The aerial view showed smoke rising from the Minamidake summit crater. (Image via The Japan Times)

Mount Sakurajima erupts, biggest in more than 3 years

On Friday, Mount Sakurajima, the most active volcano in Japan located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Southwestern Japan, erupted and spew ashes miles high into the skies over Kyushu. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the eruption was considered the biggest in more than three years.

At 5.24 p.m JST, the 1.040m-elevated Minamidake summit crater spewed a 5.5km ashes into the sky, the first time for ashes to exceed 5km altitude since July 2016. The height of the ashes frightened nearby flights as the rocks might get its way to the jet engines.

The volcano had been erupting repeatedly in 2019, more than 100 times. In two eruptions, the crater spew ashes 3km high from the summit.

JMA warned that the volcanic activity might continue for some time. Should the eruption continue, large rocks and minor pyroclastic flow could come out within a 1km radius of the crater.

Kagoshima’s prefectural government stated that no property damage was reported. However, the volcanic activity was rated at “Level 2” which prohibits anyone from approaching the burning crater.

As the most active volcano in Japan, Mount Sakurajima originally sat on an island. When it erupted in 1914, the eruptions were so big that the lava connected the island to Osumi Peninsula, Kyushu Island.