At a conference with many volcanologists, what's the best thing that could happen, free beer on a boat? Well yes that happened. Fireworks just for our enjoyment? Well, yes, that happened too. So what you ask...well, an eruption of Sakurajima would suffice I suppose, and WOW it was timed well (for me and others). The activity lasted for more than an hour an consisted of quite a few (around 10ish) individual explosions, the largest of which reached approximately 3 km in height (verified by someone from the Sakurajima observatory). Not only that, there was at least 3 occurrences of visible volcanic lightning. The photo on the right shows the beginning of the eruption, when I eventually trawl through my photos, I hope to find the lightning activity present, fingers crossed! I do have many many photos/videos that I will sort through and post when I can. Weirdly, the very start of the eruption was caught in a photo of me and the volcano (below right), you can just see it as a bump on the right hand slope (just) - thanks Michelle - Vancouver University IAVCEI participant!
Small, bump on right of centre, the eruption start!
However, the day did not just consist of an eruption of Sakurajima, although that was certainly a very important part! A visit to an archaeological dig showed the inhabitants of the area around 9000 years ago, whilst a visit to the shrine was most illuminating. Although I (and I am sure others) were worried about getting the order of actions wrong - approach the entrance, throw a coin in, bow twice, clap twice, then bow again. I think that;s correct...I have to say how excellently organised the whole event was, well done Kagoshima and IAVCEI.
All in all an excellent day topped off with my first experience of Japanese karaoke...great fun but very different. Now back in the hotel room (after getting a little lost on the way back - don't know how it happened). Good night all.