Shinmoedake volcano erupts in Japan

A volcano in Japan has erupted for the first time in six years sending up a towering 5,600ft plume and coating nearby cities and towns with ash.

Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture.

Students making their way to a school at the foot of the volcano had to wear helmets and masks as the dramatic eruption unfolded.

Residents also described hearing rumbles and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in the region.

A volcano in Japan has erupted for the first time in six years sending up a towering 5,600ft plume and coating nearby cities and towns with ash

A volcano in Japan has erupted for the first time in six years sending up a towering 5,600ft plume and coating nearby cities and towns with ash

A volcano in Japan has erupted for the first time in six years sending up a towering 5,600ft plume and coating nearby cities and towns with ash

Residents also described hearing rumbles and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in the region. Homes are pictured covered with volcanic ash in Takaharu town, Miyazaki prefecture, southwestern Japan

Residents also described hearing rumbles and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in the region. Homes are pictured covered with volcanic ash in Takaharu town, Miyazaki prefecture, southwestern Japan

Residents also described hearing rumbles and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in the region. Homes are pictured covered with volcanic ash in Takaharu town, Miyazaki prefecture, southwestern Japan

The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures started erupting on Wednesday for the first time in six years

The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures started erupting on Wednesday for the first time in six years

The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures started erupting on Wednesday for the first time in six years

The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures started erupting on Wednesday for the first time in six years.

On Thursday, an ash plume rose 5,600ft from the crater, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The agency has raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.

Young students making their way to a school at the foot of the volcano had to wear helmets and masks as the dramatic eruption unfolded

Young students making their way to a school at the foot of the volcano had to wear helmets and masks as the dramatic eruption unfolded

Young students making their way to a school at the foot of the volcano had to wear helmets and masks as the dramatic eruption unfolded

Experts have raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.

Experts have raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.

Experts have raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.

The seismically active area around the Pacific known as the 'Ring of Fire' includes active volcanoes in Japan as well as two causing mass evacuations in Indonesia and Vanuatu in recent weeks

The seismically active area around the Pacific known as the 'Ring of Fire' includes active volcanoes in Japan as well as two causing mass evacuations in Indonesia and Vanuatu in recent weeks

The seismically active area around the Pacific known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ includes active volcanoes in Japan as well as two causing mass evacuations in Indonesia and Vanuatu in recent weeks

Eruption: Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture

Eruption: Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture

Eruption: Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture

Eruption: Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture

Eruption: Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture

Emissions of ash and volcanic rocks were forecast until Friday for a wider area, but the locations at risk would depend on wind conditions and altitude

Emissions of ash and volcanic rocks were forecast until Friday for a wider area, but the locations at risk would depend on wind conditions and altitude

Emissions of ash and volcanic rocks were forecast until Friday for a wider area, but the locations at risk would depend on wind conditions and altitude

Pyroclastic flow, which is an emission of hot gases and volcanic matter at a high speed, is possible within 1.2 miles of the crater.

Emissions of ash and volcanic rocks were forecast until Friday for a wider area, but the locations at risk would depend on wind conditions and altitude.

The seismically active area around the Pacific known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ includes active volcanoes in Japan as well as two causing mass evacuations in Indonesia and Vanuatu in recent weeks. 

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