Sakurajima volcano erupts in Japan

Sakurajima volcano erupts in Japan

Sakurajima, situated in southern Japan and about 30 miles from a nuclear plant, has violently erupted and spewed fountains of lava in the previous week.

The explosion and its 2.2km high ash cloud, which generated apocalyptic-looking tongues of lightning, was enough for officials to call a level-three alert, restricting access to the mountain; locals and visitors have also been warned to keep an eye out for cinders and lava flows.

Sakurajima is a highly active volcano, with some 700 eruptions last year, the most having occurred in September last year.

Authorities have banned entry to the area, with the current no-go zone expanded to a 1.2-mile radius around the volcanic crater.

Despite what Japan s Meteorological Agency called an explosive eruption, there has not been any report so far of damage and disrupted operations at the nearby power station, as well as any immediate report of injuries elsewhere.

The agency said that Sakurajima erupted at around 7 p.m. local time, with public station NHK broadcasting the lightning and dark gray smoke emerging from the volcano into the dark sky.

A spokesperson for Kyushu Electric Power, which runs the power station, said the eruption made no impact to their plant operations and that they are not implementing any special measure.

No injuries were reported when Sakurajima, on Japan's Kyushu island in the Pacific Ring of Fire, blew its top earlier this week, with officials saying the display, while impressive, was the result of a relatively average eruption.

I don t think there will be any serious impact from the explosion, Kazuhiro Ishihara, a volcanologist at Kyoto University, told news sources.

Sakurajima volcano erupts in Japan