KAGOSHIMA--A spectacular eruption of Sakurajima volcano here sent up its highest plume in recorded history on Aug. 18, the Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory said.
The cascading column of smoke, caused by a massive 4:31 p.m. eruption, rose about 5,000 meters from the Showa Crater.
It marked the 500th eruption this year of the 1,117-meter-high mountain.
Blown by winds from the southeast, a large amount of volcanic ash fell in the central part of Kagoshima city, the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture.
The sky above the downtown area of the city became dark and visibility temporarily deteriorated.
Some passers-by shielded themselves from the ash with umbrellas. In addition, many drivers were forced to turn their car lights on in the darkened driving conditions.
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