Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Japanese residents flee as volcano erupts

Officials urged more than 1,000 residents to seek safer ground today and expanded a no-access zone around a volcano that has exploded back to life in southern Japan.

The 1.45km tall Shinmoedake volcano erupted last week for the first time in 52 years.

The volcano is located in a remote part of the Kirishima range on the southern Japan island of Kyushu. No injuries have been reported.

Today, five days after it burst back to life, the volcano was still spewing a spectacular plume into the air, sending a blanket of ash out over a wide area and prompting several hundred residents to seek shelter in evacuation centres.

Officials in the town of Takaharu urged about 1,100 residents to go to evacuation centres because of the danger of debris, ash and landslides.

The warning was not mandatory, however, and some residents were returning to their homes instead.

The Meteorological Agency, meanwhile, broadened a no-access danger zone to two miles from the peak and was planning to send in helicopters to monitor activity near the crater.

Small rocks ejected from the eruptions have broken windows in buildings and cars near Shinmoedake. The eruption has also disrupted train services, closed schools and forced some domestic flight cancellations. Most transport had been restored by today.

Experts said a dome of lava was growing larger inside the volcano’s crater, but it was not certain whether the dome would grow enough to spill over the rim and create large flows down the volcano’s sides.

Avalanches of superheated gas, ash and rock have already been observed.

The Japanese islands are volcanic in origin and dozens of active volcanos continue to erupt with some regularity across the country.

In 1991, 43 people died in the eruption of Mount Unzen, also on Kyushu island.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.