Increased seismicity at Ontake volcano, alert level raised, Japan

(ORDO NEWS) — Increased seismicity detected under the Ontake volcano this week prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to raise the volcano’s alert level from 1 to 2, the highest since August 21, 2017.

The last eruption of this volcano occurred in 2014. It was a powerful and sudden eruption during which 63 people died. The first historical volcanic eruption occurred in 1979 from fissures near the summit.

The agency urges residents and tourists to refrain from visiting the danger zone in Otaki Village and Kiso City in Nagano Prefecture and Gero City in Gifu.1

The sudden eruption of this volcano at 03:00 UTC on 27 September 2014 threw volcanic ash up to 11 km (37,000 ft) above sea level, killing 58 people and 5 more missing. At least 40 people were seriously injured2.

One eyewitness told the Japanese public broadcaster NHK that the eruption began with a loud thunder-like roar.

Mikio Oguro, an NHK journalist who was on the slopes on an unrelated assignment, told the television station that he saw massive smoke coming out of the crater, blocking out sunlight and reducing visibility to zero.

“Suddenly massive ash fell and the whole area was completely covered in ash,” he said.

Most people died of heart and respiratory failure after inhaling the ash, entering the outer regions of the pyroclastic flow.

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