Case study - advanced country: Mount Ontake eruption, 2014

Mount Ontake, an active volcano and popular visitor destination on Honshu island in Japan, erupted without warning on September 27th at 11.52 am. There were already many hikers walking up to the summit.

Mt Ontake is west of Tokyo, in Japan, western Asia. It sits on the border of the Eurasian, Pacific and Philippine plates.

Impacts

  • 57 hikers died and another 69 were injured as a result of the pyroclastic flows.
  • Heat from the eruption melted surface snow creating dangerous slides and flows down the mountain.
  • Hundreds of people were stranded on the mountain for hours following the eruption, as ash poured over three kilometres down the mountain. The ash collected on the roofs of buildings and they collapsed under the weight.
  • Rescuers were hampered by the eruption, and criticism followed over the lack of warning given to people before the eruption.

Responses

  • Local government and agencies will spend more money and time on monitoring the volcano and greater preparedness for the next eruption.