YAKUSHIMA, Kagoshima Prefecture--A volcano on one of the Osumi Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture erupted around midday on Aug. 3, marking the first eruption of Mount Shindake in 34 years.
Located on Kuchinoerabujima island, the volcano erupted at 12:24 p.m. Its plume of volcanic ash reached a height of more than 800 meters above the mountain's crater. No injuries or damage were reported.
The Kagoshima Meteorological Office issued a warning that a similar eruption could occur again.
Kuchinoerabujima island is about 130 kilometers south of the prefectural capital Kagoshima and is administered by the town of Yakushima.
The last such eruption of the 600-meter-high Mount Shindake took place in September 1980.
The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the alert level from 1 to 3 on the scale of 1-5. Level 3 means that restrictions are in place on approaching the mountain.
It was the first time that the alert level was raised to level 3 since a period between October 2008 and March 2009. It also marked the second such issuance since the agency introduced the five-level scale in December 2007.
The town of Yakushima designated a 2-kilometer radius no-entry zone around the volcano’s crater and issued an evacuation preparation notice to the island’s entire population of 77 households and 135 residents.
Yakushima officials said 33 residents had evacuated voluntarily to shelters as of 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 3.
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