TODAY'S BIG THREAT
Japan’s largest active volcano, Mount Aso, erupted recently sending a massive cloud of smoke and ash almost 7 miles into the air. The volcanic debris and ash column was large enough to cover surrounding cities and coat them in grey soot.
The 5,200 feet tall Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture is on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu. Luckily, no injuries have been reported from the eruption, but damages mainly due to ash fallout are still being assessed. The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the threat to level three near Mount Aso, warning local residents to not approach the volcano. The agency predicted heavy ash fall within 16 miles northeast of the volcano due to dominant wind direction.
“It is extremely rare for an eruption column to exceed 10,000 meters,” said Makoto Saito, the director of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Volcanology Division. There remains the potential for another eruption to occur due to the high activity of Mount Aso. Japan has witnessed several other Level 3 alerts this year alone coming from activity at Sakurajima and Kuchinoerabujima Volcanoes.
You can witness the eruption in the Associated Press video below containing raw footage during the eruption. The footage was originally played on Japan’s NHK public TV station and shows the eruption from a vantage point.
In the second video you can see the ash cloud from Mount Aso as it envelops hikers who look for cover.
Residents of the city of Aso, where much of the ash fell, spent the day after the eruption washing off buildings, plants and streets. Ash was reported as far away as western Japan and approximately 29,000 households temporarily lost power due to the eruption.
Mount Aso also erupted in September of 2015, sending an ash column ~6,300 feet into the air. The volcano is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. The northernmost crater has been actively erupting for the last 70 years almost on a yearly basis. Mount Aso has a large caldera, which the city of Aso lies within, and is the remnants of massive eruptions 90,000 to 300,000 years ago. The caldera formed as the magma chamber collapsed after eruption, leaving a pockmark crater in the ground.
Even though the volcano will likely continue to erupt, regular eruptions limit the build up of pressure and magma within the chamber and lessen the likelihood of a major eruption.