Eruption of the Bandai Volcano – 7/15/1888

World History |


Imagine a volcano erupting and destroying everything in its path – including villages and the residents of those villages. That was the exact scene of the eruption of the Bandai Volcano, which is a volcano located on the island of Honshu in Japan. The eruption occurred on this day, July 15th, in 1888 and ended up killing hundreds of victims and leaving many villages nearby in ash. 

The island of Honshu is the main island in the archipelago that we know as Japan. The area it is located in is one of frequent geological activity, with most of them being intense incidents with volcanoes erupting and earthquakes. In particular, the Bandai volcano is a very steep volcano and doesn’t have a long history of erupting. In the 1,000 years prior to the 1888 eruption of the volcano, it had only erupted a total of four times. In addition, none of those other four eruptions turned out to be very deadly, especially not as deadly as this one.

The rumblings began at 7 in the morning on July 15th and it only took 30 minutes for the first explosion to occur. It happened on the north side of the mountain and caused a lot of backlash. After that, the second explosion came only 15 minutes later and was followed by a flurry of explosions, totaling up to the dozens. As a result of the explosions, debris was sent thousands of feet upward and the ash cloud and steam was reported to be about 21,000 feet wide. That’s an enormous cloud of destruction.

Since it is a volcano, the raining mud that came down over the villages were burning lava hot and ended up burying the villages with a fiery mud. One village, the Kawakami spa, was found with 100 feet of debris above the ground. At that location, 100 bodies were recovered. However, there were even more that were never found. This was the same across the island of Honshu, with many people’s bodies being completely obliterated by the eruption.

So far, the most accurate estimate we have on the fatality totals stands at 461 people being killed as a result of the eruption, with hundreds of more being reported as seriously injured. Those that were listed as seriously injured were mainly suffering from broken bones, broken skulls and other injuries caused from the rain and flying debris. 

It was also estimated that more than 100 people that were listed as seriously injured were suffering from critical burns.

Geologically, the eruption left a massive crater in the Earth that measured an amazing 8,000 feet. The cloud of ash that was left after it all was seen almost worldwide as it filled the whole sky for months. It was one of the biggest destructive occurrences in Earth’s history and is still hard to believe to this day.

If you’re going to live nearby a volcano, make sure you understand what a volcano is and what a volcano is capable of doing or causing. 

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