Mount Shindake rumbled back to life Thursday as a second eruption rocked Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture shortly past noon, the Meteorological Agency said.
The scale of the volcano’s first eruption in 20 days was smaller than its May 29 blast but apparently took from 12:17 p.m. to around 12:47 p.m. to complete, the weather agency said.
Initially, the agency had difficulty confirming the eruption because of bad weather, but a Japan Coast Guard vessel reportedly confirmed seeing small rocks falling while on patrol about 9 km east of the volcano.
The eruption follows the volcano’s mighty blast in May, which forced the sparsely populated island’s residents to flee to neighboring Yakushima Island. Although the agency had said volcanic activity on Kuchinoerabu had halted since last month’s blast, earthquakes started rattling the area earlier this week, with 10 on Tuesday, 31 on Wednesday and seven by 9 a.m. Thursday, the agency said.
Kuchinoerabu’s eruption alert remains at 5, the highest level, and residents in the area have been warned to remain alert for further eruptions.