Sakurajima volcano experienced its strongest eruption this year on May 10, 2014. According to the Tokyo VAAC, the eruption started at 04:07 UTC and had a column of ash and smoke up to 5.4 km into the air, extending south.
The flow of lava and ash was reportedly moving in the direction of Ibusiki City but there are no information about any wreckage or casualties.
JMA reported that during April 28 - May 2 four explosions ejected tephra as far as 500 m. Incandescence from the crater was detected at night during April 28 - 30.
The Tokyo VAAC reported that during April 30 - May 3 and on May 5 plumes rose to altitudes of 1.8 -3 km and drifted E, SE, and SW.
The Alert Level remains at 3 on a scale of 1 - 5.
Image credit: NASA / Earth Observatory - Landsat 8 - OLI. Acquired August 19, 2013.
Sakurajima is considered as one of Japan's most active volcanoes erupting several hundred times a year. This volcano is a post-caldera cone of the gigantic Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay which was created by a massive eruption 20 000 years ago (VEI 7) .
"Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914.
Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76." (GVP)
Featured image: NASA / Terra MODIS. Acquired May 10, 2014. Edit: The Watchers