The Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, erupted Sunday evening, prompting evacuations in the country’s southern island.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency said Sakurajima erupted around 8:05 p.m. local time (7:05 a.m. EDT) on the island of Kyushu, hurling large rocks as far as 1½ miles south and sending up plumes of smoke and ash. Japan’s NHK News released a video from the agency capturing the flames from the eruption.
The meteorological agency issued a Level 5 alert, the highest alert possible, to residential areas immediately near the volcano, such as parts of Kagoshima City, to evacuate. The city is home to about 600,000 people.
Evacuees were advised to be cautious of falling volcanic rocks and possible flow of lava, ash and searing gas within 2 miles of the crater.
No injuries, deaths or damage were immediately reported.
“We will put the people’s lives first and do our utmost to assess the situation and respond to any emergency,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters. He called on residents in the area to pay close attention to the latest update from the local authorities to protect their lives.
Officials also warned that window glass in nearby cities could break because of air vibration from the explosion, and wind could carry volcanic ash around the country.
Nuclear regulators said no irregularities were detected at the Sendai atomic plant 31 miles from the volcano, Reuters reported.
The Japanese authorities have raised the danger level of the eruption to the highest since the eruption of the Sakurajima volcano in the west of the country.#volcano #eruption #volcanoes #Climate #weather pic.twitter.com/MPhsvJVCvA
— BRAVE SPIRIT (@Brave_spirit81) July 24, 2022
One of the most active volcanoes in the country, Sakurajima is close to 600 miles southwest of Tokyo and has erupted throughout the centuries, according to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Global Volcanism Program. It used to be an island but became a peninsula after an eruption in 1914.
The Minamidake summit cone and crater has been active since 1955, but it significantly decreased in the second half of 2021, according to the Smithsonian. [USA Today]
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