Tokyo: A volcano in southwestern Japan
erupted Sunday, sending ash and rocks up to four kilometres into the air, a
local official said. It was not immediately clear if the eruption was a
direct result of the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake that
rocked northern areas Friday, unleashing a fierce tsunami and
sparking fears that more than 10,000 may have been killed.
The 1,421-metre Shinmoedake volcano in the Kirishima
range saw its first major eruption for 52 years in January.
There had not been any major activity at the site since March
1. Authorities have maintained a volcano warning at a level of
three out of five, restricting access to the entire mountain.
In April last year, the eruption of the Eyjafjoell
volcano in Iceland dispersed a vast cloud of ash, triggering a
huge shutdown of airspace that affected more than 100,000
flights and eight million passengers.