Mount Asama - Eruptive History - Tenmei Eruption

Tenmei Eruption

Mount Asama erupted in 1783 (Tenmei 3), causing widespread damage. The three-month-long plinian eruption in 1783 produced andesitic pumice falls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and enlarged the cone. The climactic eruption lasted for 15 hours; and there were pumice falls and pyroclastic flows. The complex features of this eruption are explained by rapid deposits of coarse pyroclastic ash near the vent and the subsequent flows of lava; and these events which were accompanied by a high eruption plume which generated further injections of pumice into the air.

Isaac Titsingh's account of the Asama-yama eruption was posthumously published in French in Paris in 1820; and an English translation was published in London in 1822. These books were based on Japanese sources; and the work represented first of its kind to be disseminated in Europe and the West.

The volcano's devastation exacerbated what was already known as the "Great Tenmei Famine". Much of the agriculturally productive land in Shinano and KĊzuke provinces would remain fallow or under-producing for the next four or five years. The effects of this eruption were made worse because, after years of near or actual famine, neither the authorities nor the people had any remaining reserves.

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