Articles | Volume 1
01 Sep 2005
 | 01 Sep 2005

Scientific Results of Conduit Drilling in the Unzen Scientific Drilling Project (USDP)

S. Nakada, K. Uto, S. Sakuma, J. C. Eichelberger, and H. Shimizu

Abstract. Directional drilling at Unzen Volcano in Japan during mid of 2004 penetrated the magma conduit and successfully recovered samples of the lava dike that is believed to have fed the 1991–1995 eruption. The dike was sampled about 1.3 km below the volcano’s summit vent and is intruded into a broader conduit zone that is 0.5 km wide. This zone consists of multiple older lava dikes and pyroclastic veins and has cooled to less than 200 ˚C. The lava dike sample was unexpectedly altered, suggesting that circulation of hydrothermal fluids rapidly cools the conduit region of even very active volcanoes. It is likely that seismic signals monitored prior to emergence of the lava dome reflected fracturing of the country rocks, caused by veining as volatiles escaped predominantly upward, not outward, from the rising magma. Geophysical and geological investigation of cuttings and core samples from the conduit and of bore-hole logging data continues.