2014 Mount Ontake eruption

2014 Mount Ontake eruption
Worldview 20140928 Mount Ontake Japan.jpg
An overview of Mt Ontake eruption
VolcanoMount Ontake
Start dateSeptember 27, 2014 (2014-09-27)[1]
End dateOctober 14, 2014 (2014-10-14)[1]
TypePhreatic eruption
LocationBorder of Nagano and Gifu prefectures, island of Honshū, Japan
35°53′36″N 137°28′45″E / 35.89333°N 137.47917°E / 35.89333; 137.47917Coordinates: 35°53′36″N 137°28′45″E / 35.89333°N 137.47917°E / 35.89333; 137.47917
Impact63 dead (inclusive of five un-recovered bodies)[2]

A volcanic eruption of Mount Ontake (御嶽山, Ontake-san) took place on September 27, 2014, killing 63 people. Mount Ontake is a volcano located on the Japanese island of Honshu around 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of Nagoya and around 200 km (120 mi) west of Tokyo. It was the first fatal volcanic eruption in Japan since the 1991 collapse of a lava dome at Mount Unzen,[3][4][5] and the deadliest volcanic eruption in Japan since Torishima killed an estimated 150 people in 1902.


Volcanic earthquake

The volcanic eruption happened at 11:52 Japan Standard Time (UTC+9).[6][7] There were no significant earthquakes that might have warned authorities in the lead up to the phreatic eruption—caused by ground water flashing to steam in a hydrothermal explosion.[8] The mountain is a popular tourist attraction for hikers, being considered good for beginner climbers and relatively safe, and the weather was also good, so there were several hundred people on its slopes at the time.[9][10] The police said that they were searching for people remaining on the mountain. By 17:00 the police reported that three people were missing and were believed to be under ash. Another person was rescued from under the volcanic ash, but remained unconscious. Six people were injured, one by flying rocks.[11]

By 19:30, the number of people believed to remain buried in ash rose to six. Nine people had been reported to be injured, five of whom had fractured bones.[12] Later, at least 40 people were reported to be injured, and another 32 were believed to be missing. The JSDF began carrying out helicopter searches for missing people.[13] One woman was reported to have died from the eruption.[14][15]

Mount Ontake seen from Kurakake Pass on October 11, 2014.

On September 28, the police reported that over 30 people had been found in "cardiac arrest" near the summit.[16] Japanese emergency services often refer to people who show no vital signs, and are apparently dead, as being in cardiac arrest, as legally, only an authorised physician can pronounce a person dead.[10][16] By September 29, a total of 36 bodies had been found, and 12 people had been pronounced dead; the search was suspended due to dangerous conditions, including hydrogen sulfide gas spewing from the mountain.[17] On September 30, fears of escalating volcanic activity on Mount Ontake continued to hinder rescue efforts.[18]

On October 1, 2014, eleven new bodies were discovered by rescuers on the slopes of Mount Ontake after searching in previously unexplored areas of the ash-covered peak, bringing the total body count from 36 to 47; a revision after an erroneous initial count of 48.[19][20]

On October 4, 2014, four new bodies were discovered by rescuers on the slopes of Mount Ontake after searching in previously unexplored areas away from trekking roads.[21] Those four were confirmed to have died.[22]

Typhoon Phanfone prevented searching activities from October 5 till 6.[23] On October 7, three more bodies were discovered, bringing the total of confirmed deaths to 54.[24] As of October 11, the death toll was at 56.[25] The victims of the Mount Ontake eruption were mourned on October 27, as authorities and residents marked a month since the volcano killed 57 people and left six others missing.[26]


On January 25, 2017, bereaved families of five victims filed a lawsuit against the country and Nagano prefecture, seeking damages of 150 million yen. They argued that the warning level should have been raised prior to the eruption.[27][28] The government said that the Japan Meteorological Agency had not raised the warning level even though earthquake levels were slightly elevated, because the warning level was based on additional data and historical activity.[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Ontakesan". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  2. ^ "Helium anomaly preceded Mount Ontake eruption". Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo. August 24, 2015.
  3. ^ "Japan volcano: 31 hikers feared dead after sudden eruption of Mount Ontake". The Independent.
  4. ^ "31 Feared Dead in Japan Volcano Eruption". The Daily Beast.
  5. ^ "Rescuers find 30 dead of 'cardiac arrest' near summit of volcano". IB Times.
  6. ^ 噴火時刻、1分早める 気象庁が修正 (in Japanese). sankei news. September 28, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-09-29. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "御嶽山が噴火 火口から4キロ程度は警戒を". NHK. September 27, 2014. Archived from the original on September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "Experts warn of further eruptions". September 28, 2014. Archived from the original on October 2, 2014.
  9. ^ "日 온타케산, 초보자도 등반하기 좋은 일본 명산". 뉴스1 코리아. September 28, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Информация о выживших на вершине японского вулкана Онтакэ не подтвердилась (in Russian). ITAR TASS.
  11. ^ "3 buried under volcanic ash". NHK. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "御嶽山噴火、7人が灰に埋まる 山に残留44人 警察庁". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  13. ^ "Japanese troops head for volcano after eruption to search for missing climbers". Chatham Daily News. Ontario. September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  14. ^ "Japan volcano Mount Ontake erupts, injuring at least 40". CBC News. Associated Press. September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  15. ^ "Japanese volcano kills one, over 30 seriously injured". Reuters. September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Rescuers find more than 30 hikers in 'cardiac arrest' on Japan's Mt Ontake after sudden volcanic eruption". ABC News. September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  17. ^ "Five more bodies found on Japan's Mount Ontake after eruption". Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  18. ^ "Fears of escalating volcanic activity on Mt. Ontake hinder rescue efforts". Mainichi Japan. September 30, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  19. ^ "UPDATE: Death toll from Mt. Ontakesan eruption hits 47, worst in postwar period". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on October 1, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  20. ^ 御嶽山噴火、死者47人に 発生5日、新たに11人発見 [Mount Ontake, 11 newly discovered bodies, totaling 47 deaths] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  21. ^ 御嶽山の噴火、死者50人に 台風接近で捜索難航の恐れ (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  22. ^ 御嶽山の噴火 死者51人に (in Japanese). NHK NEWS WEB. Archived from the original on 2014-10-05. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  23. ^ "御嶽山捜索、2日連続で中止…台風18号影響". Yomiuri Shimbun. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  24. ^ "3 more bodies found on Mt. Ontake as search resumes, toll at 54". Mainichi Shimbun. Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  25. ^ "Death Toll from Mount Ontake Eruption Rises to 56". Jiji Press. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  26. ^ "Ontake victims mourned a month after eruption as tourism industry scrambles to recover". The Japan Times. 2014-10-27.
  27. ^ 御嶽山噴火災害で遺族が国と長野県を提訴 「国は警戒レベル上げず」「県は地震計の故障を放置」. Sankei News (in Japanese). 2017-01-17.
  28. ^ "Bereaved families of Mt. Ontake volcano eruption victims to sue state, Nagano Pref". The Mainichi. 2017-01-18.
  29. ^ 国・県「警戒レベル」反論 御嶽山噴火訴訟 準備書面を提出 長野. Sankei News (in Japanese). 2014-01-30.

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