling under the sea surface (about 30m across) was seen, and sea water above and around the eruption site was discolored yellow by ashes and pumice. According to an aerial observation by the Asahi Press on 17 July, white volcanic smoke rose 100 m high, and water plumes several meters high were seen at intervals of two to three minutes. About ten reefs in a 30 m area were observed.

Information Contacts:
Card 1678 (18 July 1973) Seismological Division, Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo, Japan.
Card 1687 (30 July 1973) Seismological Division, Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo, Japan.

09/1973 (CSLP 73-93) Eruption builds new island; vigorous eruptive activity

Card 1712 (25 September 1973) Eruption builds new island; vigorous eruptive activity

During an aerial observation made by the Japan Maritime Safety Agency and the Japan Meteorological Agency on 14 September 1973 from 1250 to 1400 Japan Standard Time, a new insular volcano was observed to have formed above the sea surface at the submarine eruption site, about 500 m SW of Nishino-shima Island. The new island is a cinder cone about 40 m high and 120 m across, with a 70-m-diameter crater which vigorously and frequently ejects black rock fragments to maximum height of 300 m, accompanied by dense smoke and vapor. Explosions are taking place at intervals of several tens of seconds. White smoke reached a height of 1,500 m, and the water around the eruption site is discolored reddish-brown. The JMA believes that this submarine volcanic activity started in April 1973.

Information Contacts: Seismological Division, JMA.

11/1973 (CSLP 73-93) Fissure eruption has formed a chain of cinder cones above the sea surface

Card 1737 (01 November 1973) Fissure eruption has formed a chain of cinder cones above the sea surface

The Nishino-shima submarine eruption has formed a chain of cinder cones above the sea surface, which indicates that this activity is a fissure eruption.

Eruption review. 11 September: Small rocks were seen above the sea surface with 300-m-high volcanic smoke. 12 September: Successive eruptions with cinders and water plumes. 14 September: A new insular volcano appeared above the sea surface, at a point 600 m SE of Nishino-shima. The island was a cinder cone 120 m in diameter with a 70-m-diameter crater. Lava blocks were ejected to a height of 300 m, and volcanic smoke to 1,500 m. 9-10 October: A team of investigators, headed by Joyo Ossaka, Tokyo Institute of Technology, tried to get essential ejecta from the new volcano between 9 and 10 October, but they could not bring the boat to the new island because of rough weather. They collected only 0.3 grams of fallen ash which is now being analyzed by J. Ossaka. Another team will be organized in the near future.

Current activity. The new Nishino-shima volcano is now composed of a chain of cinder cones running from SW to NE, about 600 m above the sea surface. The most recent eruption is taking place at the tip of this chain. The distance between this recent eruption site and the discolored seawater area detected in April is about 1 km. The primary cones are now being destroyed by waves. The eruption is occurring at intervals of 1-2 minutes, or 5-10 minutes, with water plumes, volcanic blocks and ashes. The maximum height of the volcanic smoke was 500 m and the cinder column (max. 10 m across) reached a height of 300 m. At night, red-hot cinders were seen.

Information Contacts: Seismological Division, JMA.

01/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Eruption continuing in mid-December; island was 700 m long

Card 1782 (23 January 1974) Eruption continuing in mid-December; island was 700 m long

The eruption near Nishino-shima is now correctly termed supermarine rather than submarine. The eruptive crater is now located on the sea surface. According to observations made by a research vessel, Tokaidaigaku-II, and airplanes of the Japan Maritime Safety Agency on 11, 12, and 21 December, it was confirmed that the new insular volcano has grown to an island larger than the "old" Nishino-shima. The island was 700 m long and 250 m wide, and about 40 m above sea level. Its eruptive activities are still continuing, ejecting cinders and white smoke to a height of 100 m. Small lava flows out of the craterlet were also observed. This volcano was named "Nishino-shima-Shinto" which means a new Nishino-shima island, on 20 December 1973.

Information Contacts: Seismological Division, JMA.

02/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Aerial observations in mid-January show continued lava flows and explosions

Card 1793 (11 February 1974) Aerial observations in mid-January show continued lava flows and explosions

It was confirmed by aerial observations on 3 January by the Asahi Press, on 11-14 January by the Nishino-shima Research Group, and on 17 January by Maritime Self Defence Force, that volcanic activities at Nishino-shima-Shinto were continuing as follows: 1) Two cinder cones have been formed at the eastern and the western parts of this smaller volcano. 2) Volcanic activities were limited to the eastern cinder cone. 3) It was observed that erosion by waves has been in progress on this new volcano.

