STS034-084-036 Kyushu Island, Japan October 1989
The rugged physiography of Japan is captured in this low-oblique, north-looking photograph that shows most of Kyushu Island, Japan's southernmost large island. Much of Japan is mountainous and steep-sloped, geologically young, earthquake prone, and volcanic. Only about 18 percent of Japan's land is usable for human habitation; available arable land for farming is also at a premium. This photograph confirms the lack of habitable space--the extensive darker green areas are hills and mountains; many of the regions have peaks that exceed 3000 feet (915 meters). Highly reflective urban areas appear primarily along the coast and in some valleys. Mount Sakura-jima, located on a peninsula in Kagoshima Bay, has almost daily, and sometimes explosive, eruptions; its ash plume is visible in this photograph.
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