1991 年 36 巻 1 号 p. 25-35
The eruptive history of Aso volcano for the past 80,000 years is revealed by tephrochronology and loess-chronometry. Around the Aso caldera is a thick accumulation of loess, which is intercalated with numerous Aso tephra layers of limited dispersal as well as three widespread tephra layers of known age that are good marker horizons ; the Akahoya ash (6.3 ka), the Aira-Tn ash (22 ka), and the Aso-4 ignimbrite (70 ka). Loess-chronometry is based on the assumption that, in the Aso region, the accumulation rate of loess has been constant as 12 cm/ky from 80 ka to the present. Most of tephra layers after the caldera-forming Aso-4 eruption are composed of volcanic sand or scoria lapilli of basaltic andesite composition. However the 27 ka Kusasenri dacite (SiO2 = 67%) pumice is a conspicuous exception. The large volume of 5.85 km3 (bulk) and wide dispersal of this pumice suggests that it is a product of plinian eruption. From October 5 to the end of November 1989, the Nakadake crater of Aso volcano was in eruption. Ash was uninterruptedly emitted from a 500-1,000 m high eruption column coming out of the crater. The average discharge rate of ash was 5 × 107 kg/day. The total mass of ash discharged during the two months reached 3 × 109 kg. The penultimate eruption in recent history was June-August 1979, when 7.5 × 109 kg of ash was discharged. Outside the Aso caldera, the thickness of the 1989 ash is less than 1 cm. It is almost impossible to detect an old ash layer of thickness about 1 cm in a loess cross section, suggesting that sedimentary records 10 km away from a volcano are insufficient to reconstruct past eruptions smaller than 1010 kg. Eruptions smaller than 1010 kg can be determined only from proximal deposits. The history of eruptions of Aso volcano over the last few thousand years is tentatively determined from cross sections 2-4 km west of the Nakadake crater. After a 580-1,250 year dormant period, Aso volcano became active about 1,780 years ago. From then, small eruptions each with 109-1010 kg ash discharge have been repeated 48-88 times up to the present. The duration of each eruption was a few months, and the dormant interval between eruptions averaged 20-37 years.