According to an aerial observation made on 11 January, red-hot lava was seen in the 10-m-diameter crater of the eastern cinder cone and lave was flowing outside. Small explosions with 50-m-high cinder ejections and 150-m-high white volcanic smoke occurred at intervals of one to two minutes.

Information Contacts: Seismological Division, JMA.

03/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Island has five cinder cones; lava flows entering the ocean

Card 1833 (29 March 1974) Island has five cinder cones; lava flows entering the ocean

"According to an aerial observation made on 13 February, rather active smoke emissions were observed originating from the eastern part of the Nishino-shima-Shinto, and eruptive activities seemed to be still continuing.

"Special research was carried out from 6-11 March, 1974 by the research vessel, Tokaidaigaku-maru No. 2. According to the interim report by the research group, the external form of this new volcano and the location of the eruptive crater have changed compared with the previous state. Nishino-shima-Shinto is now an insular volcano with five peaks (cinder cones). Red-hot lava fragments were frequently hurled up out of the crater, which had been filled with red-hot lava, located at the eastern part of this island. Lava flows were also observed flowing out onto and/or under the slopes to the shore of the island, where white vapour was rising."

Information Contacts: Seismological Division, JMA.

05/1974 (CSLP 73-93) Large lava flow on 1 May stretched to the W side of the new island

Card 1866 (30 May 1974) Large lava flow on 1 May stretched to the W side of the new island

On 1 May 1974, an aircraft of the Maritime Safety Agency confirmed that a large lava flow stretched to the western side of the "new" island volcano, Nishino-shima-Shinto, and that sea water inside the bay surrounded by the "new" and "old" islands was discolored brown. There was no activity on the summit craters, but the "new" island is still developing. Preliminary estimates showed that the "new" island was three times as large as the "old" island, Nishino-shima.

Information Contacts: Seismological Division, JMA.

07/1979 (SEAN 04:07) Water discoloration seen on 15 November 1978

On 15 November 1978, discolored water was visible at 27.25°N, 140.88°E, 6.5 km NW of Nishino-shima, the first activity there since the explosions of May 1973-summer 1974.

Reference. Ehara, S., Yuhara, K., and Ossaka, J., 1977, Rapid cooling of volcano Nishinoshima-shinto, the Ogasawara Islands: Bulletin of the Volcanological Society of Japan, v. 22, p. 75-84 (SEAN Part I-Observational Results) and p. 123-131 (Part II-Interpretations).

Information Contacts: JMSA, Tokyo; JMA, Tokyo.

12/1985 (BVE 25) Discolored water observed in April 1982 and December 1985

[Aerial observations (on 2 December 1985) of a pale green water discoloration zone, extending 0.6 km SW from the island, were reported by JMSA (JMA, 1988). Water discoloration had last been observed in April 1982.]

Reference. Japan Meteorological Agency, 1988, Bulletin of Volcanic Eruptions, no. 25.

Information Contacts:

11/2013 (BGVN 38:11) November 2013 submarine flank eruption spurs island growth

A new island emerged on 20 November 2013 out of the ocean as the result of a Surtseyan eruption on the S flank of Nishinoshima, a small volcanic island in the Izu-Bonin arc, ~940 km S of Tokyo (figure 1). The new island, originally called Niijima ('new island') by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), eventually merged with Nishinoshima on 24 December 2013. We continue to describe the now merged islands under the name 'Nishinoshima.'

Figure 1. Location of Nishinoshima island shown on an annotated topographic map of the Izu-Bonin arc; the insert shows the area of the main map and the larger regional geography. The map highlights the location of Nishinoshima (Nsi). Other features located respectively from N to S are: Os–Oh–shima; Nij–Nii–jima; Myk–Miyake–jima; Mkr–Mikura–jima; Krs–Kurose hole; Hcj–Hachijo–jima; Shc–outh Hachijo caldera; Ags–Aoga–shima; Myn–Myojin knoll; Sms–South Sumisu; Ssc–South Sumisu caldera; Tsm–Torishima; Sfg–Sofugan; G–Getsuyo seamount; Ka–Kayo seamount; S–Suiyo seamount; Kn–Kinyo seamount; D–Doyo seamount; Nsi–Nishinoshima; Kkt–Kaikata seamount; Ktk–Kaitoku seamount; and Kij–Kita Iou-jima. After Kodaira and others (2007).

