Volcanic quake rocks southern Japan island
The island of Kuchinoerabu on Japan’s remote southern region has been hit by a five-minute-long volcanic earthquake.
The phenomenon was reported on Friday by Japan’s Meteorological Agency, which said Mount Shindake on the island had shot black clouds reaching as high as 9,000 meters (29,500 feet).
The eruption, which also saw lava flowing down the flanks of the volcano toward one of the island’s harbors, forced the evacuation of the island.
“A volcanic eruption occurred at Shindake at 9:59 am. Along with this eruption, a pyroclastic flow reached the coastline” of the island, the agency said.
Residents, who had evacuated to the tip of the island, were boarding coastguard boats and a town ferry to get away.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency, however, said all of the nearly 140 islanders had been accounted for.
The volcano has been under observation since an eruption last year.
Sadayuki Kitagawa, director of the volcanology division at the agency, warned, “It’s possible that eruptions of a similar scale could happen in the future. We are warning residents about pyroclastic flows, and asking people to obey evacuation instructions.”