Japan:Mt. Aso erupts, Level 3 volcanic alert issued

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Mt. Aso erupts, Level 3 volcanic alert issued - The Japan News
The Yomiuri Shimbun/Smoke billows from Mt. Aso during an eruption on Wednesday morning.
KUMAMOTO — Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture erupted at around 11:43 a.m. Wednesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Following the eruption, the agency raised its volcanic alert for Mt. Aso to Level 3, meaning people should not approach the volcano. It had previously been at Level 2, meaning people should stay away from the crater.

The agency issued a warning for flying volcanic rocks and pyroclastic flows. An area approximately within a 2-kilometer radius of the No. 1 crater of the 1,506-meter Nakadake peak was closed to the public.

The volcanic alert for Mt. Aso was raised to Level 3 for the first time in about five years, since October 2016.

According to the agency’s preliminary reports, pyroclastic flows were confirmed to have reached a point about 1.3 kilometers west of the crater, and volcanic smoke reached a height of about 3.5 kilometers above the crater.
Courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency
  • A Japan Meteorological Agency camera captures an eruption on Mt. Aso on Wednesday.

A large amount of ash is expected to fall in Aso, Takamori and Minami-Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture.

The agency raised the volcanic alert to Level 2 on its five-level alert scale on Oct. 13 after intensified volcanic activity began to be seen there around 3:30 p.m. the day.

The amplitude of volcanic tremors began to increase at around 2 p.m. Monday.

The agency raised the volcanic alert to Level 3 following the eruption on Wednesday. There were no reports of injuries or damage as of 1:15 p.m. on that day, according to the city of Aso.

Mt. Aso erupted repeatedly in 2016, and volcanic ash fell over a wide area. Volcanic activity continued at the mountain until last year after the No. 1 crater of the Nakadake peak erupted in 2019, affecting tourism and other industries.