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Japanese Volcano Erupts Ash, Rock

By Story by Jim Andrews, AccuWeather.com Senior Forecaster
January 31, 2011, 2:19:47 AM EST

A blast from a southern Japanese volcano spewed rock and clouds of ash Thursday.

The Kirishima Volcano began erupting on Wednesday, then the eruption ramped up further on Thursday.


Kirishima Volcano (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History).

A small blast apparently took place on January 19, according to reports.

The eruption led authorities to evacuate a 2-kilometer radius of the volcano's Shinmoedake vent.

The Meteorological Agency said that rock blasted out of Shinmoedake landed as far as 8 kilometers from the crater. The agency boosted the eruption scale to "medium" as the blast cloud rose higher on Thursday.

Ashfall from the eruption landed in a swath of Miyazaki Prefecture, including Miyazaki and Nichinan cities. Partial closures of area expressways were reported on Thursday.

Also reported was the voluntary evacuation of 14 area residents.

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Kirishima Volcano, site of the currently active Shinmoedake crater, straddles the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures in southern Kyushu, Japan. Kyushu is the most southerly main island of Japan.

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