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4 deaths confirmed; 27 other climbers feared dead on erupting volcano


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The events on Ontake is very tragic, but since this had occurred before there should have been better monitoring for such a reoccurrence. Now that there have been more deaths on this volcano will things settle back to "normal"; until there is another eruption and more deaths for the sake of tourist dollars? Furthermore, I find it interesting that Krakatoa was mentioned in the article. Krakatoa, a volcanic island in the Straits of Sumatra that exploded in the late 1800's that was visible seen from the west coast of the US, and a tsunami that swept thousands to their deaths when the population was less than what it is today. Although, the island had fragmented into smaller islands, the island has been reformulating itself into a whole again, so how long will it be till the island is made whole and the island of Krakatoa turns into a megaton bomb racking havoc on that part of the globe; or around the world. Are we prepared for such a devastation, and are we entering a new phrase of Vulcanization of our own Mother Earth?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ CraigHicks You're right; it's a beautiful area, but it's not guaranteed safe all of the time...just like many of the volcanic peaks,including,unfortunately, Ontake.

Once when I climbed Asama-yama in the late '70s there was a sign near the top telling climbers to go no farther because of danger from gas. That apparently comes and goes with the mood of the mountain. The boulders you mention are thought-provoking to say the least: some are huge, and they were thrown quite far.

You might be interested in this: http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2009/12/asama-volcano-museum-2-history-of-the-haikyo/#sthash.TGRXO2kl.dpbs

In the '82 eruption, my car in Shibuya was covered in ash.

It's not easy to predict eruptions, although sometimes increased/frequent tremors may be warnings. The people in the area, whether Ontake, Karuizawa/Asama, or even Fuji-san, who make their livelihood from visiting hikers/tourists of course want to see no injuries or deaths, but neither do they welcome false alarms that keep visitors away even when it's actually safe..

After the mid-December '86 eruption of Mt. Mihara, I visited Oshima the following April, when there was no more significant volcanic activity. We were virtually the only tourists on the island, and definitely the only guests at the minshuku where we stayed. It took a long time for the local economy to recover. Naturally, the local people would want any prediction of new eruptions to be timely but reliable...and that's just not always possible.

I feel very sorry for the Ontake victims, and for their friends and families. Some or all of them might have been saved by warnings of an impending eruption, but that's 20-20 hindsight, IMO. The current level of knowledge and technology just isn't yet up to making sufficiently reliable predictions in every case, as far as I can see.

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For the nature loving volcanoe junkies I can recommend Asama-yama on the Gunma-Nagano border. It is on the edge of an even older collapsed volcano which is calculated to have been higher than Mt Fuji. The crater of this older volcano spans a few kilometers and is filled with an amazing variety of flowers, trees, grasses and shrubs which spread out hundrens of meters below in fantastic panorama while you stand on one edge of the old creater. On the other edge, across the crater, is the present day volcano - smouldering and barren of life as Mordor. Everywhere in the area (well outside the crater as well) you will see assorted boulders which have been erupted from the volcano over the years - the sharper the boulders corners the more recently the eruption - an eruption in 1783 sent a flood of magma flowing towards Karuizawa swallowing 1400 people in its path.

When I went last there was a Volcano museum (kazan-kan) in the crater with a live in caretaker, and if you carried firewood from the edge of the park to his museum he would give you a cup of tea (probably even without the firewood). Although camping is not allowed in the crater, he said he had put people up in the museum if they really wanted to stay.

It it one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Japan, and would recommend it to anybody willing to take the risk.

Over the past 5 centuries years Asama has erupted in at least the following years: 2009, 2008, 2004, 2003, 1995, 1990, 1983, 1982, 1973, 1965, 1961, 1958–59, 1953–55, 1952, 1952, 1950–51, 1949, 1947, 1946, 1944–45, 1938–42, 1935–37, 1934, 1934, 1933, 1931–32, 1930, 1929, 1929, 1927–28, 1924, 1922, 1920–21, 1919, 1918?, 1917, 1916, 1915, 1914, 1909–14, 1908, 1908, 1907, 1907, 1906, 1905?, 1904, 1903, 1902, 1902, 1900–01, 1899, 1899, 1894, 1889, 1879, 1878?, 1875, 1869, 1815, 1803, 1803, 1783, 1779?, 1777, 1776, 1769, 1762, 1755, 1754, 1733, 1732, 1731, 1729, 1729, 1728, 1723, 1723, 1722, 1721, 1720, 1719, 1718, 1717, 1711, 1710, 1708–09, 1706, 1704, 1703, 1669, 1661, 1661, 1660, 1659, 1658, 1657, 1656, 1655, 1653, 1652, 1651, 1650?, 1649, 1648, 1648, 1647, 1645, 1644, 1609, 1605, 1604, 1600, 1598, 1597, 1596, 1596, 1595?, 1591, 1590, 1532, 1528, 1527, 1518

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Note to self - do not go hiking near an active volcano.

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I'm hoping and praying that all 43 missing hikers will be accounted for today - there is a chance they are sheltering in remote mountain huts, waiting for rescue crews.

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I really doubt that ONLY 4 have died, those others with stopped hearts etc..?? I hope I am wrong, and I hope this is not an OMEN but worse things to come, since these volcanoes are just the tips of the of the CRACKS of the tectonic plates that are UNDER OUR VERY FEET! as for the 4, RIP

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The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan has released photos of mountain taken yesterday after the eruption. It looks as though it is covered in snow. http://gsi-cyberjapan.github.io/ontake/#11/35.8943/137.4767 And I am not sure why the Koreans have the news first but 35 minutes ago a Korean news portal reported that 43 people are said to be missing. http://www.google.com/translate?hl=en&ie=UTF8&sl=ko&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.donga.com%2FMain%2F3%2Fall%2F20140929%2F66799958%2F3

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This unfortunate tragedy may force Japanese authorities to more closely assess eruption dangers based on earthquake swarms around the volcano--such a series of earthquakes have proven to be precursors of eruptions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the last eruption was over 20 years ago. so people should just permanently stay off the mountain? i think you have a higher chance of getting hit by a car while walking to the eki than you do of being killed by a volcano.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I was in Kamikochi with my family a couple of weeks ago. That is such a beautiful area. I never knew there was an active volcano so close by. I have snowboarded down Ontake a few times too. As people say "Ignorance is a bliss". Sounds just too correct now! RIP all the people who perished in this tragedy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Another natural disaster. :(

Before I came to Japan I only knew about one volcano, now there are 3 of which 2 of them have erupted in the last 3 years. pfff, any dormant volcano near Osaka we should know about?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Disillusioned! Agreed! However I wouldn't doubt scientists had some idea there was a pending eruption!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

A really sad event. However, if you climb active volcanoes you have to expect that your luck will only last so long.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Such a frightening experience.

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