Asian Volcano: Pacific Ring of Fire Heats Up Again

Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines – 3 of the 15 major countries in the Pacific Ring of Fire — are experiencing volcanic eruptions again.

Japan’s Asama which is located near Tokyo exploded on Tuesday. But there was low visibility due to weather. And the explosion did not seem powerful, causing only ash fall. Still, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned the public to take caution since it might lead to a more serious eruption. Tourist have also been forbidden to go near the volcano.

Indonesia’s Sinabung is another volcano that’s causing concern. Periodic collapse of its dome marked the expected eruption, with pyroclastic flows sweeping down. Residents near Sinabung have been evacuated. Indonesia regularly faces this kind of problem, accommodating thousands and thousands of evacuees due to volcanic alarms.

The Philippines is also experiencing volcanic activity from Mount Bulusan. But volcanologists don’t expect the event would lead to a big eruption. Its signs are similar to what had happened with Bulusan in 2011, just insignificant explosions.

It is normal in the Pacific Ring of Fire to experience three volcanic eruptions in simultaneous. And some dramatic events could be expected.

In 2013, a new island was created by a volcano in Japan. It’s now called Nishinoshima island. Scientists are studying it to learn how life spreads to new lands without vegetation.

Nishinoshima was formed from cooling lava, which is expected to teem with life in the coming years.

“We biologists are very much focusing on the new island because we’ll be able to observe the starting point of evolutionary processes,” Naoki Kachi, professor and leader of Tokyo Metropolitan University’s Ogasawara Research Committee, stated. “What will probably happen first will be the arrival of plants brought by ocean currents and attached to birds’ feet.”

“I am most interested in the effects of birds on the plants’ ecosystem — how their bodily wastes-turned-organic fertilisers enrich the vegetation and how their activities disturb it.”
The island is now considered a natural laboratory of life.