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Grant-in-Aid of MEXT (2003-2007). This project focused on elemental processes and source mechanisms of volcanic explosion, including the effects of multi-phase flow and fragmentation. This project also developed an observational robot vehicle named “MOVE.”

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) started to assemble monitoring data in collaboration with universities and institutions, marking significant progress in monitoring ability.

4. International Activities

Universities conducted observation research on volcanoes in Indonesia, the Aleutian Islands, Taiwan, and other areas, collaborating with foreign universities and national organizations through various agreements.

The Unzen Scientific Drilling Project (International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, ICDP) penetrated the conduit of the last eruption and collected conduit samples. These samples disclosed a conduit zone consisting of a dyke complex and revealed that the gas exclusion from magma began earlier (or deeper) than did the crystallization in the conduit. It was concluded that a slow magma ascent was essential for the effusive mode of eruption at Unzen.

Volcanological research in the ocean areas advanced under the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) that started in 2003. For example, a large-scale young lava flow exhibiting off-ridge volcanism was found on the sea floor in the southern region of the East Pacific Rise by a scientific vessel and submersible. A model in which the distribution of volcanoes in NE Japan originated from the finger-like distribution of hot mantle within the mantle wedge was proposed.

The National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) conducted research on Iwojima Caldera with USGS and research on “Development of Hazard Mitigation Methods for Volcanic Lava Flow” based on the Japan-Italy agreement with INGV. The Geological Survey of Japan (AIST) collaborates with the Geological Survey of Austria in aeromagnetic and gravitational surveys to reveal the shallow subsurface structure at Italian volcanoes. GSJ also collaborates with INGV and Italian universities to model gas emitting processes based on the observation of the volcanic eruption plume and further collaborates with the Indonesian Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (DVGHM) to study caldera-forming eruptions in Indonesia.

As quick responses to foreign volcanic eruption, for the 2003 Anatahan volcano eruption in the Northern Marianas, universities conducted collaborative research with USGS and the Emergency Management Office (EMO) in Saipan.

Universities, NIED, and JMA conducted a group-training course held under the auspices of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). NIED dispatched a specialist to Ecuador to advance volcanic observation techniques. JMA collaborated with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), JMA, reported volcanic ash information in the area from Kamchatka to the Philippines and contributed to safe flights of aircraft.

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