National

Sakurajima erupts in miles-high plume of ash

Reuters, Kyodo

Mount Sakurajima shot smoke and ash miles into the sky Friday in its biggest eruption in more than three years, the Meteorological Agency said.

The plume erupted from the volcano’s Minamidake crater at 5:24 p.m., sending smoke and debris 5.5 km (3.4 miles) into the skies over Kyushu — the first time an ash cloud has surpassed 5 km since July 2016, the agency said, warning the activity may continue for some time.

No damage has been reported so far, according to the Kagoshima Prefectural Government.

The agency said eruptions at the crater have occurred repeatedly this year, with ash reaching 3 km above the summit on two occasions.

If the eruptions continue, large rocks could be ejected great distances and small but deadly pyroclastic flows could occur within a roughly 1-km radius of the Minamidake crater, which is at an elevation of 1,040 meters, according to the agency.

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