This news release is available in Japanese.
Home to approximately 7% of the earth's volcanoes, Japan is one of the most volcanic countries in the world. Although the nation faces the challenge of dealing with volcanic activity and disasters caused by eruptions, Japan has also enjoyed the benefits of volcanoes: ore deposits of gold, silver, and bronze have provided the fuel for modernization since the start of the Meiji era (1868).
Today, the rare earth elements in volcanic undersea mineral deposits continue to attract attention, and there is a growing demand for skilled marine personnel who can lead their field in the development of marine resources and conservation of the marine environment.
Kobe University has responded to this need by establishing the Kobe Ocean-Bottom Exploration Center (KOBEC) on 1st October 2015. Working with organizations within Japan and overseas, the center will target the Kikai caldera, a submarine supervolcano located south of Kyushu in Japan. Their research has three main goals: to analyze the structure and composition of the giant caldera, to monitor magma activity and evaluate mineral deposits using the world's first submarine volcano network observation, and to use volcanological analysis to reveal the mechanism behind large-scale magma genesis and colossal volcanic eruptions.