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Mt. Io erupts in Miyazaki Pref., alert level raised

Mount Io in the Ebino Highlands erupts on April 19, 2018, in Miyazaki Prefecture, along the Kirishima mountain range that straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures. (Images from Japan Meteorological Agency live camera)

EBINO, Miyazaki -- Mount Io on the Ebino Highland along the Kirishima mountain range erupted at around 3:39 p.m. on April 19, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced.

    The JMA raised the volcanic alert level to Level 3 (Do not approach the volcano) at 3:55 p.m. following the eruption, and is calling for those within a roughly 3-kilometer radius of the volcano's crater to be careful of flying cinders and those within an approximately 2-kilometer radius to be wary of pyroclastic flows.

    The agency also warned of the possibility of small pieces of volcanic rock being carried by the wind and falling on the lee side of the volcano, and said that air vibrations from a large explosive eruption could break windows, like during an eruption in 2011.

    In addition, the agency called for people to be on guard over the possibility of mudslides after any rainfall, depending on how much ash fell from the volcano.

    The alert level for Mount Io had earlier been raised from Level 1 (Be mindful that the volcano is potentially active) to Level 2 (Do not approach the crater) on Feb. 20, 2018.

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