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Japan's Sakurajima Volcano Has Largest Eruption In Decades
Sakurijima volcano, a large stratovolcano located within the Aira Caldera, has had its nearly 500th eruption of 2013, and this one has shattered some records. A massive gas and ash plume rose above the volcano today, reaching 16,000 ft or more (5,000+ meters) into the sky. Ash rained down on nearby towns and people are using rags and masks to breathe if they venture outside. Video footage showed a large explosion of dark ash, followed by a large plume of grey ash rising far above the volcano.
According to Japan's Meteorological Society, this is the highest ash plume since records began being kept in 1955. Sakurijima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. Although fatalities are quite rare, it has killed in the past with pyroclastic flow. Currently there is a several km wide exclusion radius from the summit area, so injuries are rare as well.
600,000 residents are currently experiencing ashfall and should remain indoors if possible. Inhaling volcanic ash can be deadly or cause serious damage to lung functions, as well as it being an extreme irritant to your eyes. Volcanic ash is made up of very tiny particles of volcanic glass, and literally cut through your soft tissue, making your life miserable.
Sakuriajima has been in a heightened state of eruption for the last decade or so, erupting frequently and powerfully.