11 July 2024

TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) – A Japanese volcano spewed ash several miles into the sky when it erupted on Wednesday, prompting officials to warn people to steer clear of the threat of lava flows and falling rocks, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

Mount Aso, a tourist destination on the main southern island of Kyushu, spewed plumes of ash 3.5 km (2.2 miles) high when it erupted at about 11:43 a.m. (0243 GMT), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It raised its alert level for the volcano to 3 on a scale of 5, telling people not to approach, and warned of a risk of large volcanic blocks and pyroclastic flows within a radius of about 1 km (0.6 mile) around the mountain’s Nakadake crater.

Ash falls from the 1,592-metre (5,222-foot) mountain in the prefecture of Kumamoto are expected to shower nearby towns until late afternoon, it added.

Mount Aso had a small eruption in 2019, while Japan’s worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years killed 63 people on Mount Ontake in September 2014.