Mount Asama volcano erupts again

The Associated Press

Mount Asama, one of Japan’s largest and most active volcanoes, erupted Tuesday for the second time in two weeks, sending smoke about 300 meters into the sky and spewing ash over nearby towns, the Meteorological Agency said.

The eruption, which the agency said was “small,” sent gray smoke billowing out of the crater for about 10 minutes before dawn.

Mount Asama last erupted Sept. 1 when a medium-size eruption sent smoke and ash thousands of meters into the sky.

The 2,568-meter mountain, which straddles Nagano and Gunma prefectures, is about 10 km from the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture.

The Meteorological Agency maintained its activity rating for Mount Asama at 3, meaning that a small- to medium-size eruption has occurred.

Asama has had several minor eruptions in recent years. In 1947, 11 mountaineers were killed after being struck by molten rocks on the slope.

The volcano’s last major eruption was in 1783.

Japan has 108 active volcanoes. The nation lies in the “Ring of Fire” — a series of volcanoes and fault lines that outline the Pacific Ocean.