Japan Quake Rattled Volcano Into 'Critical State'

Pressure has increased under Mount Fuji

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2014 8:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – As if Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami didn't wreak enough havoc, the country could be facing an additional threat from it: The threat from Mount Fuji, an active volcano, has grown, a study says. The earthquake boosted the pressure under the newly listed World Heritage site, researchers find, per the Guardian. "Our work does not say that the volcano will start erupting, but it does show that it's in a critical state," the scientists note. They reached their conclusions by using Japan's vast trove of geological data following the quake, investigating it for disturbances.

The earthquake hurt the Earth's crust most in the area around the volcano. "We cannot establish a direct relation of cause and effect between quakes and volcanic eruptions, even if statistically the former lead to an increase in the latter," a researcher says. What's more, the data can't say "when an eruption will occur or what size it will be," he tells the Daily Mail. "All we can say is that Mount Fuji is now in a state of pressure, which means it displays a high potential for eruption." Fuji last erupted in 1707, sending ash as far as Tokyo, more than 60 miles away. That eruption occurred 49 days after an earthquake. (Meanwhile, the Sendai Nuclear Power Station today became Japan's first nuclear plant to pass post-Fukushima safety regulations, reports the AP.)

An aviator flies by Mount Fuji in Japan.   (AP Photo/Katsuhiko Tokunaga, Breitling)
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