Huge Volcano Blast Showers City in Ash

Sakurajima eruption 'was a bit dramatic, but we are kind of used to it,' says resident
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 19, 2013 8:35 AM CDT
Huge Volcano Blast Showers Japan City in Ash
A store worker wearing a mask sweeps the pavement covered by ash Monday morning, Aug. 19, 2013 after the Sakurajima volcano erupted Sunday afternoon in Kagoshima.   ((AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT)

Residents in a southern Japanese city are busy washing ash off the streets today after a nearby volcano spewed a record-high smoke plume into the sky. Ash wafted as high as three miles above the Sakurajima volcano in the southern city of Kagoshima yesterday afternoon, forming its highest plume since the Japan Meteorological Agency started keeping records in 2006. Lava flowed about a half-mile from the fissure, and several huge volcanic rocks rolled down the mountainside.

Though the eruption was more massive than usual, residents of the city of about 600,000 are quite used to hearing from their 3,664-foot neighbor. Kagoshima officials said in a statement that this was Sakurajima's 500th eruption this year alone. Residents wore masks and raincoats and used umbrellas to shield themselves from the falling ash. Drivers turned on their headlights in the dull evening gloom, and railway service in the city was halted temporarily so ash could be removed from the tracks. "The smoke was a bit dramatic, but we are kind of used to it," an official said. (More Japan stories.)

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