The very active Japanese volcano, Mount Sakurajima, erupts so much that when it exploded again on Friday night, the neighbors weren’t too worried about it.
“I’m not scared because I’m used to it,” Toru Sakamoto, 56, told The Japan Times. He heard the eruption from his home.
Footage of the fiery explosion was both terrifying and beautiful, a reminder of the ferocious and sometimes dangerous power of nature. Though video captured an orange burst from the volcano’s side at the summit, lightning, cinders and ash, the people who live nearby aren’t likely in any life-threatening danger.
The Japanese volcano erupted about 6:56 p.m. local time. So far, no injuries have been reported. The Japanese Meteorological Agency has prohibited anyone from entering the area around the volcano and have extended a “no-go zone” about a mile around the crater.
The agency also upgraded its volcano alert one level — banning entry to the mountain itself — and people who live in homes at the foot of the volcano have been put on warning that they could be “gravely affected.”
Sakurajima overlooks the city of Kagoshima and is located about 30 miles from a nuclear plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co. in the Kagoshima Prefecture.
The sudden blast of the Japanese volcano sent lava rolling down its slope, sent billowing gray smoke 7,000 feet into the sky, and churned heavy and cinders a half mile from the crater, The Washington Post reported. Local TV cameras tuned to the sight, capturing the orange burst near the summit and multiple flashes of volcanic lighting.
Despite the frightening display, a volcano expert and professor named Kazuhiro Ishihara didn’t expect serious impacts to homes nearby. Footage revealed that rocks spewed from the volcano at a distance of only a mile from the summit, ABC News reported. Likewise, smoke and ash extended only a mile into the air, or half the height an explosion reached in 2012 — the Japanese volcano’s biggest.
“I don’t think there will be any serious impact from the explosion. But of course we must keep monitoring the volcanic activity.”
He called Friday’s eruption average compared to the dangerous blasts emitted by the volcano in the past.
Experts think that Friday’s explosion isn’t a new one, but a continuation of a series of explosions that began and then paused last year, ending in a major explosion in September. At that time, Sakurajima rumbled 700 times between January and September 2015; 200 of those blasts spewed smoke 6,000 feet into the sky.
This Japanese volcano is also well-known for producing lots of volcanic lighting because it explodes so much. Lighting like this is usually reserved for the Earth’s most massive eruptions, and usually happen at the beginning.
Scientists don’t fully understand what causes this lightning, formed a similar way to how it’s created during thunderstorms. When negative and positive charges separate in the atmosphere, lightning restores the balance. The mystery lies in why this separation happens in a volcano at all. Some think that the particles emitted by volcanoes have a certain charge already, and these interact with charged particles in the atmosphere.
The Japanese archipelago is perched above the so-called “Ring of Fire,” a collection of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific that is home to more than 100 fiery mountains. Sakurajima is located on the island of Kyushu, and used to be an island in itself. A 1914 explosion produced enough lava that it connected to a peninsula nearby.
Of course, an erupting volcano often proves deadly, and in 2014, Mount Ontake exploded and killed 57 Japanese.
[Photo Via YouTube]