September 2015 – JAPAN – A volcano located on Japan’s southern-most main island of Kyushu has erupted, sending up huge plumes of grey ash and smoke, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. The 1,592-metre Mount Aso is one of the most active peaks in Japan but is also a popular hiking spot. Authorities issued their third-highest alert and cancelled more than a dozen flights after the huge volcano shot a column of ash several thousand meters into the clear sky. there were a handful of people at a parking lot near the peak but they were evacuated safely, officials said. They said the eruption had come without warning.
Kyushu Electric Power Co said the eruption would have no impact on its nuclear plants, one of which — the Sendai nuclear plant, roughly 160 kilometers south of Mount Aso — was restarted in August. Television footage showed black smoke boiling into the sky and ash was falling as far as 4km away, NHK national television said. Local authorities have set up a four-kilometer no-go zone around the crater. Japan lies on the “Ring of Fire” — a horseshoe-shaped band of fault lines and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean — and is home to more than 100 active volcanoes. Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted unexpectedly last year, killing 63 people, the worst volcanic disaster for nearly 90 years. In May, a remote island south of Kyushu was evacuated due to another eruption. –ABC News