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Tokyo (UPI) Jul 17, 2013
Japan's iconic Mount Fuji could violently erupt if a major earthquake were to rip open its magma chamber, a team of researchers says.
The 12,388 symbol of Japan, registered on a U.N. list of World Heritage cultural sites last month, is an active volcano that last erupted in 1707 in what is known as the Hoei eruption, the researchers said.
Noting the pressure in its magma chamber has been building for the past 300 years, they warned a massive temblor in the area could cause this to be explosively released, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
The scientists, including researchers from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, used aerial photos and field investigations of a number of craters on the mountain to analyze past eruptions between some 10,000 years ago and the 1707 eruption.
Two major earthquakes of magnitude 8 had hit the region prior to the 1707 event, and vulcanologist Akira Takada warned that a major temblor could trigger another Mount Fuji eruption.
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