Japan's Kuchinoerabujima volcano, which last erupted in 1980, had a new eruption on August 3, 2014, at 03:24 UTC (12:24 local time). Japanese volcanologists raised the alert level to 3 and closed access to the summit area.
The eruption lasted about 10 minutes and consisted of a single powerful explosion from the Shintake crater which sent and ash plume to approximately 1.5 km height.
Much of the erupted mass collapsed into an impressive pyroclastic flow, VolcanoDiscovery reports.
Nearby residents were evacuated through the ash-free field of view. There are no reports of victims or damage.
Kuchinoerabujima volcano eruption on August 3, 2014. Image courtesy of kuchi-erabu.org.
A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyus, 15 km west of Yakushima. Furutake, Shintake, and Noike were erupted from south to north, respectively, to form a composite cone that is parallel to the trend of the Ryukyu Islands.
The highest peak, Furutake, reaches only 657 m above sea level. The youngest cone, 640-m-high Shintake, was formed after the NW side of Furutake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shintake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furutake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology.
Kuchinoerabujima island from Mt. Nagatadake. Author: As6022014
Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shintake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions. (GVP)
Featured image: Kuchinoerabujima volcano eruption on August 3, 2014. Image courtesy of kuchi-erabu.org.