Monday, March 14, 2011

Volcano eruption adds to Japan woes

Japan's Shinmoedake volcano

Source: Press TV

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Shinmoedake Volcano has erupted for the second time this year, sending ash and rock into the sky.

On Sunday, the Shinmoedake volcano, which is located in the Kirishima range in southwestern Japan, erupted after two weeks of inactivity and sent ash and rocks up to four kilometers into the air.

Authorities have issued a level three (out of five) volcano warning, restricting access to the entire mountain.

On January 19, the Shinmoedake volcano's eruption triggered an ash warning for places above 7,620 meters, and the areas two kilometers around the volcano were evacuated.

Officials are not yet certain whether the eruption was a result of the massive earthquake that rocked northern Japan on Friday.

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake, off the northeast coast of Japan's main island, unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours.

According to Japan's National Police Agency, 987 people have been confirmed dead and 707 were missing, with 1,128 injured, excluding bodies reportedly found on the Sendai coast.

The number of casualties, however, is expected to rise as 10,000 people are still unaccounted for in the port town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture

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