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Mount Asama Volcano, Japan

February 4th, 2009 Category: Volcanoes

Mount Asama, Japan - February 4th, 2009

Mount Asama, Japan - February 4th, 2009

On February 2nd, Japan’s Mount Asama volcano, located in the center of Honshu Island, underwent a minor eruption.

The northwestern part of Tokyo is visible at the upper right. West of this area, Mount Asama can be seen, as can Mount Fuji (almost due south of Mount Asama, in the lower right quadrant).

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the volcano, on the border of Japan’s Gunma and Nagano prefectures, produced ash showers that reached as far as Tokyo.

Officials warned of the possibility of large deposits within a 4-kilometer radius of the crater, at 2,568 meters above sea level.

Smoke was observed moving southeastward, and ash showers were experienced in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, as well as in Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture and Tomioka in Gunma Prefecture.

At the time of the eruption, the area was cloud-covered. In this cloud-free image, taken two days later, there is no evidence of smoke.

Japan – September 8th, 2008

September 8th, 2008 Category: Image of the day

May 6th, 2008 - Japan

May 6th, 2008 - Japan

Japan is a country of over three thousand islands extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. The main islands, running from north to south, are Hokkaidō, Honshū (the main island), Shikoku and Kyūshū. The Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, are a chain of islands south of Kyushū

. Together they are often known as the Japanese Archipelago.

About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use. This is because of the generally steep elevations, climate and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the juncture of three tectonic plates, gives Japan frequent low-intensity tremors and occasional volcanic activity. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times each century. The most recent major quakes are the 2004 Chū

etsu earthquake and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous and have been developed as resorts.

The climate of Japan is predominantly temperate, but varies greatly from north to south. Japan’s geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones:

  • Hokkaidō: The northernmost zone has a temperate climate with long, cold winters and cool summers. Precipitation is not heavy, but the islands usually develop deep snow banks in the winter.
  • Sea of Japan: On Honshū’s west coast, the northwest wind in the wintertime brings heavy snowfall. In the summer, the region is cooler than the Pacific area, though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures, because of the foehn wind phenomenon.
  • Central Highland: A typical inland climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter, and between day and night. Precipitation is light.
  • Seto Inland Sea: The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the region from the seasonal winds, bringing mild weather throughout the year.
  • Pacific Ocean: The east coast experiences cold winters with little snowfall and hot, humid summers because of the southeast seasonal wind.
  • Ryukyu Islands: The Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate, with warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation is very heavy, especially during the rainy season. Typhoons are common.

The hottest temperature ever measured in Japan – 40.9 degrees Celsius – was recorded on August 16, 2007.

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