Two weeks ago, at the beginning of May 2015, Japanese officials closed the area around Mount Hakone in Southeast Japan due to “gushing dangerous steam” which began to appear rather suddenly from areas which normally don’t show much activity.
New reports today (May 17, 2015), indicate that the area has risen over FOUR INCHES (10cm) in the past few weeks. The sudden rise, as well as the major steaming geothermal activity indicate the near term threat of eruption is growing rapidly.
Video below from May 6, 2015 shows the new steam activity from a water well stack located behind one of the hot springs resorts.
Ground swells near Mount Hakone
“Japanese experts say they have confirmed ground swelling in the no-entry zone on Mount Hakone since an increase of volcanic activity last month.
Officials at the Geospatial Information Authority released findings from data collected by a ground observation satellite.
The experts compared measurements taken on Friday with those from April 17th, before intensified volcanic activity. They found an upthrust of up to 12 centimeters. The swelling is in the southwestern part of a 100-meter radius in the Owakudani valley.
The experts say that ground around the center of the no-go area has also swollen by up to 10 centimeters.
Officials have prohibited anyone from going into an area around the valley after an increase in the number of minor earthquakes on the volcano.
Kojin Wada of the Geospatial Information Authority said he believes local swelling is continuously taking place at shallow depths in Owakudani.
The Meteorological Agency has warned of possible small eruptions and falling rocks in the Owakudani area.”
Mount Hakone is an ancient volcano located 45 miles Southwest of Tokyo Japan, and has not shown activity in over 800 years (since the middle ages 12-13th century A.D.).
In modern times, Mount Hakone has become a popular tourist destination for the regional hot springs, and a popular recreational area for locals.
These hot springs, and hiking areas have been designated “off limits” for non-authorized personnel due to the threat of eruption.