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• Shikinejima

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Daily Journal

Day 10 | July 27, 2005

Onward to Hachijojima


Aerial view of the Izu volcanic arc

Our rest period in Tokyo came to an end this morning, and we ventured back to the islands to continue our sampling. Even the journey to the airport brought no respite for the busy team as Aya caught up on some work on the monorail to Tokyo's domestic airport, Haneda. We had lunch at the airport and took the opportunity to fill up on burgers and fries before another ten days of raw fish, rice and ashitaba (a bitter, spinach-like vegetable found in great abundance on the Izu islands. The name means "tomorrow's leaf", because you can cut it down one day and it will have grown back by the next!).


Aya at work on the monorail

Whilst waiting for the flight to leave, Alison and Euan had an interesting half-hour conversation with a 'lively' Japanese man, despite the entire conversation being 'lost-in-translation'. We also marveled at a brightly painted airplane, but to our collective disappointment it was not our plane.


A very "animated" plane

Although the flight to Hachijojima lasted barely 30 minutes, we got a great aerial view of the Izu volcanic arc (see image at top of page), which includes the currently active Miyakejima and neighboring Mikurajima volcanoes. In mid-August 2000, a 1.6 km diameter caldera formed at the summit of Miyakejima, and since then the volcano has been degassing nearly continuously, releasing vast quantities of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in large volcanic plumes. The SO2 emission rate peaked in December 2000 with an average of 54,000 tons per day, twice the global emission rate from non-erupting volcanoes before this activity. The total SO2 emitted between August 2000 and December 2003 was 18 million tons. This amount is comparable to the release from a single large explosive eruption, such as that Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines on June 15 1991.

As we approached Hachijojima, we had a clear view of one of the island's volcanoes, and the main town at its foot, before making an abrupt turn to land in the shadow of the volcano.


Aerial view of town at foot of volcano