Skip to main content

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

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11


  • Akita F, Okazaki N, Murayama Y, Ohshima H (1991) Underground temperature change and eruption activity of Tokachi-dake. Geol Surv Hokkaido Spec Rep 20:27–74 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Bruno V, Mattia M, Aloisi M, Palano M, Cannavo F, Holt WE (2012) Ground deformations and volcanic processes as imaged by CGPS data at Mt. Etna (Italy) between 2003 and 2008. J Geophys Res 117. doi: 10.1029/2011JB009114

  • Capasso G, Carapezza ML, Federico C, Inguaggiato S, Rizzo A (2005) Geochemical monitoring of the 2002–2003 eruption at Stromboli volcano (Italy): precursory changes in the carbon and helium isotopic composition of fumarole gases and thermal waters. Bull Volcanol 68:118–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chiodini G, Marini L, Russo M (2001) Geochemical evidence for the existence of high-temperature hydrothermal brines at Vesuvio volcano, Italy. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 65:2129–2147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chouet BA, Matoza RS (2013) A multi-decadal view of seismic methods for detecting precursors of magma movement and eruption. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 252:108–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Craig H (1961) Isotopic variations in meteoric waters. Science 133:1702–1703

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Federico C, Capasso G, Paonita A, Favara R (2010) Effects of steam-heating processes on a stratified volcanic aquifer: stable isotopes and dissolved gases in thermal waters of Vulcano Island (Aeolian archipelago). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 192:178–190

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fischer TP, Sturchio NC, Stix J, Arehart GB, Counce D, Williams SN (1997) The chemical and isotopic composition of fumarolic gases and spring discharges from Galeras Volcano, Colombia. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 77:229–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fournier RO (1987) Conceptual models of brine evolution in magmatic-hydrothermal systems. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap 1350:1487–1506

    Google Scholar 

  • Fujiwara S, Nakagawa M, Hasegawa S, Komatsu D (2007) Eruptive history of Tokachi-dake volcano during the last 3,300 years, central Hokkaido, Japan. Bull Volcanol Soc Jpn 52:253–271 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Fujiwara S, Ishizuka Y, Yamazaki T, Nakagawa M (2009) Newly found 4.7 ka pyroclastic flow deposits on the northwestern foot of Tokachi-dake volcano, central Hokkaido, Japan and reexamination of the eruptive activity during Holocene. Bull Volcanol Soc Jpn 54:253–262 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Giggenbach WF (1988) Geothermal solute equilibria. Derivation of Na–K–Mg–Ca geoindicators. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 52:2749–2765

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giggenbach WF (1992) Isotopic shifts in waters from geothermal and volcanic systems along convergent plate boundaries and the origin of “andesitic waters”. Earth Planet Sci Lett 113:495–510

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giggenbach WF (1997) The origin and evolution of fluids in magmatic-hydrothermal systems. In: Barnes HL (ed) Geochemistry of hydrothermal ore deposits. Wiley, New York, pp 737–796

    Google Scholar 

  • Giggenbach WF, Garcia PN, Londono CA, Rodriguez VLA, Rojas GN, Calvache VML (1990) The chemistry of fumarolic vapor and thermal-spring discharges from the Nevado del Ruiz volcanic-magmatic-hydrothermal system, Colombia. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 42:13–39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hedenquist JW, Lowenstern JB (1994) The role of magmas in the formation of hydrothermal ore deposits. Nature 370:519–527

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hirabayashi J, Yoshida M, Ossaka J (1990) Chemistry of volcanic gases from the 62-1 crater of Mt. Tokachi, Hokkaido, Japan. Bull Volcanol Soc Jpn 35:205–215

    Google Scholar 

  • Ishikawa T, Yokoyama I, Katsui Y, Kasahara M (1971) Tokachidake: the report on the volcanoes of Hokkaido, part 1. Committee for Prevention of the Natural Disaster of Hokkaido (in Japanese)

  • Ishizuka Y, Nakagawa M, Fujiwara S (2010) Geological map of Tokachidake volcano, 1:30000 geological map of volcanoes 16. Tsukuba: Geol Surv Jpn (in Japanese with English abstract)

