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• Shikinejima

July 2005
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Daily Journal

Day 12 | July 29, 2005

Sampling in Aogashima caldera


View from caldera rim

After an early breakfast, the team set off at 7 am for the caldera, which dominates the whole of Aogashima, via the gravity-defying road that encircles the island. We had been informed that there were three or four fumarole fields within the caldera, and our aim for the day was to sample as many of the fumaroles as possible. As we reached the top of the caldera rim we were treated to a spectacular view of the densely forested, steep caldera walls, with the central cone of Maruyama ("round mountain") dominating the landscape.

Having briefly checked all the potential sampling sites, our first location for the day was a fumarole field approximately half way up the central cone. After an hour or two working around the hot fumarole, Alison and Euan revived themselves with a can of "Pocari Sweat", a popular isotonic sports drink in Japan.


Sampling at a fumarole field


Alison and Euan enjoying a can of Pocari Sweat

Introduction Video

We swiftly moved on to the next fumarole field, Misone, located on steep ground on the inner wall of the caldera. The hot, highly altered rocks made it difficult to reach what looked like good fumaroles, but after a couple of aborted attempts we succeeded in reaching the 100°C fumaroles, and were rewarded with an strong smell of sulphur, always a good sign, and excellent samples.

After lunch on the baseball field(!), and more cans of Pocari Sweat, we headed to Funakoyama fumarole field, the last sampling location of the day. We were able to collect more good samples from another 100°C fumarole, also with a strong sulphurous odour. After nearly 12 hours in the field the team returned wearily to the hotel, buoyed by our most productive day of the expedition thus far. However, our excitement was tempered by the prospect of another early start and long, hard day tomorrow.