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Southwestern Japan volcano erupts with pyroclastic flow

Smoke is seen rising from the crater of Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu Island in Yakushima, Kagoshima Prefecture on Feb. 3, 2020. (Image from a Japan Meteorological Agency monitoring camera)

KITAKYUSHU -- A volcano on a southwestern Japan island erupted early in the morning on Feb. 3, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

A pyroclastic flow extending some 900 meters was observed on the southwestern side of 626-meter-high Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. However, it did not reach residential areas and no injuries or damage to residences have been confirmed, according to the Yakushima Municipal Government.

According to the JMA, the eruption, which occurred at around 5:30 a.m., emitted volcanic fumes that reached a height of about 7,000 meters above the crater. Large ash deposits were found scattered in areas some 600 meters from the crater.

It is the first time since Jan. 29, 2019 that a pyroclastic flow has occurred on Mount Shindake.

The JMA has maintained its 5-point volcanic alert level for Mount Shindake at 3 (do not approach the volcano), and warned that large ash deposits could be scattered and pyroclastic flows could occur in areas as far as 2 kilometers from the crater.

(Japanese original by Ken Nakazato, Kyushu News Department)

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