Volcanologists speculate that a disaster is imminent.
New readings taken by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention reveal that the pressure in Mount Fuji’s magma chamber, at 1.6 megapascals, is nearly 16 times the 0.1 megapascals it takes to trigger an eruption, says this article on wired.co.
The pressure is now higher than it was in 1707, the last time the Japanese volcano erupted.
Researchers have speculated for some time that the volcano, located on Honshu Island 100km southwest of Tokyo, is overdue an eruption.
Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japan has been on tenterhooks, and in May 2012 a professor from Ryukyu University warned that a massive eruption within three years would be likely.
The Institute qualified its warning by noting that pressure is just one contributory factor to an eruption. The 1707 quake, however, was itself caused by a recent earthquake that amped up the pressure in its magma chamber.
“It’s possible for Mount Fuji to erupt even several years after the March 2011 earthquake, therefore we need to be careful about the development,” a representative said.
Thanks to Perdavid, Oz Steamer and Brian Payne for these links
“The biggest problem if Mt Fuji goes up is that it’s next door to one of the world’s largest financial hubs,” says Oz. “If you think the present economic misery is bad, just that one volcano erupting could make things 100 times worse. Now, imagine that there’s a whole lot of Mt Fuji’s go off all around the same time, and it’ll make the “little Ice Age” look like a Sunday Picnic.”