The Meteorological Agency raised the volcanic alert to level 3 as ash today continued to spew from Shinmoedake on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, and residents have been banned from going within a mile of the volcano following its worst eruption in 50 years.
Agency volcanologist Sei Iijima said the eruption did not pose a threat to nearby cities, and a major eruption was not imminent. But he added: ‘You can never say never with a volcano, although the lack of magma movement beneath the surface leads us to believe that this activity won’t lead to a large-scale eruption,’ he told ABC News.
The volcano, one of 20 inside Mount Kirishima, began erupting around 7.30am yesterday morning and by 3pm heavy smoke had risen to nearly 5,000ft, prompting the meteorological agency to raise the alert level.
Volcanic activity is often reported at Kirishima, but this is the largest eruption recorded there since 1959.