Niijima emerges. Niijima emerged by 20 November 2013 from the ocean surface at an area ~0.5 km SSE off the coast of Nishinoshima. The latter is a small (700 m2), uninhabited volcanic island that last erupted and expanded in during 1973-74. Additional background information is included at the end of this report.

Based on satellite images, the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that at 0717 UTC on 20 November 2013 a plume rose 600 m over a new island which emerged ~500 m S of Nishinoshima (figure 2). At 0630 UTC on 22 November, a plume rose 900 m. MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts were measured almost daily from 1635 UTC on 23 November and continued through the latest alert noted at 0120 UTC on 7 April 2014.

Figure 2. Niijima produces a plume as it emerges from the ocean to form a new island off the coast of Nishinoshima on 20 November 2013. Courtesy of Kurtenbach (2013); image from the JCG.

On 21 November JCG and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) noted that the island formed was by then ~200 m in diameter. A warning of dense black emissions from the eruption was issued by JCG on 20 November, and television footage (Frisk, 2013) showed on 21 November ash and rocks exploding from the crater as steam billowed out of the crater (figure 3). On 24 November, JCG reported lava flows coming from the newly-formed crater. They extended to the coastline of the island, and bombs continued to be ejected.

Figure 3. A photograph of Niijima from 21 November 2013 shortly after it emerged from the ocean . Note the large airborne rock erupting from the crater. Courtesy of Kurtenbach (2013); picture provided by JCG.

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured a natural-color image on 8 December 2013 (figure 4). JMA reported that by early December the area of the new island had grown to 56,000 m2, about three times its initial size, and was 20 to 25 m above sea level.

Figure 4. NASA Earth Observatory satellite image acquired on 8 December 2013 from the EO-1 ALI sensor. The discolored water around the island was attributed to material included volcanic minerals, gases, and seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing volcanic eruption. The faint white puffs above the center and SW portion of the island are likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory web site.

Niijima merges with Nishinoshima. NASA's EO-1 ALI satellite again captured a natural-color image of Nishinoshima and Niijima islands on 24 December 2013 and shows only a narrow channel of water appearing to separate the two (figure 5). The water around the islands continued to be discolored by volcanic minerals and gases, as well as by seafloor sediment stirred up by the ongoing eruption. A faint plume, likely steam and other volcanic gases associated with the eruption, drifted SE. Infrared imagery from the same satellite on the same date showed intense heat from the fresh lava, which continued to build the new island. A strip of isolated, discolored (orange) seawater appeared at the junction of the two islands (figure 6).

Figure 5. NASA Earth Observatory satellite image acquired 24 December 2013. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; satellite image by Jesse Allen using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team.
Figure 6. An aerial photograph just prior to the merger of the two islands, taken on 24 December 2013, with Niijima on the right and Nishinoshima on the left. Seawater trapped at the junction has been discolored to orange, attributed to the presence of particulate matter and biochemical activity of organisms in the water. Courtesy of the JCG.

Figure 7 is a drawing by the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) showing the location of the coastline and the growth of the new island (Niijima) from 20 November 2013 to 26 December 2013. It is striking how much of the island expanded during 13-24 December 2013.

Figure 7. Scale drawing of the merged islands showing the changing coastlines as the new island grew. Colored enclosing lines during the current eruption of Nishinoshima as shown for the following dates: 20, 21, 22, 26, and 30 November 2013, and 1, 4, 7, 13, 24, and 26 December 2013 (note legend translated from Japanese for dates and color of mapped shorelines). Image and interpretation courtesy of JCG.

According to JCG's aerial observation on 20 January 2014, the new part of Nishinoshima island had an area of 0.3 km2 (750 m E to W, and 600 m N to S) (figure 8).

Figure 8. An aerial photograph, looking W, of Nishinoshima island taken on 20 January 2014. The newly merged island, Niijima, on the left, continued to expand NW. White and brown plumes rose from vents on the new land, and the water around the SW portion was discolored. Photo courtesy of the JCG.

New images from an overflight on 3 February (figure 9) confirmed that the activity on the former new island continued steadily. Over the past weeks, the vent fed several active lava flow fronts that enlarged the land in more or less all directions. In particular, there are two active flows relatively close to the vent which had been traveling E and formed a small, almost closed bay with green-orange discolored water inside. The previous shorelines for 20 January 2014 (yellow enclosing line) and 21 November 2013 (white enclosing line) are superimposed over the image to show the growth of the island.

Figure 9. Aerial photography of the island on 3 February 2014. For comparison, the previous shorelines on 20 January 2014 (yellow enclosing line) and 21 November 2013 (white enclosing line). Image courtesy of JCG.

