Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, erupted about 6:28 p.m. on April 16, 2019, ejecting plumes of gas and ash 200 meters above the summit. That is the first eruption in two and a half years.

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Smoke and ash spews out of Mount Aso in Japan on April 16. Picture by Japan Meteorological Agency.

Volcanic tremors had started about 1:30 p.m. on April 14, and had begun constantly intensifying until a large volume of volcanic gas had been expulsed. At one time on April 16, fumes and ash reached a height of 200 meters, but the JMA said the eruption stopped as of 7 p.m.

The alert level for Mount Aso was raised from the lowest 1 to 2, meaning restrictions would be placed on approaching the crater. Officials restricted entry within a kilometer of the No. 1 crater of the Nakadake peak of Mount Aso.

Aso’s last major eruption occurred on Oct. 8, 2016, when large boulders were sent flying down a crater and a towering plume of smoke and ash rose to more than 10,000 meters in the air.

That was the most violent eruption recorded in about 30 years and came about six months after a series of earthquakes shook a large part of Kumamoto Prefecture.

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[Asahi Shimbun]

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