Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 243–262

Sequence and eruptive style of the 1783 eruption of Asama Volcano, central Japan: a case study of an andesitic explosive eruption generating fountain-fed lava flow, pumice fall, scoria flow and forming a cone

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00445-003-0308-8

Cite this article as:
Yasui, M. & Koyaguchi, T. Bull Volcanol (2004) 66: 243. doi:10.1007/s00445-003-0308-8


The 3-month long eruption of Asama volcano in 1783 produced andesitic pumice falls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and constructed a cone. It is divided into six episodes on the basis of waxing and waning inferred from records made during the eruption. Episodes 1 to 4 were intermittent Vulcanian or Plinian eruptions, which generated several pumice fall deposits. The frequency and intensity of the eruption increased dramatically in episode 5, which started on 2 August, and culminated in a final phase that began on the night of 4 August, lasting for 15 h. This climactic phase is further divided into two subphases. The first subphase is characterized by generation of a pumice fall, whereas the second one is characterized by abundant pyroclastic flows. Stratigraphic relationships suggest that rapid growth of a cone and the generation of lava flows occurred simultaneously with the generation of both pumice falls and pyroclastic flows. The volumes of the ejecta during the first and second subphases are 0.21 km3 (DRE) and 0.27 km3 (DRE), respectively. The proportions of the different eruptive products are lava: cone: pumice fall=84:11:5 in the first subphase and lava: cone: pyroclastic flow=42:2:56 in the second subphase. The lava flows in this eruption consist of three flow units (L1, L2, and L3) and they characteristically possess abundant broken phenocrysts, and show extensive "welding" texture. These features, as well as ghost pyroclastic textures on the surface, indicate that the lava was a fountain-fed clastogenic lava. A high discharge rate for the lava flow (up to 106 kg/s) may also suggest that the lava was initially explosively ejected from the conduit. The petrology of the juvenile materials indicates binary mixing of an andesitic magma and a crystal-rich dacitic magma. The mixing ratio changed with time; the dacitic component is dominant in the pyroclasts of the first subphase of the climactic phase, while the proportion of the andesitic component increases in the pyroclasts of the second subphase. The compositions of the lava flows vary from one flow unit to another; L1 and L3 have almost identical compositions to those of pyroclasts of the first and second subphases, respectively, while L2 has an intermediate composition, suggesting that the pyroclasts of the first and second subphases were the source of the lava flows, and were partly homogenized during flow. The complex features of this eruption can be explained by rapid deposition of coarse pyroclasts near the vent and the subsequent flowage of clastogenic lavas which were accompanied by a high eruption plume generating pumice falls and/or pyroclastic flows.


Asama volcanoClastogenic lava flowExplosive eruptionPlinian eruptionPyroclastic cone

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geosystem scienceNihon UniversityTokyo 156–8550Japan
  2. 2.Earthquake Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyo 113-0032Japan