According to Pfeiffer (2014), the island continued growing with lava flows traveling in several directions (figure 10). Its highest peak, formed by the most western of the two active vents, was measured at 66 m. The new addition has more than doubled the size of the island by 16 February. A black-sand beach formed on the NE shore of the old part of the island, as a result of lava fragments washed up by currents and waves.

Figure 10. Direction of lava flow from the western side of two active vents is show by vectors superimposed on the image of the island. North is to the top of the photo. The flow arrows were drawn by JCG over an aerial photograph of the island taken 16 February 2014. Courtesy of JCG.

In summary, the new addition to Nishinoshima grew ~500 m SSE of the island's S flank, beginning ~20 November 2013, from a depth of ~50 m to a height of ~65 m from an originating time no earlier than 1974, the time of the latest addition to the island. Based on continued emissions and satellite-based thermal alerts, it is apparent as of 13 March 2014 that Niijima was still expanding outward in all directions from the vents, and that Nishinoshima had grown to over three times its original size.

Further background. The new island was located in the Volcano Islands, a group of three Japanese active volcanic islands that lie atop the Izo-Bonin-Mariana arc system (Stern and Bloomer, 1992) that stretches S of Japan and N of the Marianas (figure 1).

According to the Geological Survey of Japan, Nishinoshima was an emerged submarine volcano in 1974 with a height of ~3,000 m from the surrounding ocean floor and ~30 km wide at its base.

For further details on earlier Nishinoshima activity refer to our earlier reports in predecessor publications, CSLP 93-73 (eight cards issued during 1973-1974), SEAN 04:07, and BVE 25. The latter (BVE 25) is a 1985 Smithsonian report called the Bulletin of Volcanic Eruptions noting that aerial observations on 2 December 1985 disclosed pale green water SW from the island.

The Geological Survey of Japan reported that Nishinoshima is of andesite to basaltic-andesite composition; Aoki and others (1983) classified the volcano's rocks as high-alkali tholeiite. Nishinoshima is surrounded on all sides by cones, vents, pillars, and parasitic seamounts, and its local bathymetry from surveys in 1911 and 1992 are shown in figure 11.

Figure 11. Comparison of bathymetric maps (depths in meters) around Nishinoshima before and after 1973 eruption. The emerged island is shown in green. Depths of 0-100 m are in white, 100-400 m in light blue, 400-700 m in medium blue, and 700-1,000 m in darker blue. The map on the right shows a survey conducted in 1992, after the eruption, based on 1:50,000 basic map of "Nishino-shima" by the Japan Coast Guard (1993). The map on the left shows a survey conducted prior to the eruption, based on mapping in 1911 (Ossaka, 1973). The new island of Niijima first appeared above the sea surface ~500 m SSE of the S coast of Nishinoshima island shown in the 1992 map. Courtesy of the Geological Survey of Japan (2013).

From the 1992 bathymetric map seen at right on figure 11, it is apparent that the ocean depth from which Niijima erupted in 2013, was ~50 m. A sketch of the setting showing a cross sectional view (roughly NNW-SSE) appears in figure 12.

Figure 12. A sketch depicting an approximately NNW (to the left) to SSE (to the right) cross-section across Nishinoshima (blue indicates sea water) portraying some historical stages of growth. The label "Current Nishinoshima" refers to the pre-existing island prior to and in the early stages of the 2013 eruption. Other labels indicate (a) "Nishinoshima before 1973" (also see 1911 bathymetric map in figure 11), (b) flanking material added to Nishinoshima as it "Emerged during the 1973-74 eruption" (also see 1992 bathymetric map in figure 11), and (c) Niijima "Emerging during ongoing eruption" (red area emerging from the sea early in the 2013 eruption). Original drawing courtesy of The Asahi Shimbun (2013).

References. Aoki, H., and Tokai University Research Group for Marine Volcano, 1983, Petrochemistry of the Nishinoshima Islands, La mer, v. 22, pp. 248-256.

Earth of Fire: Actualité volcanique, Article de fond sur étude de volcan, tectonique, récits et photos de voyage [Volcano News, Feature Article on study of volcanos, tectonics, travel stories and photos], 2013, Evolution of Nishino-shima's eruption, Earth-of-Fire web site (URL: http://www.earth-of-fire.com/page-8837676.html).

Frisk, A., 2013 (21 November), WATCH: Incredible video, photos show new island forming off Japan after volcanic eruption, Global News (URL: http://globalnews.ca/news/981245/watch-incredible-video-photos-show-new-island-forming-off-japan-after-volcanic-eruption/ ).

