Mt. Ontake

Predicting Japan’s next big earthquake–should we worry? Probably

Japan is home to 110 active volcanoes, 47 of which are monitored continually by the Japan Meteorological Association (JMA). Japan also holds seven percent of all the active volcanoes in the world.

Last year, Mount Ontake in Nagano Prefecture exploded without warning, killing over 60 people, many of them hikers. Mount Hakone in the hot springs resort town near Mount Fuji is on level-2 alert. Mount Fuji itself, a dormant volcano and World Heritage site is being looked at with a wary eye by many and authorities are advising hikers to wear helmets, dust masks and goggles when climbing. The volcano that most appears in the news, however, is Sakurajima, located off Kyushu, which is also one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

“Dutchsinse,” a self-proclaimed “News Personality” who has a cult following on Facebook and YouTube gives a near daily video update of volcanic and earthquake activity around the world. He recently highlighted Japan’s volcanoes and earthquakes and warns that pressure building in the region of Sakurajima, along with other multiple large eruptions in the Pacific region, could be a sign of something bigger to come.

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Mount Ontake: some hikers “died taking photos of the erupting volcano”, pathologist says

More details have emerged about the final moments of those who died during the sudden and tragic eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan last month.

This week, pathologists confirmed that of the 56 people who died when the volcano erupted on September 27, 20 were killed instantly when they were struck in the head or neck by falling rocks and debris. One doctor involved in the case told the Mainichi Shinbun, however, that around half of the victims they saw had been taking photos of the eruption when they died.

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Kiso Town: Stuck between a volcano and a hard place

A few weeks after the sudden and tragic eruption of Mt. Ontake, search-and-rescue teams have gradually become simply “search teams” and many families still await increasingly certain bad news.

Beyond loved ones, disasters like this often have a reverberating effect which reaches far out to places we don’t often see. One such place is Kiso, a highland town located roughly 10km away from Mt. Ontake which suffered no adverse effect to business or life during the eruption.

As a town which relies on tourism, the people of Kiso would like to tell you that their town is perfectly safe and just as beautiful as ever. But with so many still mourning the loss of life at Mt. Ontake, every time the people of Kiso try to make it plain that they’re open for business, people call them “despicable” and “heartless.”

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Geographical Survey Institute posts 184 images of Mount Ontake eruption online

Near the top of Japan’s Mount Ontake, whose recent eruption is thought to have claimed 36 lives, rescue teams have been facing setbacks due to the dangerous terrain including flying rocks and poisonous fumes. Around the same time, the Japanese Geographical Survey Institute (GSI) has posted nearly 200 photos of the initial eruption online from 360 degrees around it.

By overlaying the photos on a precise topographical map they hope the data can be valuable to teams by helping them understand the behavior of the plume and conditions all over the area. These photos are available for anyone to see by going to the GSI website, but perhaps its some of the videos posted from the scene online that give a better sense of the disaster.

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Journalism at its worst? Mt. Ontake hiker pestered for information on Twitter

Being a journalist is a pretty thankless job. Especially those who report on war and conflict or disasters, these intrepid reporters risk their lives to bring us the stories. In the case of this past weekend’s volcanic eruption on Mt. Ontake, journalists scrambled to the scene to report on the situation. Or, most of them. Some took the path of least effort and leapt at the chance to do some “reporting” from the comfort of their own home, through social media.

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