A volcano erupted in Japan today, sending ash clouds to the skies as tourists fled the popular tourist destination.
No casualties were reported immediately after the early-morning explosion in southwest Japan.
Light gray streaks of ash were seen running down the slopes of Mount Aso towards a nearby museum, but did not reach the site.
Tourists were warned not to approach Esso as it released hot gas and ash up to 11,500 feet, sending stones rolling down its grassy slopes.
According to local media, authorities searched for passengers who may be trapped or injured as TV footage showed dozens of tour buses and vehicles parked at the museum.
Japan Meteorological Agency official Tomoki Ozaki said, “Caution should be taken for those near the mountain, “for large flying rocks and flows of pyroclastic material”.
“Caution is needed even in remote areas, as the air may contain not only ash, but also pebbles,” Ozaki said in a televised press conference, warning that toxic gases were also emitted. May be.
The last time an alert similar to today’s level was raised was in 2016, when it resurfaced a year earlier before being dormant for 19 years.
The agency is warning of increased volcanic activity there in recent days, including a small eruption on Thursday.
The massive caldera of Mount Aso dominates the southwestern main island of Kyushu, where the 5,223-foot volcano is a popular tourist attraction.
Japan is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world.
It sits on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire” where a large proportion of the planet’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.
In September 2014, Japan suffered its deadliest eruption in nearly 90 years, when Mount Ontake unexpectedly erupted to life, killing an estimated 63 people.
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