Geological Survey of Japan, 2013, Nishinoshima (URL: https://gbank.gsj.jp/volcano/Quat_Vol/volcano_data/G22.html).

Japan Coast Guard, 1993, 1:50,000 basic map of "Nishino-shima."

Kodaira, S., Sato, T., Takahashi, N., Miura, S., Tamura, Y., Tatsumi, Y., and Kaneda, Y., 2007, New seismological constraints on growth of continental crust in the Izu-Bonin intra-oceanic arc, Geology, v. 35, no. 11, pp. 1031-1034 (doi: 10.1130/G23901A.1).

Kurtenbach, E., 2013 (21 November), Volcano raises new island far south of Japan, AP (Associated Press) (URL: http://news.yahoo.com/volcano-raises-island-far-south-japan-054228644.html).

Ossaka, J., 1973, On the submarine eruption of Nishinoshima, Bulletin of the Volcanological Society of Japan, v. 18, no. 2, p. 97-98, 173-174.

Pfeiffer, T., 2014 (21 February), Nishinoshima volcano (Izu Islands, Japan): island has doubled in elevation, Volcano Discovery web site (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/nishino-shima/news/42781/Nishino-Shima-volcano-Izu-Islands-Japan-island-has-doubled-in-elevation.html).

Shun, N., 2014, Kaitei chikei (bottom topography), Nishinoshima Kazan (in Japanese), Geological Survey of Japan web site (URL: https://gbank.gsj.jp/volcano/Act_Vol/nishinoshima/page3.html).

The Asahi Shimbun, 2013 (22 November), Japan counts on survival of new island to expand territorial waters (URL: https://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201311220084).

Information Contacts: Japan Coast Guard (JCG) (URL: www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp); MODVOLC, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program web site (URL: http://www.volcano.si.edu); ANN (All Nippon News Network) (URL: https://www.youtube.com/user/ANNnewsCH); VolcanoCafe web site (URL: http://volcanocafe.wordpress.com); Earth of Fire web site (URL: http://www.earth-of-fire.com/); Demis web site (URL: http://www.demis.nl/home/pages/Gallery/examples.htm.).

The small island of Nishinoshima was recently enlarged when it was joined to several new islands that formed during an eruption in 1973-74. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The 700-m-wide island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2013 Nov 20 2014 Sep 16 (continuing) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Offshore to the SE (Niijima)
[ 2001 Jan ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1986 ] [ 1990 ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1985 Dec 2 ] [ 1985 Dec 2 ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1983 ] [ 1984 ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1982 Apr ] [ 1982 Apr ] Uncertain 0  
[ 1980 Jul 7 ] [ 1981 (?) ] Uncertain 0   South, east, and west sides
[ 1978 Nov 16 ] [ 1979 (?) ] Uncertain 0   6.5 km NW of Nishino-shima
[ 1975 ] [ 1977 ] Uncertain 0  
1973 Apr 12 1974 May 5 ± 4 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations East of Nishino-shima

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Synonyms

Nisino-sima | Nishino-shima
A submarine explosion from Nishino-shima breaches the surface on October 9, 1973. Steam trails behind individual ejected hot blocks at the margin of the plume. Submarine eruptions began on April 12, 1973. On September 11 a new island was first seen. Lava flows began in September, and three new islands were formed, which joined together during October-November 1973 forming Nishino-shima-shinto. The new island itself was connected to the pre-existing Nishino-shima Island by wave activity after the eruption ended.

Photo courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency, 1973.

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Bloomer S H, Stern R J, Smoot N C, 1989. Physical volcanology of the submarine Mariana and Volcano arcs. Bull Volc, 51: 210-224.

Japan Meteorological Agency, 1996. National Catalogue of the Active Volcanoes in Japan (second edition). Tokyo: Japan Meteorological Agency, 502 p (in Japanese).

Japan Meteorological Agency, 2013. National Catalogue of the Active Volcanoes in Japan (fourth edition, English version). Japan Meteorological Agency.

Nakano S, Yamamoto T, Iwaya T, Itoh J, Takada A, 2001-. Quaternary Volcanoes of Japan. Geol Surv Japan, AIST, http://www.aist.go.jp/RIODB/strata/VOL_JP/.

Smithsonian Institution-CSLP, 1968-75. [Event notification cards]. Center for Short-Lived Phenomena (CSLP) Event Cards.

Volcano Types

Caldera
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Crustal thickness unknown

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
0
0
0
0

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Nishinoshima Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.