- Sakurajima, in the south of the country, began erupting on Wednesday night.
A volcano has erupted in Japan, sending a massive ash cloud 16,000 feet high and hurling rocks nearly a mile high, and residents were warned they may have to evacuate.
Sakurajima, a stratovolcano in the south of the country, began spewing lava on Wednesday night and the eruption continues today.
Dramatic images of the eruption show a plume of debris rising into the sky as lightning bolts pierce the black cloud, which experts say could leave nearby cities and towns covered in ash.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a warning to residents living in the shadow of the 3,665-foot mountain that they should be prepared to evacuate if the eruptions intensify.
The volcano, which is Japan’s most active, was previously an island until lava flowed in 1914. It connected it with the Osumi Peninsula.
Sakurajima, a stratovolcano in the south of the country, began spewing lava on Wednesday night.
The latest eruption is the most powerful since 2020 – the last time the plumes rose to 16,000 feet.
There have been no immediate reports of injuries or damage to buildings, local officials said.
While it appears violent, meteorologists said no pyroclastic flows have been reported so far.
The Meteorological Agency issued a volcanic alert level 3 for the area, urging people to remain alert for the possibility of pyroclastic flows within a mile of the summit of Minamidake volcano and Showa crater.
Dramatic images of the eruption show the plume of debris rising into the sky as lightning flashes through the black cloud.
The eruption began around 6:30 p.m. on February 14 and sent smoke drifting northeastward, creating poor visibility in the surrounding area.
The volcano is located 4 kilometers across the bay from the city of Kagoshima, which is home to about 600,000 people.
Its eruption comes after Mount Otake, another volcano about 130 miles south of Sakurajima, erupted on Sunday, indicating an increase in seismic activity.