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Japan's Aso volcano likely to erupt again, tourists warned to stay away

TOKYO, Oct 22: Mount Aso, a volcano on Kyushu, Japan's main southern island, which erupted on Wednesday, is likely to erupt again, the Meteorological Agency has warned. Officials have asked people to stay away.

On Wednesday, Aso blasted ash several kilometres into the sky. Officials warned of lava flows and falling rocks. So far there were no reports of casualties. Police said 16 people who had gone hiking on the mountain came back safely.

Mount Aso, a tourist destination on the main southern island of Kyushu, sent plumes of ash 3.5 km high when it erupted at about 11:43 am (Japan time) on Wednesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It raised the alert level for the volcano to 3 on a scale of 5, and warned of large falling rocks and pyroclastic flows within a radius of about one km around the mountain's Nakadake crater.

Tomoaki Ozaki, director of the volcanic observation division of the Japan Meteorological Agency, warned that the volcano could erupt again and urged people to keep their distance.

Japan's Mount Aso, on the island of Kyushu, is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. It rises 1,592 metres above sea level. The crater measures 18 km from east to west and 24 km from north to south. The Aso Volcano has been erupting sporadically for decades, the last time it erupted was 26 July 2019. There are over 100 volcanoes in Japan. Japan is also vulnerable to frequent earthquakes. It is one of the most seismically active areas on Earth.

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