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Temporal changes in thermal waters related to volcanic activity of Tokachidake Volcano, Japan: implications for forecasting future eruptions

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Abstract

In order to detect changes in volcanic activity of Tokachidake Volcano, Japan, we have continuously monitored thermal waters discharging at the western to southwestern flank of the volcano since 1986. The steam-heated waters in the Nukkakushi crater discharged with boiling temperature until 2002. Thermal waters at the Tokachidake spa area have similar compositions to fumarolic gas emitted from the summit craters, indicating that the waters formed by absorption of volcanic gas into shallow aquifers. Thermal waters at the Fukiage spa area were derived from the same aquifer as the Tokachidake spa area until early 1986. However, after that time, NaCl-type thermal water entered the Fukiage spa area during the increase in volcanic activity associated with the 1988–1989 eruption, thus leading to a clear increase in Cl concentrations and temperature. After the eruption, the supply of the NaCl-type thermal water was halted, and the Cl concentrations of the thermal waters decreased. In contrast, SO4 concentrations gradually increased in the Fukiage spa area after 1989, and the temperature has been maintained. These observations indicate that SO4-rich thermal water with a relatively high temperature entered the system instead of the NaCl-type thermal water. As was the case for the 1988–1989 eruption, the Cl concentrations at the Fukiage spa area increased in 2012 during an increase in volcanic activity, implying that the supply of the NaCl-type thermal water had resumed. However, the chemical changes in the thermal waters since 2012 are small compared with those before the 1988–1989 eruption, with oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions remaining nearly the same as those of meteoric waters.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to F. Akita, S. Ishimaru, and M. Tamura for their helpful discussion and supporting the sampling. We thank the Kamifurano Town Office and staffs of Hakuginso spa and Ryounkaku spa for supporting the field investigations and sampling. This paper was greatly improved by valuable comments from Prof. P. J. Wallace (the editor), Dr. D. Bergfeld, and C. Federico.

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Correspondence to Ryo Takahashi.

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Editorial responsibility: P. Wallace

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Takahashi, R., Shibata, T., Murayama, Y. et al. Temporal changes in thermal waters related to volcanic activity of Tokachidake Volcano, Japan: implications for forecasting future eruptions. Bull Volcanol 77, 2 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-014-0887-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-014-0887-6

Keywords

  • Tokachidake Volcano
  • Thermal water
  • Chemical and isotopic compositions
  • Temporal change
  • Eruption forecast