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No injuries reported after volcano erupts on Kuchinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture

Kyodo

A volcano on an island in Kagoshima Prefecture erupted early Monday, the Meteorological Agency said, with no immediate reports of injuries.

Pyroclastic flows — observed there for the first time since Jan. 29 last year — reached around 900 meters southwest of the crater, while ash and smoke rose to an altitude of some 7,000 meters after the 5:30 a.m. eruption of Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu Island, according to the agency.

Rocks were thrown around 600 meters from the crater. The agency maintained the current alert level of 3 on its scale of 5, which advises climbers not to scale the mountain. The alert was raised from level 2 in October following a major earthquake.

The agency warned of the potential for big rocks being hurled into the air and of pyroclastic flows within about a 2-kilometer radius of the crater, adding that volcanic ash and small rocks can travel far downwind.

Kuchinoerabu Island, some 130 km south-southwest of the city of Kagoshima, covers 36 square km. It had a population of 100 as of last December.

In May 2015, all 137 islanders were evacuated to Yakushima island, some 12 km to the east, following explosive eruptions from the volcano. The majority returned by June 2016, when evacuation orders had been lifted for all areas on the islet.

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