Volcano Showers Tokyo With Ash

Residents warned larger explosion may follow
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 2, 2009 3:16 AM CST
Smoke billows from a crater of Mount Asama.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Shigeyuki Inakuma)

(Newser) – Powdery ash showered Tokyo this morning as Japan's Mount Asama volcano erupted 90 miles away, Reuters reports. Smoke burst a mile into the air and rocks flew onto sparse neighboring towns, but there was little damage and no visible lava from the explosion. Scientists have warned people not to approach the areas, the Telegraph adds.

Area traffic has been restricted and 45,000 locals were warned that they may be evacuated if seismic activity increases. Meteorologists are gathering ash to determine whether today's burst has eased volcanic pressure or is a precursor to a bigger eruption. Asama—whose last major eruption five years ago hurled rocks for 125 miles—is among more than 100 active volcanoes in Japan.