Skip to main content

Continuous thermal monitoring of the 2008 eruptions at Showa crater of Sakurajima volcano, Japan


An infrared thermal monitoring system installed 3.5 km from the Showa crater of Sakurajima volcano, Japan, enabled the capture of continuous thermal waveform data at 1 Hz during two recent episodes of eruptive activity. The eruptions were characterized by a sudden increase in volcanic cloud temperature in the first 2–5 s, followed by gradual cooling over a few minutes. The maximum cloud temperature varied widely between individual events with a range of more than 180°C. A positive relation between the maximum temperature and the exit velocity of the cloud has also been established. At higher temperatures and faster exit velocities of the volcanic cloud, the eruptions tend to be accompanied by pyroclastic density currents. However, no strong correlation was observed in a 6-month period of 2008 between temporal changes in surface manifestation of eruptive activity and the change of cloud temperatures. Identification of factors that control such observed apparent temperatures of volcanic cloud would lead to a better understanding of the thermodynamics of the eruption itself.


  • Chiodini, G., G. Valid, V. Augusti, D. Granieri, S. Caliro, C. Minopoli, and C. Terranova, Thermal monitoring of hydrothermal activity by permanent infrared automatic stations: Results obtained at Solfatara di Pozzuoli, Campi Flegrei (Italy), J. Geophys. Res., 112, B12206, doi:10.1029/2007JB005140, 2007.

  • Harris, A. J. L. and C. Thornber, Complex effusive events at Kilauea as documented by the GOES satellite and remote video cameras, Bull. Volcanol., 59, 49–64, 1999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harris, A. J. L., J. Johnson, K. Horton, H. Garbeil, H. Ramm, E. Pilger, L. Flynn, P. Mouginis-Mark, D. Pirie, S. Donegan, D. Rothery, M. Ripepe, and E. Marchetti, Ground-based infrared monitoring provides new tool for remote tracking of volcanic activity, Eos, 84, 409–424, 2003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harris, A. J. L., L. Lodato, J. Dehn, and L. Spampinato, Thermal characterization of the Vulcano fumarole field, Bull. Volcanol., 71, 441–458, doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0236-8, 2009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iguchi, M., H. Yakiwara, T. Tameguri, M. Hendrasto, and J. Hirabayashi, Mechanism of explosive eruption revealed by geophysical observations at the Sakurajima, Suwanosejima and Semeru volcanoes, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 178, 1–9, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.10.010, 2008a.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iguchi, M., A. Yokoo, and T. Tameguri, Characteristics of ground deformation associated with eruptions at Showa crater, Sakurajima volcano, Abstr. Volcanol. Soc. Japan 2008 Fall Meet., B26, 2008b (in Japanese).

  • Ishihara, K., Pressure sources and induced ground deformation associated with explosive eruptions at an andesitic volcano: Sakurajima volcano, Japan, in Magma Transport and Storage, edited by M. P. Ryan, 336–356, 1990.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, J. B., A. J. L. Harris, S. T. M. Sahetapy-Engel, R. Wolf, and W. I. Rose, Explosion dynamics of pyroclastic eruptions at Santiaguito Volcano, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L06610, doi:10.1029/2003GL019079, 2004.

  • Kamo, K., K. Nishi, M. Iguchi, and T. Takayama, Observation of thermal anomaly area on the ground surface of flank of Minamidake, Sakurajima volcano, using an infrared thermal camera, in The 8th joint observations of Sakurajima volcano, 31–36, 1995 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaneko, T., K. Takasaki, A. Yasuda, and Y. Aoki, Thermal surveillance of the Asama 2004–2005 activity using MODIS night-time infrared images, Bull. Volcanol. Soc. Jpn., 51, 273–282, 2006 (in Japanese with English Abstract).

    Google Scholar 

  • Mogi, K., Relation between the eruptions of various volcanoes and the deformations of the ground surface around them, Bull. Earthq. Res. Inst., Univ. Tokyo, 38, 99–134, 1958.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patrick, M. R., A. J. L. Harris, M. Ripepe, J. Dehn, D. A. Rothery, and S. Calvari, Strombolian explosive styles and source conditions: insights from thermal (FLIR) video, Bull. Volcanol., 69, 769–784, doi:10.1007/s00445-006-0107-0, 2007.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ripepe, M., A. J. L. Harris, and E. Marchetti, Coupled thermal oscillations in explosive activity at different craters of Stromboli volcano, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L17302, doi:10.1029/2005GL022711, 2005.

  • Sahetapy-Engel, S. T., A. J. L. Harris, and E. Marchetti, Thermal, seismic and infrasound observations of persistent explosive activity and conduit dynamics at Santiaguito lava dome, Guatemala, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 173, 1–14, 2008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scharff, L., M. Hort, A. J. L. Harris, M. Ripepe, J. M. Lees, and R. Seyfried, Eruption dynamics of the SW crater of Stromboli volcano, Italy—An interdisciplinary approach, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 176, 565–570, 2008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stevenson, J. A. and N. Varley, Fumarole monitoring with a hand-held infrared camera: Volcán de Colima, Mexico, 2006–2007, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 177, 911–924, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.07.003, 2008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yokoo, A., M. Iguchi, and K. Ishihara, Geothermal activity on the flank of Sakurajima volcano inferred from infrared thermal observation, Bull. Volcanol. Soc. Jpn., 52, 121–126, 2007 (in Japanese with English Abstract).

    Google Scholar 

  • Yokoo, A., T. Tameguri, and M. Iguchi, Continuous monitoring of thermal activity around Showa crater of Sakurajima volcano with an infrared thermal camera, in The 10th joint observations of Sakurajima volcano, 113–122, 2008a (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  • Yokoo, A., T. Tameguri, M. Iguchi, and K. Ishihara, Sequence and characteristics of the 2007 eruptions at Showa crater of Sakurajima volcano, Ann. Disas. Prev. Res. Inst., 51, 267–273, 2008b (in Japanese with English Abstract).

    Google Scholar 

  • Yokoo, A., T. Tameguri, and M. Iguchi, Swelling of a lava plug associated with a Vulcanian eruption at Sakurajima Volcano, Japan, as revealed by infrasound record: case study of the eruption on January 2, 2007, Bull. Volcanol., 71, 619-630, doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0247-5, 2009.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Akihiko Yokoo.

Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yokoo, A. Continuous thermal monitoring of the 2008 eruptions at Showa crater of Sakurajima volcano, Japan. Earth Planet Sp 61, 1345–1350 (2009).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • Infrared thermal observation
  • Sakurajima volcano
  • Showa crater
  • the 2008 eruptions
  • radiative thermal energy