National

Alert level raised for island volcano in southwestern Japan following earthquake

Kyodo

The alert level for a volcano on an island in Kagoshima Prefecture was raised Monday after a large-scale earthquake was recorded near the crater the previous night, the Meteorological Agency said.

The volcano warning level for Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu Island was upgraded from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5, according to the agency. The new level advises climbers to refrain from scaling the mountain.

The mountain saw a series of eruptions with pyroclastic flows last December and January, but the alert level was lowered from 3 to 2 in June when no eruptions had been observed since February.

The agency currently warns of risks of flying rocks and pyroclastic flows within 2 kilometers of the crater.

“There is a possibility that an eruption will occur of a magnitude similar to the one in January, when pyroclastic flows reached a point 1.9 km from the crater,” an agency official told a news conference.

In May 2015, all residents of the island were evacuated to Yakushima Island, some 12 km to the east, after the volcano erupted explosively. Kuchinoerabu Island is located approximately 130 km south-southwest of the city of Kagoshima.