It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(Reuters) - A lack of winter snow on Japan's famed Mount Fuji has sparked speculation the volcano could erupt for the first time in three centuries, but experts on Thursday denied any link between snow and seismic activity.
Much of Japan has had record snowfall in the last month, but recent photographs of the usually snowcapped Mount Fuji show its slopes looking bare.
"A lot of snow fell on Mount Fuji, but it was blown off by strong winds," a city official in Fujiyoshida near Mount Fuji said.
Some tabloids have taken the snowless peak as a sign that an eruption was imminent, but scientists said there was no basis for concern.
Some experts say that it would not be surprising for Mount Fuji to erupt at any moment.
"It's my personal belief that magma build-up inside Mount Fuji has already reached a critical stage," Prof. Masaaki Kimura, a seismology professor at the University of the Ryukyus tells Shukan Post. "Mount Fuji erupts about once every 300 years. And it's been about 300 years since Mount Fuji's last eruption. Volcanoes go in periods where they're active for about 300 to 400 years and then dormant for 300 to 400 years. But, it's a matter of simple arithmetic that Mount Fuji is due to erupt pretty soon."
It seems the natural world fears that Fuji-san is about to blow, too. Since the start of 2004, frogs and stinkbugs once prominent in the area have virtually disappeared. Some see this as a sign that they've sensed something untoward is about to happen and they're avoiding the place like the plague. Observers have noticed this phenomenon, too.
"The most recent change has probably been the sudden disappearance of sparrows around the mountain since about the middle of October," Hideaki Kuribayashi, a photographer who bases himself near Mount Fuji, tells Shukan Post. "Normally, sparrows flock to this place, even in the middle of winter." (By Ryann Connell)
Friday's eruptions occurred between 4 a.m. and 7 p.m. Alaska time.
Similar short-lived explosive activity is expected to continue over the next several days or weeks, observatory spokeswoman Jennifer Adleman said, and additional eruptions could occur with little or no warning.
Alaska volcano disrupts flights. Some flights to and from Alaska have been cancelled after a series of volcanic eruptions. The Augustine volcano has sent plumes of smoke 15km (10 miles) into the sky. The mountain, on an uninhabited island, has been erupting since Wednesday. Scientists said the "eruptive period" might last for months.
Months of rumbling earthquakes warned experts of the imminent explosions - the first eruptions in 20 years