  • Kasai K, Sakagawa Y, Komatsu R, Sasaki M, Akaku K, Uchida T (1998) The origin of hypersaline liquid in the Quaternary Kakkonda granite, sampled from well WD-1a, Kakkonda geothermal system, Japan. Geothermics 27:631–645

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Katsui Y, Takahashi T, Oba Y, Hirai Y, Iwanaga M, Nishimura T, Soya T, Ito H (1963) 1962 eruption of Tokachi-dake, Hokkaido. J Jpn Assoc Miner Petrol Econ Geol 19:213–226 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Katsui Y, Yokoyama I, Okada H, Oshima H (1987) Tokachidake (addenda): the report on the volcanoes of Hokkaido, part 11. Committee for Prevention of the Natural Disaster of Hokkaido (in Japanese)

  • Martin-Del Pozo AL, Aceves F, Espinasa R, Aguayo A, Inguaggiato S, Morales P, Cienfuegos E (2002) Influence of volcanic activity on spring water chemistry at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico. Chem Geol 190:207–229

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mattioli GS, Herd RA, Strutt MH, Ryan G, Widiwijayanti C, Voight B (2010) Long term surface deformation of Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat from GPS geodesy: inferences from simple elastic inverse models. Geophys Res Lett 37. doi: 10.1029/2009GL042268

  • Miyamura J, Okazaki N, Fushiya Y, Shigeno N, Hashimoto T (2011) Repeat surveys of self-potential in Tokachidake volcano. Geophys Bull Hokkaido Univ 74:1–19 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Nakagawa M, Hiraga N, Furukawa R (2011) Formation of a zoned magma chamber and its temporal evolution during the historic eruptive activity of Tarumai Volcano, Japan: petrological implications for a long-term forecast of eruptive activity of an active volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 205:1–16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakai S, Nishida Y, Yokoyama I (1967) Some geophysical observations at Volcano Tokachi 1966. Geophys Bull Hokkaido Univ 17:33–45 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Rouwet D, Inguaggiato S, Taran Y, Varley N, Santiago SJA (2009) Chemical and isotopic compositions of thermal springs, fumaroles and bubbling gases at Tacana Volcano (Mexico–Guatemala): implications for volcanic surveillance. Bull Volcanol 71:319–335

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shibata T, Akita F, Hirose W, Ikeda R (2008) Hydrological and geochemical change related to volcanic activity of Usu volcano, Japan. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 173:113–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Streck MJ, Dungan MA, Malavassi E, Reagan MK, Francois B (2002) The role of basalt replenishment in the generation of basaltic andesites of the ongoing activity at Arenal volcano, Costa Rica: evidence from clinopyroxene and spinel. Bull Volcanol 64:316–327

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Takahashi R, Nakagawa M (2013) Formation of a compositionally reverse zoned chamber: petrology of the AD 1640 and 1694 eruptions of Hokkaido-Komagatake volcano, Japan. J Petrol 54:815–838

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Takahashi H, Ichiyanagi M, Okazaki N (2000) Dense GPS array around the craters of the Tokachi volcano for determination of crustal deformation. Geophys Bull Hokkaido Univ 63:33–42 (in Japanese with English abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  • Tassi F, Aguilera F, Vaselli O, Medina E, Tedesco D, Delgado Huertas A, Poreda R, Kojima S (2009) The magmatic- and hydrothermal-dominated fumarolic system at the active crater of Lascar volcano, northern Chile. Bull Volcanol 71:71–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Uesawa S (2014) A study of the Taisho lahar generated by the 1926 eruption of Tokachidake Volcano, central Hokkaido, Japan, and implications for the generation of cohesive lahars. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 270:23–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zelenski M, Taran Y (2011) Geochemistry of volcanic and hydrothermal gases of Mutnovsky volcano, Kamchatka: evidence for mantle, slab and atmosphere contributions to fluids of a typical arc volcano. Bull Volcanol 73:373–394

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ryo Takahashi.

Additional information

Editorial responsibility: P. Wallace

Electronic Supplementary Material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.


(XLSX 56 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI:


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