Japan volcano erupts again for 6th time in southwest region

11:40, February 02, 2011      

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White smoke raises from Mount Shinmoedake in Kirishima mountain range in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu on February 1, 2011. Hundreds of people living near a Japanese volcano that has been spewing columns of smoke and ash thousands of metres into the air were forced to evacuate their homes. (Xinhua/AFP)

A volcano in southwestern Japan erupted for the sixth time since last week on Wednesday morning, with the latest blast rocking the area around the Shinmoe Peak in the Kirishima volcanic group on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures and sending plumes of smoke 2,000 meters in the air.

The local branch of the Japan Meteorological Agency has as yet not reported any avalanches as result of the blast, nor can confirm if volcanic debris and noxious gases were spewed from the crater, although they did say debris could fall on areas within 4 kilometers of the crater.

However, the agency did confirm that no significant damage has been reported following the 1,421-meter-high volcano erupting.

The latest eruption, recorded at 5:25 a.m. local time (2025 GMT Tuesday), follows a massive blast at 11:19 p.m. Tuesday (1419 GMT) which also shot enormous columns of smoke as high as 2,000 meters into the air.

Officials from the meteorological agency noted Tuesday that the dome of lava inside the volcano had expanded to five times the size it was last Friday.

They are concerned that as molten lava is building up in the crater, as a result of subterranean pressure, another blast which is highly likely could send the lava cascading down the side of the mountain.

The volcano, until last week, had been dormant for 52 years.

Source: Xinhua
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