Warning over rocks flying out of Japan’s ‘James Bond’ volcano

Major eruptions recorded at Mount Shinmoedake, which featured in ‘You Only Live Twice’

An aerial view shows Shinmoedake peak erupting in Japan. Photograph:  Kyodo/via Reuters.

An aerial view shows Shinmoedake peak erupting in Japan. Photograph: Kyodo/via Reuters.

 

Japanese authorities have issued a warning about the risk of large rocks flying out of an erupting volcano on Kyushu island.

Mount Shinmoedake, seen in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, has been spewing ash for a number of days but more significant eruptions were noted on Saturday. The activity could continue for months, experts have said.

The Meteorological Agency on Saturday issued fresh warnings, which said the flying rocks could land anywhere within a 4km zone around the volcano.

A grab picture from a surveillance camera of the Japan Meteorological Agency shows volcanic smoke and lava erupting from Shinmoedake volcano in the early hours of Saturday. Image: Japan Meteorogical Agency/EPA.
A grab picture from a surveillance camera of the Japan Meteorological Agency shows volcanic smoke and lava erupting from Shinmoedake volcano in the early hours of Saturday. Image: Japan Meteorogical Agency/EPA.

The agency said this was a result of large explosions which happened at 1.54am (4.54pm on Friday Irish time) and at 4.27am local time.

Entry to the 4,660ft volcano was restricted at the start of the week, and dozens of flights in and out of nearby Kagoshima Airport have been cancelled. This was after Shinmoedake erupted violently several times on Tuesday, shooting ash and smoke up to 7,500ft into the air its biggest explosion since 2011.

Japan has 110 active volcanoes.

Public broadcaster NHK showed grey volcanic smoke billowing into the sky and orange lava rising to the mouth of the crater on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu.

In Kirishima city, at the foot of the volcano, pedestrians wore surgical masks or covered their noses with hand towels, while others used umbrellas to protect from falling ash. Cars had layers of ash on their roofs.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the eruptions. The agency said the volcanic activity is expected to continue and cautioned residents against the possibility of flying rocks and pyroclastic flows — superheated gas and volcanic debris that race down the slopes at high speeds, incinerating or vaporising everything in their path. - AP