Sakurajima blankets Kagoshima in ash

Mount Sakurajima erupted Sunday, blanketing the city of Kagoshima, six miles away, in layers of black ash.

The 1,100 meter volcano on the southern island of Kyushu sent a record 5-kilometer-high cloud of ash into the sky, spewing a large amount of volcanic ash in the northern and central parts of the city.

Train services were delayed and motorists struggled to traverse roads as visibility plummeted.

Residents wore masks and used umbrellas to avoid exposure to the ash, although there were no reports of injuries or damages.

The eruption Sunday was record-breaking for Mt. Sakurajima, which has erupted about 7,300 times in the past 45 years, the Sakurajima Volcano Research Center said.

This is the 500th eruption so far this year, says Masato Iguchi, the head of the Research Center.

In 1914, a powerful eruption from Sakurajima killed 58 people. Since then the Research Center has been monitoring its seismic activity in a bid to prevent another deadly disaster.

by Maesie Bertumen

Image: Nathan Gibbs/Flickr

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