Mount Fuji seen from Kinegawa, a village on the far east side of Edo. Colour woodcut by Hiroshige, 1852.  1852
Mount Fuji seen from Kinegawa, a village on the far east side of Edo. Colour woodcut by Hiroshige, 1852.
Image V0047279, Wellcome Library, London.

Fuji is one of the most iconic and easily recognised volcanoes in the world. It lies in Honshu island, Japan, a little south of Greater Tokyo: one of the largest urban centres in the world with a population of around 35 million.

Geological Setting

Fuji (or Fujisan) is a classical stratovolcano, but its plate tectonic setting is quite complicated. It lies on the Eurasian tectonic plate, with the Philippines Sea Plate subducting to the south, and the Pacific Plate subducting to the north.

How does Fuji stack up as a Top Trumps Volcano?

The historical record of activity at Fuji is long, with eruptions known since 781 AD, and many more eruptions known from the geological record. Fuji last erupted in December 1707.

Explosivity (Volcanic Explosivity Index) – 5. The largest eruption of the past 3000 years was also the last eruption of Fuji, in 1707.

Height – 3776 m. Fuji is a magnificent volcanic structure, and is the highest mountain in Japan.

Deadliness. 0. There were no recorded deaths after the 1707 eruption, even though it spread volcanic ash across a wide area of what would today be Greater Tokyo.

Wow factor – 100. Fuji is unbeatable when it comes to the Wow factor!

Unpredictability – 34. The long and well studied record of past eruptions means that the unpredictability is relatively low.

Devastation Potential – 320. The next eruption of Fuji could certainly cause widespread disruption, particularly if winds blow ash across Tokyo.

Fun fact – Fuji may be the source of the oldest known Sci-Fi story: the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, which dates from the 9th or 10th century.

General Resources about Fuji.

There are some very useful pages on Fuji hosted by VolcanoDiscovery.com, and by National Geographic Education.

The volcanofiles maintain a set of pages which describe their ongoing work on Erebus.