Earlier today, a volcano near the city of Kagoshima in Japan erupted, spewing lava and hurtling rocks nearly 3km away. The volcano is just 48km from the Sendai nuclear plant, but officials says there's no immediate cause for concern. The blast happened in Kagoshima Prefecture at 6:56pm local time. No reports of injuries have been reported, but officials with Japan's Meteorological Agency have cordoned off the area, expanding an existing no-entry zone around the volcano to a 2km radius. Officials have upgraded the volcanic alert from level two to three, so the mountain is completely off-limits.
Dramatic video of the eruption showed rocks and smoke billowing out from the crater, as lava spewed down the mountain's slopes. Smoke and ash rose high up into the air, but not nearly as high as it did during the mountain's big eruption three years ago.
Residential areas at the foot of the volcano "could be gravely affected", as noted in the Japan Times, but Kazuhiro Ishihara from Kyoto University told NHK that people living nearby needn't worry because video images show rocks flying "only" 1.5km or so from the mountain's top.
Mount Sakurajima is an active volcano, and ongoing eruptions are expected.
Top image: KYODO