Mount Suribachi (JPN.: 摺鉢山, Suribachiyama) is a 554 ft high mountain at the southwest end of the island Iwo Jima (now officially Iō-tō) in the northwest Pacific Ocean, under the administration of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan.
Aerial view of Mount Suribachi, photographed in 2001
|Elevation||554 ft (169 m) |
|Prominence||554 ft (169 m)|
|Parent range||Volcano Islands|
|Mountain type||Cinder cone|
|Volcanic arc/belt||Volcano Islands|
|Last eruption||May 2, 2012|
The mountain's name derives from its shape, resembling a suribachi or "grinding bowl." It is also known as "Mount Pipe" (JPN: パイプ山, paipu-yama), since the sulfur gas and water vapor that rolls in from the summit, alongside the rest of the island, give the appearance of a smoking pipe when viewed from the sea.
Geologically, the mountain is a cinder cone of andesite, formed by volcanic activity. It is thought that the mountain is a dormant vent to a still active volcano (designated Iō-tō, the name of the island as a whole). From 1889 to 1957, the Japanese government recorded sixteen eruptions on the peak. One eruption lasted for sixty-five minutes, and created a crater with a diameter of 35 meters and a depth of fifteen meters on the runway near the former World War II airfield. The Japanese Meteorological Agency reported that on May 2, 2012, a small eruption caused water discoloration to the northeast, and confirmed the appearance of a new fumarole.
During World War II, the Japanese built underground tunnel and bunker systems in and on Mount Suribachi. In February 1945, United States Marines invaded the island and initiated a major battle. For the United States, Iwo Jima was an important strategic point between the United States and mainland Japan, a status that resulted in severe fighting that took the lives of nearly 7,000 Americans and 20,000 Japanese. Photographer Joe Rosenthal took his famous picture, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima during this battle.
The film Sands of Iwo Jima, directed by Allan Dwan and starring John Wayne in 1949, follows a United States Marine rifle squad preparing for battle at Iwo Jima. The films Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood in 2006, treat the theme of this Pacific battle and present the positions of both belligerents in this conflict.