Volcanic Miyake Island Rocked By 30 Earthquakes Within 12 Hours

A USGS map of Miyake Island where over 30 earthquakes occurred on April 17, 2013

Miyake Island Earthquakes April 17, 2013 – USGS

Around 30 earthquakes, one an initial magnitude 6.2, shook the volcanic island of Miyake, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Miyake Island lies 175 kilometers (109 miles) south of Tokyo.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

The island volcano last erupted in 2000, forcing all 3,800 islanders to evacuate. Many of them have since returned to the island, but the question to ask: is the volcano becoming active again? More than 30 earthquakes occurring within a 12 hour time span is a good indicator that the answer is yes.

Earthquakes and volcanic activities are commonly connected because earthquakes around volcanoes can be caused by the movement of magma. This commonly occurs in the areas around seas and underwater volcanoes.

Volcanic Miyake Island

Miyake Island is famous for being the most active volcanic island in the Izu Islands, which are a group of more than a dozen volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honshu, Japan. Nine among the island chain are currently inhabited.

There are geologic traces of a massive eruption occurring roughly 3000 years ago on Miyake Island, and it is believed that this eruption was the cause of the caldera currently at the top of the Mt. Oyama volcano. The first recorded eruption was in 1085. Some theorize that the volcano erupted 13 times between 684 and 1874, but due to a lack of records, the number is most probably larger.

For now, we wait to see what happens next on this beautiful, volcanic island.