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NASA satellite spots erupting Japanese volcano

March 7 (UPI) — As the ash plume from Shinmoedake continues to rise high into the atmosphere, new images from NASA offer a bird’s-eye view of the erupting volcano.

Earlier this week, NASA’s Aqua satellite and its spectrometer, MODIS, captured a false-color image of the erupting volcano on Japan’s Mount Kirishima. The image shows the ash plume erupting from Shinmoedake and being blown south and east across the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Shinmoedake has erupted several times in recent decades — in 2017, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 1991. The most recent eruption forced the grounding of several dozen airline flights.

The latest reports suggest the ash plume has risen nearly two miles above the volcanic crater. The eruption that began Tuesday morning has also spewed several large volcanic rocks down the mountain side.

While no reported flows have breached the rim of the volcanic crater, volcanic activity is expected to continue. The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned that pyroclastic flows could extend as far as two miles from the crater.

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