Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, experienced one of its most powerful eruptions in decades Sunday, sending an ash plume thousands of feet into the air.
The volcano, located in the far southwestern part of Japan’s mainland on the island of Kyushu, began to erupt at 4:31 p.m. local time Sunday (3:31 a.m. EDT U.S. time). The smoke plume eventually reached a height of 5,000 meters (approximately 16,000 feet), according to the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory. Public broadcaster NHK reported it was the volcano’s tallest ash plume since records began in 1955.
Visibility in the city of Kagoshima, where the volcano sits, deteriorated quickly as ash spread into populated portions of the city of 600,000 residents, according to the English-language NHK World website. NHK World said a pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving current of gas and rock, was observed along a one-kilometer (0.6-mile) swath on the southeast flank of the mountain.
Read the rest of the story: Sakurajima Volcano Erupts in Japan: Largest Eruption in Decades Sends Ash Plume Thousands of Feet High.