A seismic reflector at 13.6 km beneath western Aira Caldera, northmost part of Kagoshima Bay, Kyushu, Japan is discussed through later phase analysis of controlled source seismograms obtained in the experiment in 2008. A prominent seismic later phase appears at 8.3 s in travel time on the seismograms in northeastern Sakurajima Volcano for ray paths across western Aira Caldera in the seismic experiment in 2008. Back-azimuth of the later phase orientates center of western Aira Caldera and apparent velocity of 3.7 km/s is measured in the seismic array at northern Sakurajima Volcano. The later phase is inferred as P-SV converted reflection at 13.6 km depth from its travel time and a corresponding reflector located in the east off Osakigahana point, western part of Aira Caldera. Negative impedance contrast at the reflector is inferred from negative polarity of the onset of the later phase. Some clear later phases after S arrival, which appears in seismograms of natural earthquakes through trans-caldera ray paths, can be explained as SS reflection at the reflector. The reflector inferred as top surface of a possible magma reservoir of Aira Caldera, from its negative polarity and its location at depth of the west of known pressure source from preceding geodetic surveys.
Akita-Komagatake volcano, located at 30 km west of the volcanic front in the Northeast Japan arc, has been active in the recent 100,000 years with caldera-forming eruptions occurred around 13,000 years ago. The formation history of the pre-caldera stratocone has not been fully established, though it is inevitable to grasp the whole development scenario of the volcano, and also to mitigate potential volcanic hazards in the future. We reconstruct the stratigraphy of the lavas and pyroclastics that erupted during the stratocone building stage, by combining the new field and geomorphological observations with petrographic, lithologic and geochemical data. Geomorphology involves preservation degrees of original micro-geomorphic features on their surfaces, such as lava levees and lava wrinkles. We identify 38 eruptive units that made up the stratocone, including 31 units of low-K tholeiitic (TH) as the dominant magma series, with 4 units of calc-alkaline (CA) series, and additionally 3 units of MD (medium) series that show intermediate characteristics between TH and CA. The volcanic activity of the stratocone is divided into two stages on the basis of the distinctive eruption centers and their resultant contrastive edifices. The latter stage (stage 2) can be further divided into two substages, 2-1 and 2-2, respectively, because of contrastive preservations of micro-geomorphologic features on the lava surfaces. In stage 1, fluidal lava flows, mainly basalt to basaltic andesite in compositions, were effused from the southern crater to form the southern stratocone showing a shield-like gentle slope. There are several observations that suggest dormancy and/or erosion interval might be present between the stages 1 and 2; epiclastic deposits are characteristically recognized immediately below the lavas of the stage 2, and one of the deposits directly overlies a lava flow of the stage 1. The crater moved northward and commenced discharge magmas considerably silica-rich compositions compared with those erupted in the stage 1, and built up another steeper stratocone (northern edifices). Although, the northern edifices ware mainly developed in the stage 2-1, three lava flow units display distinctively better preservation of micro-geomorphic features on their surfaces. The freshness of these topography together with some tephrochronologic data suggest that the final stage (stage 2-2) must have lasted immediately before the caldera collapse occurred ca. 13,000 years ago.
Tephra simulation codes were originally developed to estimate tephra fall hazards; however, existence of several unknown parameters inhibits accurate calculation without elaborate parameter tunings. One of the most sensitive unknown parameters is source magnitude distribution (SMD), which describes amount of particle release as a function of distance from the vent along the plume axis. SMD can be obtained using inversion technique from real eruption products. Inversion techniques are also required to obtain other parameters; plume height of the eruption and the wind system at the time of the eruption are the most important ones among them. Although plume height and wind system can be observable for the recent eruptions, they could have some uncertainties and require further refinements. Additionally, they are totally unknown for unobserved ancient eruptions; however, they are essential parameters to describe eruptions. There are two types of relationship between amounts of tephra deposition and eruptive parameters; linear and non-linear. Inversions for linear and non-linear parameters need different approaches and they are briefly reviewed here. Since SMD (linear) and other parameters (non-linear) are often needed to be obtained at a time, combined inversion approach, which is a hybrid of linear and non-linear inversions, was proposed and discussed in this review. The results of inversion can be evaluated using satellite data and other plume models including 3D simulations, and help to understand structure of eruption plumes. Since accurate inversions highly rely on granulometric data of the surface deposit, further developments of techniques to obtain granulometric data with lesser time and effort are also required. The SMDs obtained by recent studies show logarithmic decay and a classic theory of particle segregation from turbulent plume can be applicable; however, more case studies are needed, especially to evaluate effect of particle aggregation and in-situ observation of falling particle is critically important.
Recent studies proposed empirical equations describing the relations between amphibole single-phase chemistry and the pressure-temperature-compositional conditions of the coexisting melt. These methods are called amphibole single-phase thermometer, barometer, and melt-chemometer, and have been used in the previous ten years to investigate magma reservoir processes of subduction-related volcanoes. Here, the three methods are briefly introduced with their reliabilities. Then, we review the applications of these methods to clarify magma reservoir processes, chiefly using as examples three volcanoes of Kyushu, i.e. the Tsurumi-dake, Aso and Unzen volcanoes. The pressure-temperature-SiO2 content conditions of the melts estimated from amphiboles enable us to determine physicochemical conditions of the end-member melts of magma mixing, even for cases in which the mixed melt is perfectly homogenized and/or the end-member melt is chemically similar to the mixed melt. We could further identify a phenocryst mineral-melt disequilibrium in a magma, which is usually difficult to recognize from petrography and is a potential factor of misinterpretation for magma reservoir processes, based on the results. Furthermore, the estimated pressures constrain the depth conditions of magma plumbing systems, which can be cross-checked by the results of geophysical observations. These results demonstrate the usefulness of the methods for investigating magma reservoir processes.