Record-breaking eruption of Japanese volcano launches ash 5 km into the sky


Mount Sakurajima, an 1,100 metre-tall volcano in the south of Japan, erupted on Sunday, sending a 5-kilometre-high cloud of ash into the sky — the tallest produced by this volcano since 1955.

To say that Mt. Sakurajima is an active volcano is a drastic understatement. The Sakurajima Volcano Research Center, which has been monitoring the volcano since 1960, says that there have been 7,300 eruptions in the past 45 years. According to Masato Iguchi, the head of the Research Center, there were a record number of eruptions in 2012, and apparently this is the 500th eruption so far this year.

Video footage of the eruption shows the incredible power of the explosion and the effect on Kagoshima city, roughly 10 kms to the west of the volcano's summit, as the ash cloud blankets parts of the city.

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No injuries have been reported from the eruption, although residents in the area are being warned to wear masks to protect their lungs and to cover up to avoid exposure to the ash.

The deadliest eruption from Sakrajima took place in 1914, when 58 people died. The Sakurajima Volcano Research Center, part of Kyoto University's Disaster Reduction Research Institute, was established to monitor Sakurajima with the hopes of preventing another deadly disaster.

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