Yesterday Mount Sakurajima erupted violently, projecting ash and smoke over 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) into the sky. The volcano, which resides on the southern portion of Japan, has been in a near-perpetual state of activity for over half a century, although this was the biggest eruption since it woke up from a decades-long slumber in 1955.
While residents of the nearby community of Kagoshima have become accustomed to the mountain's constant activity - this latest was the 500th blast of 2013 - they were still stunned by the scope of yesterday's event. The eruption lasted for 50 straight minutes, resulting in ash dusting the city heavily enough to cause interruptions in train services; poor visibility for both drivers and pedestrians also became an issue.
Authorities have issued advisories to those affected in Kagoshima, urging them to cover themselves and wear masks if outdoors. Sakurajima ranks as a 4 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index [VEI], and has been the subject of much scientific study due to its persistent, intense activity.