Aira Caldera (姶良カルデラ, Aira-Karudera) is a gigantic volcanic caldera in the south of the island of Kyūshū. It contains the post-caldera Sakurajima, which is considered one of the most active volcanoes in Japan.
Space radar image of Aira Caldera, with Sakurajima in the bay formed by the caldera.
|Last eruption||c. 22,000 years ago|
The caldera was originally thought to have been created by a massive eruption, approximately 22,000 years ago. This eruption, whose widespread deposits are generically known as the Aira-Tanzawa tephra, is now thought to be rather older. The tephra eruption is estimated to have occurred 29,000 years ago. The latest/best age estimates derive from cores from Lakes Biwa and Suigetsu indicate an age of 29,430-30,150 years ago. Eruption of voluminous Ito pyroclastic flows accompanied the formation of the 17 × 23 km-wide Aira caldera. Together with a large pumice fall, these amounted to approximately 400 km3 of tephra (VEI 7).
The major city of Kagoshima and the 16,000-year-old Sakurajima volcano lie within the caldera. Sakura-jima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay.
- Smith, V.C. (2013). "Identification and correlation of visible tephras in the Lake Suigetsu SG06 sedimentary archive, Japan". Quaternary Science Reviews. 67: 121–137.
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- "Global Volcanism Program | Report on Aira (Japan) — 11 September-17 September 2019". volcano.si.edu. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
- Dinwiddie, Robert; Lamb, Simon; Ross, Reynolds (2011). Violent Earth: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Mudslides, Tsunamis. New York: DK Publishing. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7566-8685-7.
- Kawanabe, Hiroya; Nishino, Machiko; Maehata, Masayoshi (2012). Lake Biwa: Interactions between Nature and People. Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media. p. 7. ISBN 978-94-007-1783-1.