Photo: WikiMedia Commons
The last time Mount Fuji erupted, the year was 1707. A lot has changed since lava and ash spewed out of the 12,000 foot mountain. Now, volcanologists think the active stratovolcano may catch up with the times.
The National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention recently measured the pressure within Fuji and the results were startling. At 1.6 megapascals, the pressure in Fuji’s mega chamber has now surpassed levels measured right before its 1707 eruption, reports WIRED. Keep in mind that the reading is 16 times the 0.1 megapascals needed for an eruption to occur.
Some experts believe a “massive eruption” is likely to occur within three years. The warning signs: steam and gas emitting from the crater, hot natural gas and water being released from nearby massive holes, and most telling, a recently discovered 21 mile long fault beneath Fuji. If an earthquake were to occur along the fault line, the eruption could cause Mount Fuji to collapse, sending mud and landslides cascading down along with the lava.
Japanese officials have begun preparing for a possible evacuation of the surrounding Honshu Island region, with a test run scheduled for 2014, Japan Today reports. In 2004, the government conducted a report that estimated an eruption would cost the country $31 billion.
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