One of the world’s largest lava domes has been discovered in an underwater volcano south of Japan, suggesting an enormous build-up of magma may exist underneath it.
The structure, which appears to be growing in size, was formed following the Akahoya supereruption that took place at the site 7300 years ago, leaving a 12-mile hollow called Kikai Caldera.
That eruption is thought to have wiped out the ancient Jomon culture that inhabited the southern Japanese island of Kyushu at the time.
Supereruptions are rare but devastating events that can have global impacts due to volcanic ash and chemicals obscuring the Sun and triggering a “volcanic winter”.
The researchers who made the discovery said there was a slim chance a supereruption could once again occur at the site, releasing over 10 cubic miles of magma in one burst.
While the likelihood is low, the damage that such an eruption would cause makes understanding the necessary circumstances a priority …