Smoke and ash grounds flights as Japan’s Shinmoedake volcano erupts

By Billy

Japan’s Shinmoedake volcano — located in a largely rural area some 616 miles from Tokyo on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu — has erupted, sending smoke and ash into the sky.

The Shinmoedake volcano began erupting on a smaller scale on 1 March and some 65 flights have been cancelled in the area.

The 4,600-foot high volcano in the Kirishima mountain range spewed plumes of smoke and volcanic ash around 6,900-foot into the air.

In October last year Mount Shinmoedake erupted for the first time in six years sending up a towering 5,600-foot plume and coating nearby cities and towns with ash.

The Shinmoedak crater was made famous after featuring in the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

An official at the Japanese Meteorological Agency told broadcaster NHK:

The mountain has been erupting for a while, but this is the strongest day yet. This will go on for a while.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency has maintained its warning at level 3 out of a maximum of 5 following the eruption today and is warning people to stay away from the mountain and be careful of flying volcanic rocks within a radius of three kilometres from the volcano’s crater.

In January a member of Japan’s self-defence forces died and about a dozen skiers were injured after a volcano erupted near a ski resort.

The eruption trigged an avalanche, sending rocks raining down on the slopes.

In September 2014, 63 people were killed on Mount Ontake, the worst volcanic toll in Japan for nearly 90 years.

Japan is at all times monitoring 47 of its 110 active volcanoes in case of unexpected eruptions.

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