KAGOSHIMA--Minor eruptions continued at Shinmoedake peak on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures Friday, a day after the volcano erupted explosively for the first time in 52 years.
The volcano in the Kirishima mountain range spewed columns of smoke reaching more than 3,000 meters high, sending volcanic ash flying over the prefectures.
The Meteorological Agency said the explosive eruption--defined as one that causes air vibration and a seismic tremor--occurred at 3:41 p.m. on Thursday. House windows shuddered throughout the Kyushu region, and in Kochi and Ehime prefectures on Shikoku as the blast affected air pressure.
The last explosive eruption at Shinmoedake was in February 1959.
Volcanic ash has covered about 7,000 hectares of farmland in Miyakonojo and Nichinan in Miyazaki Prefecture. Small volcanic rocks about five centimeters in diameter were sent flying by the eruption, breaking windows at the Miyazaki prefectural livestock corporation's office in Miyakonojo and car windows outside.
Meteorological observatories in both Kagoshima and Miyazaki issued warnings the volcano was active Friday, as volcanic ash continued to fall mostly on Miyakonojo and Takaharucho in Miyazaki Prefecture. Smoke columns of up to 800 meters were observed at 9 a.m. on Friday, and the observatories maintained their eruption warning level at 3 to keep people away from the volcano.
JR Kyushu said it stopped all train services because of low visibility Friday on the Kitto Line, which runs between Miyakonojo Station and Yoshimatsu Station in Kagoshima Prefecture. Volcanic ash disrupted other train lines in the prefectures, and five flights from Miyazaki Airport to Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Naha were affected.
-The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network