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Science News: May 2004

Author: Nicolas Delerue, Issue: May 2004, Topic: Science News, Science

Computer Simulations of Mount Fuji Eruptions

The National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention in Tsukuba has developed a 3-D software to simulate the lava flows on the slopes of Mount Fuji. Thanks to this software it is possible to predict how much time the lava flow will take to reach the communities living nearby. It is thus possible to choose which evacuation routes are safer in case of a major eruption of Fuji, like the one that occurred in 1707. In autumn 2000 and spring 2001 the number of earthquakes recorded on the slopes of Fuji increased dramatically, prompting fears that it might erupt soon. To address these fears the Japanese government is funding studies to assess the risks.

More details at http://www12.mainichi.co.jp/news/mdn/search-news/899732/fuji20eruption20tsukuba-0-1.html

Mount Fuji: 3 volcanoes in one!

A recent drilling performed at the base of Mount Fuji has unearthed the presence of a rock called "andesite" in the core of the volcano. It was already known that the volcano is made of at least two different volcanoes. An earlier volcano, called "Komitake", is known to have been absorbed around 100 000 years ago when a new volcano called "Old Fuji" appeared. Later, 10 000 years ago, major eruptions transformed Old Fuji into the volcano that we can see nowadays (and called "New Fuji" by the experts). But both Komitake and Fuji produce a rock called basalt, which is very different from andesite. To explain the presence of andesite in Fuji, the best solution is to consider that another volcano existed before Komitake. This volcano has been called "Sen-komitake".

More details at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20040404f1.htm

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