Constraining tephra dispersion and deposition from three subplinian explosions in 2011 at Shinmoedake volcano, Kyushu, Japan

Fukashi Maeno, Masashi Nagai, Setsuya Nakada, Rose E. Burden, Samantha Engwell, Yuki Suzuki, Takayuki Kaneko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Constraining physical parameters of tephra dispersion and deposition from explosive volcanic eruptions is a significant challenge, because of both the complexity of the relationship between tephra distribution and distance from the vent and the difficulties associated with direct and comprehensive real-time observations. Three andesitic subplinian explosions in January 2011 at Shinmoedake volcano, Japan, are used as a case study to validate selected empirical and theoretical models using observations and field data. Tephra volumes are estimated using relationships between dispersal area and tephra thickness or mass/area. A new cubic B-spline interpolation method is also examined. Magma discharge rate is estimated using theoretical plume models incorporating the effect of wind. Results are consistent with observed plume heights (6.4-7.3 km above the vent) and eruption durations. Estimated tephra volumes were 15-34 × 106 m3 for explosions on the afternoon of 26 January and morning of 27 January, and 5.0-7.6 × 106 m3 for the afternoon of 27 January; magma discharge rates were in the range 1-2 × 106 kg/s for all three explosions. Clast dispersal models estimated plume height at 7.1 ± 1 km above the vent for each explosion. The three subplinian explosions occurred with approximately 12-h reposes and had similar mass discharge rates and plume heights but decreasing erupted magma volumes and durations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number823
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun


  • Mass discharge rate
  • Plume height
  • Shinmoedake
  • Subplinian
  • Tephra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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