Volcano Erupts in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan

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In southern Japan, authorities are on alert after a volcano erupted on Thursday. Residents living close to the mountain have been evcauted.

One of Mount Kirishima's (pronounced Kee-ree-shee-mah) many volcanoes erupted on Thursday, spewing volcanic ash and rocks across a wide area of southern Japan, affecting the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima.

Authorities were forced to raise alert levels and call for an evacuation of all residents within a 1.2 mile radius of the crater.

The Shinmoe peak caldera spewed hot ash and rocks throughout the night as high as 6,500 feet into the sky, forcing some families living close to the foot of the mountain to evacuate.

By morning, residents as far as four miles away said their windows had trembled and they were kept awake by the loud rumbling sound.

[Elementary School Student]: -
"I couldn't really sleep because the doors were rattling and shaking."

In Miyazaki prefecture's Nichinan City, the fine ash had cast a dark pall across the city forcing residents and children heading to school to wear protective masks. The ash fell thick on roads, which cars then churned up into a fine ash fog.

[Elementary School Student]: -
"I couldn't see the zebra street crossing, so we didn't know where to cross."

Another resident said he even found his car's rear window broken by projectile rocks from the mountain.

[Resident]: -
"It came like a sudden downpour of rain. It collapsed the window of my car just as I opened the door to take refuge."

Many railway lines and highway roads have been closed in the vicinity of the volcano.

At least four domestic flights from Tokyo to Miyazaki have been cancelled.

Local volcanologists expect more activity in the next few days, even if no major eruptions are expected any time soon.

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