Mount Fuji 'under more pressure than last eruption'
TOKYO (AFP) - Pressure in the magma chamber of Japan's Mount Fuji is now higher than it was the last time the volcano erupted more than 300 years ago, scientists say, according to a report on Thursday.
Tectonic shifts triggered by last year's huge 9.0 magnitude undersea quake have left the chamber under 16 times the minimum pressure at which an eruption can occur, researchers said.
They estimated that 1.6 megapascals of pressure was being exerted on the magma chamber. Volcanic eruptions can be triggered by as little as 0.1 megapascals of pressure, and the reading of 1.6 megapascals is "not a small figure", said senior researcher Eisuke Fujita, according to Kyodo.
Mount Fuji, an almost perfectly cone-shaped mountain that stands as one of Japan's national symbols, last erupted in 1707, after an earthquake struck and boosted the pressure on its magma chamber, the report said, citing researchers. Scientists say an eruption some time over the coming years is a possibility, but add that heightened pressure is not the only variable.