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Japanese volcano erupts, sending ash cloud 16,000ft into the air and launching boulders nearly a mile as residents are warned they may have to evacuate


  • Sakurajima, in the south of the country, began erupting on Wednesday evening

A volcano has erupted in Japan sending a huge ash cloud 16,000ft into the air and launching boulders nearly a mile, with residents warned they may have to evacuate.

Sakurajima, a stratovolcano in the south of the country, began spewing lava on Wednesday evening, with the eruption continuing into today.

Dramatic footage of the eruption shows a column of debris rising into the sky as forks of lightning shoot through the black cloud, which experts say could leave nearby cities and towns coated in ash.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a warning to residents living in the shadow of the 3,665-foot mountain that they should be ready to evacuate if the eruptions intensify.

The volcano, which is Japan’s most active, was previously an island until 1914 lava flows connected it with the Osumi Peninsula. 

Sakurajima, a stratovolcano in the south of the country, began began spewing lava on Wednesday evening

Sakurajima, a stratovolcano in the south of the country, began began spewing lava on Wednesday evening

The latest eruption is the most powerful since 2020 – the last time plumes rose to 16,000ft. 

There have been no immediate reports of any injuries or damage to buildings, local officials have said. 

While it appears violent, meteorologists said that there have been no pyroclastic flows reported so far.

The Meteorological Agency issued a volcanic warning level 3 for the area, urging people to stay alert to the possibility of pyroclastic flows within a mile of the volcano’s Minamidake summit and Showa crater. 

Dramatic footage of the eruption shows the column of debris rising into the sky as forks of lightning shoot through the black cloud

Dramatic footage of the eruption shows the column of debris rising into the sky as forks of lightning shoot through the black cloud

The eruption began at around 6.30pm on February 14 and sent smoke drifting northeast, creating poor visibility in the surrounding area.

The volcano is located 2.5 miles across the bay from the city of Kagoshima, which is home to some 600,000 people.

Its eruption comes after Mount Otake, another volcano around 130 miles south of Sakurajima, erupted on Sunday, indicating an increase in seismic activity.

 



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