According to a report published by Japanese scientists, an active undersea volcanic crater could lead to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people if it were to erupt.
Scientists at the Kobe University Ocean Bottom Exploration Center (KOBEC) have located and confirmed the existence of an active magma chamber under the islands and surrounding waters of the Japanese archipelago. According to the reports, the crater measures 32 cubic kilometres wide, and is reportedly the largest of its kind.
The chamber, or giant caldera, was formed over 7300 years ago, and while Japan is a hotbed of volcanic and seismic activity, the spot has a very low chance of erupting within at least the next century. The earthquake that damaged the Fukishima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011 is but just one of many similar events that have hit the region in recent years.
The volcanic chamber is located south of Kyushu Island, and is formally named named the Kikai Caldera.
Scientists have affirmed that there is a low chance of it exploding, but have cast uncertainty over the accuracy of the predictions due to the unpredictability of the seismic activity in the region.
Professor Yoshiyuki Tatsumi who is the head of KOBEC told The Mainichi:
“Although the probability of a gigantic caldera eruption hitting the Japanese archipelago is 1 percent in the next 100 years, it is estimated that the death toll could rise to approximately 100 million in the worst case scenario,”
One of the main reasons for the uncertainty is the fact that this volcano sits between the Philippines sea and the Oceanic tectonic plates, which, according to Geological surveys, is the most active tectonic converging point in the world.
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